09-Apr-2010 -- This is the second out of two confluence points that we visited during a short Easter vacation in the Caucasian Mountains. Story starts from 42°N 44°E.
We got up at 7:30 am in the city of Gyumri, 27 km south of the confluence. After a hasty breakfast, we reached the Gyumri’s bus terminal just in time to get on a marshrutka (that is a minibus running a fixed route) towards Gukasjan in a northern direction. The village Musayelia mentioned by the previous visitors was not served by mini buses and we were advised to take a taxi. But when we reached the turn-off from the main road to Musayelia (called Vardaghbyr), we found out that Musayelia was only 3 km away and the confluence “just” 9.75 km beeline from our current location. We decided to get off the minibus and walk.
Here in the Caucasus, April belongs to the winter and particularly this day was a cold, windy deep winter day. However, the walk to Musayelia was relatively pleasant. The village appeared to be empty – probably because sowing hadn’t started yet. From Musayelia, the confluence was still 5 km beeline away. We followed the mountain pass road towards Tašir – which was closed for traffic. As we gained altitude, the amount of snow cover increased. First a couple centimetres, but soon we had to wade knee-deep through the snow. As we approached the confluence point, weather worsened. It started snowing and the wind turned into a real storm. Nevertheless we kept on walking, but we were not able to see anything else than white. The sky, the air, the mountains and the ground all appeared in the exact the same featureless bright and white. We soon lost the road, because with the deep snow, we were not able to distinguish between road and off-road. Anyway it didn’t matter whether we followed the road or not, as long as we followed the GPS pointer, we were on the right track.
At a distance of 600 m we started climbing steep upwards. Meanwhile the weather was so bad, that we were not able to see our hands or feet. Interestingly, even though there was a snow storm, the sun blinded us. Suddenly, GPS told us that we reached our goal. I took pictures of the cardinal directions, but there are ridiculously few features to see. However, as a committed confluencer, I take things as they are. The idea of the project is not to show the nicest sunny pictures but show the world as it is. So, no negative emotion about the white pictures is necessary. On the way back about 150 m after leaving the confluence point I managed to use a short intermission in the snow-storm to take the confluence picture . Note that I had to increase the contrast and darken the picture in order to make some features of the nearby mountain visible.
We walked all the way back to the village Musayelia, from where we got a ride to the main road and from there a mini bus back to Gyumri. In the evening, we rewarded ourselves for our hardiness with a feast in the famous fish restaurant in Gyumri.
CP visit details:
- Beeline distance from Gyumri: 27 km
- Departure time from Gyumri: 8:30 am
- Beeline walking distance and starting time: 8.75 km (9:00 am)
- Time at the CP: 12:01 pm
- Minimal distance to the CP: 0 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 5 m
- Measured height: 2442 m
- Vegetation: not observable, but definitively treeless.
- Distance to a road: 1.5 km
- Distance to a track: 1.5 km
- Distance to a village: 5 km
- Topography: on a steep slope above a high plateau
- Weather: snow storm, 0° C (estimated temperature)
- Description of the CP: Located in the province Shirak in the north-western part of Armenia. In the “Little Caucasus Range” near the high Karachač mountain pass that links Gyumri with Tašir.
- Given Name: The Snow Storm Confluence