July 20, 2006 - Fields of Wildflowers

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Wildflowers in the Caucasus

It is the evening of the 20th of July.  The Jacuzzi time is over, a nice meal has now passed and people are turning in to the rooms here at the lodge and it’s time for me to update you on the first two full days of our mountain hiking and acclimatization here in the Elbrus region.

Of course right after we arrived the other night when I last reported to you, we were spending time with Vladimir and Alex, the two long time Berg Adventure’s Russian guides who are always with us.  You’ll remember them from past dispatches from previous years.  Both guys are doing great, Vladimir of course coming over from Kiev and Alex down from Moscow.

Russian guides Vladimir and Alex

We did our first day traditional hike up the Kashkatash glacier; the wildflowers are amazing this year!  Better than I think I’ve ever seen them.  Our two best natural history people are the guide Vladimir who is a geophysicist but also interested in all natural history and Claire another geologist who loves all aspects of natural history.  Claire and Vladimir were identifying flowers all the way up the trail.  We were amused to see that ‘forget me not’ flowers in English are ‘nezabutka’ flowers in Russian which means exactly 'forget me not' in Russian.  Just fields of beautiful wildflowers everywhere we went that day along the glacier.

Olga the BAI cook meets with Wally to talk about the menuToday we went up the Irikchat valley and got beautiful views of the east side of Elbrus.  I should mention yesterday was quite cloudy, beautiful weather in a way but the clouds were coming and going all day and we walked in the rain for much of the day.  Today it was getting quite a lot clearer and we had spectacular views of the east side of Elbrus.

Another friend who has already met us is Olga, the cook.  She showed up this morning and while the others were packing and preparing for the days walk, Olga and I sat and went over this year’s menu that we will be using up on Elbrus and she is excited to be back with us as well.

So from Olga, Vladimir, Alex and I as well as all of the nine members of this years Berg Adventures Elbrus team, know that we are happy into our routine here in the caucasus Mountains but we are still dreaming of much higher places to come as we move up on the slopes of Elbrus in a few days.  We’ll report every day or as we can about our adventures along the way.

Above: Comet Hale-Bopp over Mt. Elbrus from Pik Terskol, Caucasus, April '97. ©"Observers", AlltheSky.com