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Verkney Baksan - Syltran Lake
Verkney Baksan (1600 m.) is a small, charming village, 17 km upstream from Tyrnyauz, where we start our walk. There is a little kiosk in the middle of the village and a spring with fresh water. Behind the village we stay at the (absolute) right side of the Syltransu river where a large trail goes up into the mountains. The path is very steep, and leads us to a nice campsite (except for the lack of water) at the entrance of the forest. The views on Verkney Baksan and the Baksan Valley are superb. The mountain tops of the main range of the Caucasus are covered in clouds. Tens of eagles fly over our campsite before the clouds reach our spot.
The next day we get up early and follow the trail through an old fairytale like, pine forest. The fog makes it even more spooky and the trail becomes smaller and steeper. Just before the tree line, we reach the Syltransu river again which we still follow. The trail divides into several cattle paths, so it is hard to follow. We pass a kosh (shepherds cottage - see above -) and at about 2500m. the clouds open and we can see the main range of the Caucasus bathing in the sunlight. When the clouds close again we take up the backpacks and pick up the small trail again.
The trail becomes steeper by a first step and ends at the top of this step. We choose to take the left scree slope, which steepens to a second step, which brings us to the Syltran lake (3050m.). The steep scree and the height slow us down. The entrance to the lake is reached over big boulders and we are cold and tired when we reach the campsite at the northern bank of the lake. When we make diner, it is very cold. The tea bag from the boiling water is within five minutes frozen on a metal dish. Even the river where we get fresh water is partially frozen.
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