Gnishik Nature Reserve

I left Mosrov and headed up to the Gnishik Nature Reserve. The top of the cliffs surround Vayats Dzor, filled with jagged red rocks, dry grasses and caves—caves at every corner, a place for animals to hide and the imagination to wonder, “What’s in there?” Ancient artifacts, cave paintings, animal skulls, bears, or just dust and bat poop? I saw two bears running scared from me down the mountain, then later a family of mountain goats. I ran out of water, and finding my way down the mountain proved difficult. But I found a goat path and started heading in that direction along the side of the cliffs. Finally, I found a little used car path, and followed that down to an oasis in the desert, a plateau filled with orchards—and it’s peach season. The workers gave me handfuls of peaches, and sent me down my way toward the roadside. I camped at the base of the cliff.