By U. Vahe Atakhanian
Mount Aragats…I had been there a couple of times before, but never to actually climb it. The views and scenery are straight out of a Hollywood film. The climb itself was a bit more difficult than I thought it’d be, partly because of the random huge patches of snow. But, the challenge was one that I was more than willing to accept. Once we got on our way I was trying to climb and take pictures at the same time, which was another challenge in itself because our tour guide was like a speedster going up Aragats, and if I stopped for a couple seconds to snap a picture I’d need to hustle to catch up.
While we were going up, there were fresh water rivers created by the melting snow. Some of the interns drank from this cold, clear, and refreshing water to rehydrate, then we continued our journey up the mountain. The last 30 minutes of the mountain were the most stressful as the snow would go knee-deep at some points.
Once at the top we ate some lori banir (cheese) wrapped in lavash, which our guide had thought ahead and brought with him. We rested at the peak for 30 minutes, then were offered food from another group who was also at the peak, but we kindly declined. Only after taking a group picture with the interns who made it to the top with our ARF droshag that we had purchased the day before at Vernissage did we decide to go down.
The way down was a bit comical as U. Nina Vosbigian kept sliding in the snow, so I decided I should have my iPhone camera out and ready in case she slips and falls in the snow. Well, I made a great decision as she fell 30 seconds into my video. I made fun of her for a bit for slipping as she told me my time would come… 10 minutes later as I’m FaceTiming my parents to show them Aragats I take a tumble of my own in the snow. At this point my mom freaked out and immediately told me to hang up. After hanging up it was my turn to be made fun of.
Going down the mountain U. Areknaz Khaligian, Armen (our tour guide), and myself were in a sort of a race to get down as quick as possible because we were starving. Once we got down to pass the restaurant there were a couple of young guys making some khorovatz next to the lake, and obviously in Armenia you cannot walk past people eating without being offered food. Armen and myself kindly declined again as we were running behind on our schedule. Aragats was truly an amazing experience; my one important tip would be to use tons of sunscreen when you go because all of us came back burnt like a bad khorovatz.