Dashing through the snow, in a two-oxen open sledge (to the tune of Jingle Bells)

On the road from Ipari to Adishi; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012

There is only one road into Adishi, and it is also the only road out of Adishi. That road runs through Ipari, and if there is a lot of snow, cars cannot get through. Everyone must take a sledge (cart), horse, or they must walk. If you are unfortunate enough to need emergency care while staying in Adishi during winter, you will need to travel 4-5 hours, depending upon the depth of snow.

Mari Papidze and I made a roundtrip by a combination of walking and riding a horse as a sledge carried our equipment and duffelbags. The air was still; the sky a saturated blue. The path follows a stream and other than the sounds of the stream and an occasional bird, everything was blissfully silent. It was an opportunity to remember the pleasures of wilderness. Yes, there were electric and phone poles, but for 4 hours there were no other sights or sounds of civilization.

On the way back to Ipari, we saw a dog hanging from a low tree—it had been bothering people and suffered the consequences. Earlier in the morning, I had seen a brown fox. It was hard to miss against the huge hillside of white snow undisturbed by tracks, trees, brush, buildings or anything except the fox. Vakho, who owns the horses, accompanied us with his rifle in case we saw a wolf, which we didn’t, but we saw plenty of tracks. Giorgi, a security officer from Ipari, also accompanied us, in part to prevent anyone kidnapping Mari. I felt like I was in a Western movie, sitting high in the saddle and not knowing what adventure might lie ahead.

Mari Papidze has her first horse-riding experience; copyright Keith Kenney, 2012


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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