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Trekking in Armenia

american-armenian style

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#1 gamavor

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 01:12 PM

American - Armenian guy trekking experience from South to North.
 
A little bit crazy in my view but commendable. I did something similar but not that extreme.






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#2 gamavor

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 11:30 AM



Having apps and software is fine, but this is an area in dire need of improvement and not only improvement but someone has to start up from a scratch. Virtually there are no, or very little properly marked mountain trails, let alone eco-trails, etc... It is pity because Armenia has so much to offer to hikers, bikers, and just ordinary mountain lovers.
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#3 MosJan

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 12:11 PM

have been looking at his program, love it !!!
the way he talks it reminds me of Monte Melkonyan


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#4 onjig

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 03:26 PM

Wonderful~thank you gamevor```He must have had a drone in his pack to get some of the shots```



#5 gamavor

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 12:53 PM



#6 gamavor

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 01:12 PM


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#7 onjig

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:11 PM

Great gamavor```

 

Some of the pictures had to have been taken~with use of a drone~some shots are fixed camera still there are some when he is far from a village where the camera follows his movement from a short distance as if there were someone holding it```Leaves me wondering```

 

onjig

 

in Ճանպարհ մար 3 there is someone walking with him~has that person been with him the whole way~ 


Edited by onjig, 17 October 2017 - 10:25 PM.


#8 gamavor

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 04:02 PM

It is not about trekking anymore. One thing leads to another... :) Armenia is like a stuborn virus - once in, never out!


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#9 MosJan

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 10:47 AM

:ap:



#10 Yervant1

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Posted 25 October 2018 - 09:05 AM

Stuff.co.nz, New Zealand
Oct 24 2018
 
 
Armenia: A hiker explores his father's homeland peak by peak
Ralph Vartabedian
05:00, Oct 25 2018
 

My son, Marc, and I had tramped through shin-deep snow for several hours, and by the time we reached the blustery top of the peak, we couldn't see more than 25 feet because of a whiteout.

Somewhere in front of us was a deep crater and the surrounding peaks of a volcanic rim we had hoped to reach. But as we stood on one of the highest peaks in the Armenian Caucasus Mountains, we were satisfied we'd made it this far.

For much of the last century, nobody would have considered the former Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic a hiking destination.

1540341505134.jpg
RALPH VARTABEDIAN/LA TIMES/TNS
The four Aragats peaks, surrounding the massive caldera of an extinct volcano, form the highest point in Armenia and remain snow covered through at least June.

But a few decades of independence and a strengthening democratic government have given the little nation a growing reputation as an interesting, safe hiking place. We met hikers from France, England, Canada, Belgium and Australia in just a few days on the trails.

Smithsonian magazine earlier this year identified Armenia as one of the next world-class hiking destinations.

What the country lacks in affluence is offset by the warmth of the people, whose identity is anchored to its long history. Yerevan, the capital, was founded in 782 BC, decades before Rome. Between hikes, you can visit ancient temples and some of the oldest Christian churches in the world.

But anyone who frequents more well-travelled mountains would find a few surprises and challenges in hiking or climbing in Armenia.

You often won't find marked trail heads. The weather will be unpredictable. The flora will be foreign. You might end up driving your rental car across a boulder-strewn mountain river to get near a trail. If you find a topographic map, it will probably be written in Armenian - which doesn't use the Latin alphabet.

1540341505134.jpg
RALPH VARTABEDIAN/LA TIMES/TNS
Our campsite near Kari Lake at about 3000 metres elevation.

Just how surprising travelling around Armenia could get dawned on me when Marc and I rented a car in early June in Yerevan, and the rental agent warned me that my California driver's license wasn't strictly legal.

If I was stopped by police, he said, just offer money. How much, I asked? About US$10 would be more than enough. Now that's the kind of advice you don't get at a US rental counter. Fortunately, it wasn't needed.

Just to get to Armenia requires a long flight but the country rewards those who make the effort. 

1540341505134.jpg
RALPH VARTABEDIAN/LA TIMES/TNS
A reasonably short hike in Dilijan ends at the ruins of the 11th Century Jukhtak Vank church. The church dome has collapsed.

I had long searched for a good reason to visit Armenia. As I grew up in Detroit, my father often reminisced about growing up in the Caucasus Mountains in the early 20th century. Marc had just completed graduate school and had a one-week window to join me in Armenia. He spent a week surfing in Indonesia and flew west, and I flew east.

