Ilisu, November 7, 2010

>> Thursday, March 10, 2011

A little late I know but this is one post that HAS TO HAPPEN. In my time in Qax no one has been able to make it to the fated Baths in Ilisu. Oh it's been tried. People have gone in different states of preparation, in different weather and of course different states of mind:

  • We're totally going to do this
  • There is no way this is happening
  • I don't care if we go, I just want to say I did it
  • I have to do this before I leave
  • I will destroy this legend
The outcome was always the same. NO way Jose. Sometimes the border patrol would stop people. At that far back in the mountains we are pretty close to the Azeri-Dagestani border. Many times the patrol says it's too dangerous and we'll get lost/eaten by bears/attacked by wolves/fall and die. Each time they take our passport, write it in their notebook and send us back the way we came. Well not this time. Jessica, Sean, Stephanie and I were not about to be thwarted. So we plan to go on the day of election. We figure it would be our best chance at getting past the patrol since most Azeri citizens would be voting (or at home). Our plan worked flawlessly. We all bought galoshes to help us cross the river. I'm sorry did I say all of us, well Sean thought it would be better to wear his hiking boots and then this happened. Little monkey tried to scale the mountain to find a shallower crossing. Then he changed his boots and followed us. Throughout our hike many a thing occurred. We imagined what it was like for our predecesors. Steph and I even re-enacted it and recieved an award for our great impersonations. The random like hut at the edge of one mountain turned into a mystical place where an old woman waited for us with piping hot peroshki's. IN our minds she is there all of the time waiting for travellers, always happy, peroshki's aplenty. A hummer type vehicle came and my instant reaction was to run. Then it disappeared and we still don't know if it was real. Then we came upon the two houses. They're so cute and look like a great place to come for a day (or multiple day) trip. Most Azeri's have a car drive them here. From here on out no more open car road. The mountains are even narrower than before and we couldn't see too far ahead because of how twisty the river bed was. Then I saw it.

I screamed and gave up all hope of staying dry and booked it right on through the river. I looked behind the blue tarp and saw a very dark room with very hot water running through a pipe into a bathtub. I have no clue how the heck that got there. Then I moved to the other tarp a little further up the river bed. Sulphurus water streams down the side of the mountain into a cement jacuzzi. Needless to say we stayed in the second, and we were so happy!
After who knows how long (actually about 2 hours) we decided that we had to start our return hike so we could return in some form of sunlight. I still had issues with narrow bridges so after Steph and Sean crossed Jessica cheered me on as I crawled. She might have crawled too. Almost back Jessica fell and we had a little injury. But you clear the water out of that boot and for the most part she was good. We made it safely back to my house incredibly tired. threw one of those just add water soup packets my mom sent me in a pot and we were all passed out before it was dark. Such a ridiculous tiring day. But oh so much glory. We achieved the dream and we did it with style!


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