Friday, 20 August 2010

Traveling with pistol packing muleteers to Beyazsu Yayala

This was the third day with our Muleteers friends and although we had no common language we enjoyed their company immensely. One curious aspect of this happy band was their preoccupation with guns. While we were in Gorgit we had spied one of the guys shooting with a very old rifle and another with a pistol. It was target practice and quite an innocent affair but to our amusement while traveling with the mules to Beyazsu one of the mules lost its load as it hit a tree and boxes of cartridge shells spilt out all over the track. The shells were swiftly repacked and nothing was said but what became apparent was most of the lads were packing pistols for their own protection, against what we will never know because bears and wolves would be long gone by the time we arrived. The truth is the mountains are a wild and exciting place and our Muleteers loved any sense of adventure and the pistols just added to the drama. Guns are readily available in Turkey as they are in the US but to an Englishman who prides himself on his license for a shotgun which is safely stored in my gun safe our Muleteers relaxed attitude came from an era long gone in the UK.

The trail to Beyazsu was very easy going and just the thing for a mornings foray into the Turkish countryside.

After a while we stopped to let the mules rest. The guys settled down and started make an instrument , a type of whistle with a reed. The sound was hilarious and soon we had a band of musicians piping a discordant tune across the valley.

Iona has lost count how many trips she has made like this one and as always she loves to ride Tusheti style . Legs dangling and relaxed in her saddle. Although in Tusheti (Georgia) the lads ride without a saddle.

We arrived in Beyazsu in the late afternoon with the sun low in the sky softly illuminating the iron clad shacks.

The only picture I have of the inside of our homestay and a very typical stove .

A neat window on the ferocious weather in the winter. I love this picture.

I met this shepherd while admiring his goats or is he a goat herder. He told me many things about the land and surrounding mountains but not a word could I understand apart from his hand gestures.

Some of the houses had their roof strapped down with steel cable such is the winter weather.

The view looking down on Beyazsu from where we were t start the next leg of our journey.

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