After a day of exploring Yerevan on foot, we planned for three or four days of hiking. On the way to Dilijan National Park, we stopped at the Sevanavank Monastery, two 1100-year-old stone churches overlooking Sevan Lake.

We went on two hikes in Dilijan National Park, one to pleasant back-country Gosh Lake, along the Transcaucasian Trail, or TCT. At the lake, we met a Canadian hiker who seemed lost. He joined us, and we gave him a ride back to the city of Dilijan.

1540341505134.jpg
RALPH VARTABEDIAN/LA TIMES/TNS
A shepherd watches his flock along the road to Kari Lake at the base of the Aragats peaks.

A few days later, I met park superintendent Armen Abrahamyan at the park's headquarters just outside Dilijan. The park now has 124 miles (199km) of trails, about half of them on the TCT, he said. Some of them are Jeep roads, although we didn't encounter vehicle traffic on our hikes. The TCT will eventually extend from Georgia through Armenia, covering 1864 miles (2999km) and connecting existing and future national parks.

The second hike took us to the ruins of the 11th century Jukhtak Monastery, deep in a forest. I imagined how people, isolated from the rest of the world, would hike to that mountaintop 1000 years ago. It seemed such a far cry from driving to a church parking lot these days.

The main objective of our trip was Mount Aragats, the highest peak in the country, about an hour's drive east of Yerevan.

1540341505134.jpg
RALPH VARTABEDIAN/LA TIMES/TNS
A roadside bakery near Geghard sells Armenian sweetbread, a good item for the backpack.

I found a crude digital topographic map of Aragats on the internet that a graphic artist at the Los Angeles Times was kind enough to print. I wasn't sure there was an actual trail, and we didn't have time to find our own route.

I quickly realised we would need a guide. A hiking brochure, produced under the sponsorship of the US Agency for International Development, advised guides for many of the much less ambitious hikes in Armenia. The only problem was finding a good one.

I talked with Armenian travel agents, Armenian journalists and Armenian aid officials. I found hiking guides online and tried to email them. I talked with a couple of guys with the Armenian Hiking Society whom I'd met on the Sam Merrill Trail above Altadena, California.

1540341505134.jpg
RALPH VARTABEDIAN/LA TIMES/TNS
Our last dinner in Yerevan included a trout from Lake Sevan, a tomato salad and stuffed grape leaves.

It wasn't until I got to Armenia that things fell into place and I met Hovik Mizrakyan, a jewellery designer and strong hiker affiliated with FindArmenia.com. Marc and I camped the night before at sub-alpine Kari Lake. There were no fire pits, picnic tables, fee stations or infrastructure you'd expect when car camping. Mizrakyan would meet us the next morning.

We met a group of Belgians camping nearby, led by Nver Avetisyan, a friendly mountain guide. He drove the only Dodge Caravan we saw on our trip. ("I like American cars," he said.) He invited us into his dining tent for some tea and coffee. We brought a bag of ripe cherries we had bought earlier and talked about the future of democracy in Armenia.

If you go

 

FLY

Emirates flies from New Zealand to Dubai and then onward to Yerevan.

WHERE TO STAY

Ibis Yerevan Center Hotel, 5/1 Northern Ave., Yerevan: lat.ms/ibisyerevanhotel. Discount European hotel; doubles from US$65.

Avan Dzoraget Hotel, 1st Street, Building 127, Village Dzoraget; tufenkianheritage.com/en/accommodation/avan-dzoraget-hotel. Awesome hotel north of Yerevan. Part of the Tufenkian Heritage Hotels chain. Doubles from US$151.

WHERE TO EAT

Lahmajun Gaidz, 5 Nalbandyan, Yerevan; lat.ms/lahmajungaidz.

Terrific lunch fare (we tried lamb and beef lahmajun, a kind of Armenian pizza) just off Republic Square. Lunch for two was less than US$10.

For the hikes, we had brought energy bars with us. When we camped, we bought some shawarma wraps (meat wrapped in pita).

GEAR

If you are planning to day hike, you'll obviously want the standard equipment: day pack, lightweight boots, good rain gear, water bottles, sunscreen and lots of moisture-wicking clothes. If you are backpacking, keep in mind that camping stove gas will be difficult to find and that you can't take it with you on the plane.

