Janapar Trail - Zontik Waterall
I spent some quality time in the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh this year, hiking on the Janapar Trail and along with the help of others, we whipped the trail markers back into shape. The trail is now not only very well marked, there’s a whole trail guide online (which I highly recommend taking along), high resolution topographic maps, and even an iPhone/Android app that can be used to follow the trails without even looking up from your phone screen! Hikers from Israel, Russia, Austria and Belgium have already hiked the newly worked on trail, and no doubt others who I haven’t heard about.
It’s a beautiful time of year to hike in Karabakh, but I realize most people reading this won’t be able to make it over there before the winter. You do, however, have loads of time to plan a great hike next year! The trail takes you from the southernmost city of Hadrut, all the way up to Stepanakert. The sights and nature along the way are really beautiful, and the hospitable people are even more so. Your hike will be unforgettable, unless you accept too much of the mulberry vodka hospitality, and your memory is impaired by drinking too much.
The hike takes a week, and each night you’ll end up in a different village where you can stay the night at a villagers home if you don’t want to bring your own camping gear. It’s not terribly difficult terrain, you’re hiking in the foothills, and most of the time the trail is wide and clear.
So plan on spending a little time hitting the trail on your next visit to Armenia!! And meanwhile, please help spread the word about the Janapar Trail… posting the link to the facebook page, emailing it to friends and talking about it will all help spread the word. Here are the important links – please visit the facebook page and like it!
It’s the middle of summer in Yerevan. The weather has been great lately, not too hot, but nice and warm. I’ve been on the road a lot, and really enjoying the countryside. You forget just how beautiful the landscapes can be, and the wildflowers in the early summer are something else. This year saw more rain than usual, so I think the wildflowers were better than ever.
I spent a few weeks in Karabakh in June, hiking on the Janapar Hiking Trail. Again, I can’t tell you how many wildflowers, butterflies, crazy bugs and amazing landscapes I saw. It had been a while since I’d spent time in villages as well, and it was really nice. The slower pace of life, with people living off the land and producing almost everything they need. I got to eat at people’s homes where virtually everything on the table was grown and produced there. From the fruits and vegetables (obviously) to the wine and the honey. You can see a lot of photos of the Janapar trail on the Facebook page.
So why haven’t I been blogging more often? Well I didn’t intend to be a lone blogger on this page. Over a half a dozen others agreed to blog – but this year only one post was made by someone other than me. I enjoy blogging more when there are other voices on the page. So I’m putting the call out again… anyone want to join? There’s less pressure to write all the time, and this site already has a pretty good audience. Anyone who’s interested in writing should let me know, regardless of your background or where you live. Let’s talk…
Southern Karabakh - Copyright Mazzoniguide.com
For those of you who have seen some of Armenia’s highlights during a bus or car tour, and would like to get a more closeup and in-depth experience, here are some great options: http://www.vayable.com/users/5585?locale=en
Dmitry is a young Russian who has spent over half a year hiking and exploring in Karabakh. This site has 3 of his Karabakh tours (even though one of them is mistakenly labeled Armenia). He’s been leading hiking and horseback tours all over Karabakh and Karvachar – which is an area of incredible beauty, and a remoteness that makes it really special. His knowledge of the area and experience is truly impressive, and his enthusiasm is obvious just from his website.
His main site, Mazzoniguide.com is in Russian, but even if you don’t understand Russian you can enjoy the many photos on his blog there. And if you want to see even more, check out his Mazzoniguide Facebook page, where you can contact him directly. He can no doubt customize a trip to whatever you’re looking for. Personally, I think he should offer an esh-back tour as a standard option…
Anyone interested in hiking in Karabakh this May or early June who would like to help mark the Janapar trail, should join the Do the Janapar! Facebook group and get in touch as well.