Rise and shine, its pouring rain! After a fairly decent evening of sleep, we were up and enjoying a warm cup of tea and a bowl of oatmeal before our planned 16km hike towards Black Rock Lake and the second Meteo shelter. Even though it was raining, we both agreed we were in this for the adventure and the rain was part of that adventure. Thankfully, we had prepacked all our clothes and things into plastic bags, plus the rain covers on our packs. We were good to go walking in the rain. So, we thought.
After 6 hours of pretty sh@%^y weather and no food we arrived at a dreamy Meteo tourist shelter. But first, the trek…
The first 3 hours of the morning we continued our ascend another 1000m to what seemed like the top of the world. A narrow trail lined with wet wild flowers and pouring rain was no less challenging than that of the day before. It felt like a never-ending uphill climb. Finally, the narrow trail flattened out, offering us various viewing points for animals and breathtaking views. Unfortunately, due to the weather, we did not have the opportunity to enjoys any of these.
Continuing our walk for another hour, it was cold, windy, and with very little visibility. Fortunately, we still found ourselves in good spirits and making the most of our trek. Then, out of the mist, a huge barking Caucasian Shepard began approaching us. Rocks in hand and shouting at the dog, we cautiously approached what we were hoping to be the military guard check point. To our desired surprised, the military tent was furnished with a blazing wood burning stove. It was great! We sat there for 30 minutes where we dethawed and rejuvenate our motivation to take on the weather once again. Upon departure, in our simple Georgian, we asked how much further to… we were cut off with 3km. We left wondering if the lake was 3km or the shelter. Nonetheless, we were back in the cold rain trekking again.
After 3km we arrived at a series of wetlands and finally the Black Rock Lake. Quite beautiful really. The strength of the touring surrounding mountain peaks and the thought of “Russia is over there” was quite amazing. We quickly snapped a few photos and off to the shelter we went.
Another 1.5 hours, there it was… a warm shelter. I was very cold and in need of warming up. We quickly stripped off our wet clothes and began digging in our packs for every dry layer we had. I was dreaming of bundling up in my down sleeping bag while drinking a cup of hot tea after the cold day. Note to self: Also put your sleeping bag in a plastic protection. Result, wet sleeping bags.
Luckily, we arrived quite early at the shelter and had time to hang our sleeping bags to dry. Combined with a half an hour of sunshine somewhere between our arrival and bedtime and our body heat we had dry sleeping bags by night time. We were physically and mentally exhausted when we arrived and quite happy to have a lot of time to rest before day three. Note: Though we had water in the spring due to all the rain, typically there is no water for refilling for the next day. You will cross a couple streams where you should re fill for the next day. Also, plan for food and water needs while in the second shelter. We drank 2 liters of water on day 2 trek, 2 liters of water while at the shelter, plus 2 liters of water for descend following day (day3).