TO LEARN MORE

Armenian Tourism Development Foundation, Armenia.travel/en

- Los Angeles Times

https://www.stuff.co...nd-peak-by-peak



#11 Yervant1

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 08:50 AM

South China Morning Post
Oct 27 2018
 
 
Hiking in Armenia: empty trails, snowy Caucasus peaks, historic sites, and surprises
 
  • For those used to crowded trails, Armenia is a liberating experience
  • The people are warm and the scenery stunning. But things can be unpredictable

My son, Marc, and I had tramped through shin-deep snow for several hours. By the time we reached the blustery top of the peak, we couldn’t see more than a few metres around us because of a whiteout.

Somewhere in front of us was a deep crater and the surrounding peaks of a volcanic rim we had hoped to reach. But as we stood on one of the highest peaks in Armenia’s Caucasus Mountains, we were satisfied we had made it this far.

We hike South Korea’s 71km Ultra Baugil trail in Gangneung

For much of the last century, nobody would have considered the former Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic a hiking destination. But a few decades of independence and a strengthening democratic government have given the little nation a growing reputation as an interesting and safe place for hiking. We met hikers from France, England, Canada, Belgium and Australia in just a few days on the trails.

Smithsonian magazine earlier this year identified Armenia as one of the next world-class hiking destinations.

3c6e0338-d5aa-11e8-a41d-3d2712b32637_132

Mount Aragats, a four-peaked volcano massif in Armenia with a highest point 13,420 feet (4,090 metres) Photo: Shutterstock
 

 

The nation’s beautifully wooded Dilijan National Park resembles America’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The plateaus of its volcanic Mount Aragats, 40 kilometres northwest from the capital Yerevan, look something like the high country in California’s Sierra Nevada, with barren igneous rock, gravelly slopes and snow-covered peaks.

Lake Sevan in eastern Armenia is twice as large as Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada. Although its waters don’t have the clarity that makes Tahoe so spectacular, you won’t find a traffic jam around the lake’s perimeter or dense neighbourhoods of mansions.

 What the country lacks in affluence is offset by the warmth of the people, whose identity is anchored to its long history. Yerevan was founded in 782BC, decades before Rome. Between hikes, you can visit ancient temples and some of the oldest Christian churches in the world.

429b0cd8-d5aa-11e8-a41d-3d2712b32637_132

The 1,00-year-old Sevanavank Monastery on the shore of Lake Sevan in Armenia. Photo: Alamy
 

 

You may find a few surprises and challenges in hiking or climbing in Armenia.

Often trail heads are not marked. The weather will be unpredictable. The flora will be foreign. You might end up driving your rental car across a boulder-strewn mountain river to get near a trail. If you find a topographic map, it will probably be written in Armenian – which doesn’t use the Latin alphabet.

It dawned on me just how surprising travelling around Armenia could get when Marc and I rented a car in early June in Yerevan, and the rental agent warned me that my California driving licence wasn’t strictly legal.

If I was stopped by police, he said, just offer money. How much, I asked? About US$10 would be more than enough. Now that is the kind of advice you don’t get at a US rental counter. Fortunately, it was not needed.

3f87dada-d5aa-11e8-a41d-3d2712b32637_132

Lake Sevan seen from the Sevanavank Monastery. Photo: Alamy
 

 

Just to get to Armenia requires a long flight. That is important in planning strenuous hiking, because if you are flying from North America it takes a while to get over that day-to-night jet lag.

But the country rewards those who make the effort. It will be a liberating experience from the crowded trails, packed car parks and scarce back-country permits in California. In fact, you won’t need any permits in Armenia.

I had long searched for a good reason to visit Armenia. When I was growing up in Detroit, my father often reminisced about growing up in the Caucasus Mountains in the early 20th century. Marc had just completed graduate school and had a one-week window to join me in Armenia. He spent a week surfing in Indonesia and flew west, and I flew east.

After a day of exploring Yerevan on foot, we planned for three or four days of hiking. On the way to Dilijan National Park, we stopped at the Sevanavank Monastery, two 1,100-year-old stone churches overlooking Sevan Lake.

