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біля Gomer, Gegharkʼunikʼ (አርሜኒያ)
The valley is peppered by tiny shepherds’ settlements and the locals are astonishingly hospitable so expect to be invited for coffee and some snacks numerous times. The locals also warned us that at the time of our hike up to three bear families operated in the area, so it’s highly advisable to stay indoors for the night. Luckily there’s an unused hut at the very upper end of the valley that proved to be the ideal place for us to stay (there’s a proper stove inside and even some firewood). The hike from the hut to the mountain pass is neither long (approximately 6km) nor extraordinarily steep (approx. 400 elevation metres) but it’s been a really grueling task. Even at the beginning of June the slopes are covered by the thick layer of snow so we repeatedly had to traverse huge expanses of thawing snow and that significantly raised the overall difficulty of this trek.
Passing the mountain saddle (optionally it is possible to climb the peak of Quarkasar - about 1km NW from it) we entered Vayots Dzor province leaving the most difficult part definitely behind. Since then it was an easy (yet long and lingering) descent to the Yeghegis valley. There are numerous spots to stay for the night along the trail (you can even stroll down either to Horbategh or Artabuynk if you’re good enough).
Once you reach the village of Shatin (at the mouth of Yegheghis valley) it’s fairly easy to get a taxi or hitchhike either southward to local capital Yeghegnadzor (there’s also a 16km hiking trail linking it with Shatin via Shativank monastery and surrounding mountains) or northward to Selim pass and famous caravanserai.