40d3926c-d5aa-11e8-a41d-3d2712b32637_132

Hikers walking through pasture in the Dilijan National Park. Photo: Alamy
 

 

We went on two hikes in Dilijan National Park. The first was to pleasant back-country Gosh Lake, along the Transcaucasian Trail, or TCT. At the lake, we met a Canadian hiker who seemed lost. He joined us, and we gave him a ride back to the town of Dilijan.

A hiking brochure … advised using guides for many of the much less ambitious hikes in Armenia. The only problem was finding a good one

A few days later, I met park superintendent Armen Abrahamyan at the park’s headquarters just outside Dilijan. The park now has 124 miles (200km) of trails, about half of them on the TCT, he said. Some of them are Jeep roads, although we didn’t encounter vehicle traffic on our hikes. The TCT will eventually extend from Georgia through Armenia, covering 1,864 miles and connecting existing and future national parks.

Our second hike took us to the ruins of the 11th-century Jukhtak Monastery, deep in a forest. I imagined how people, isolated from the rest of the world, would hike to that mountaintop 1,000 years ago. It seemed such a far cry from driving to a church car park these days.

The main objective of our trip was Mount Aragats, the highest peak in the country, about an hour’s drive east of Yerevan.

I found a crude digital topographic map of Aragats on the internet. I wasn’t sure there was an actual trail, and we didn’t have time to find our own route.

4178e348-d5aa-11e8-a41d-3d2712b32637_132

A colourful meadow of wildflowers in Armenia. Photo: Alamy
 

 

I quickly realised we would need a guide. A hiking brochure, produced under the sponsorship of the US Agency for International Development, advised using guides for many of the much less ambitious hikes in Armenia. The only problem was finding a good one.

I talked with Armenian travel agents, Armenian journalists and Armenian aid officials. I found hiking guides online and tried to email them. I talked with a couple of guys with the Armenian Hiking Society who I’d met on the Sam Merrill Trail above Altadena in California.

3dd87898-d5aa-11e8-a41d-3d2712b32637_132

A view of Mount Aragats. It summits were still snow-covered in early summer. Photo: Shutterstock
 

 

It wasn’t until I got to Armenia that things fell into place and I met Hovik Mizrakyan, a jewellery designer and strong hiker affiliated with FindArmenia.com. Marc and I camped the night before at the subalpine Kari Lake. There were no fire pits, picnic tables, fee stations or infrastructure that you would expect when car camping. Mizrakyan would meet us the next morning.

We met a group of Belgians camping nearby, led by Nver Avetisyan, a friendly mountain guide. He drove the only Dodge Caravan we saw on our trip (“I like American cars,” he said). He invited us into his dining tent for some tea and coffee. We brought a bag of ripe cherries we had bought earlier and talked about the future of democracy in Armenia.

3eefcd08-d5aa-11e8-a41d-3d2712b32637_132

The Jukhtak Monastery. Photo: Alamy
 

 

Mount Aragats has four peaks, the highest being the north summit, at 13,420 feet (4,090 metres). It was still snow-covered in mid-June and would have required a 6,000-foot vertical climb in one day or an overnight stay in the crater. Either way, we would be traversing deep, soft snow.

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The weather wasn’t cooperating. The Caucasus Mountains can be unpredictably stormy, with violent lightning. In the morning, the storm clouds roiled. So we cancelled climbing Aragats North and chose the much tamer Aragats South, at 12,756 feet. We weren’t disappointed.

4034378a-d5aa-11e8-a41d-3d2712b32637_132

Stone cairns and a cross marker for rescue teams at the first peak on Mount Aragats. Photo: Alamy
 

 

Our hiking trip barely scratched the surface of what Armenia’s four national parks have to offer. I ran out of time before we could get to Arevik National Park along the southern border. Maybe someday I’ll try again for Aragats North, knowing I’ll need more time.

Even in the Sierra, you sometimes have to try more than once to reach a peak.

Getting there from Hong Kong

Aeroflot, Emirates and Qatar Airways offer connecting flights between Hong Kong and Yerevan.

Where to stay

Ibis Yerevan Centre Hotel, 5/1 Northern Avenue, Yerevan, tel: +374 10595959; Avan Dzoraget Hotel, 1st Street, Building 127, Village Dzoraget; tel: +374 93947889

Where to eat

Lahmajun Gaidz, 5 Nalbandyan, Yerevan, tel: +374 77332118

https://www.scmp.com...-peaks-historic



#12 gamavor

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 06:01 PM

Damn, how I envy these guys...






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