The Secret Entrance to Mosrov Cave

From there to Mosrov, and toward their famous cave along the way, I met a Yerevantsi family who had sold their home to live in the countryside. The small children there were not afraid of me, but playful and wanted to take pictures with the strange man who speaks strange Armenian. The kids’ energy, coffee and cold refreshing water renewed my spirits. I left with directions on how to reach the cave, although I was told I could not enter because it was a protected site, which required permission from the incapable government. There were caves scattered throughout the four-plus km hike, but when I reached the famous Mosrov cave, I knew it: the entrance had been closed shut, a fence of iron and scrap yard metal had been welded together. But I found a small hole to enter the cave. With my headlamp on, I descended the steep gravel passage toward the gaping jaws of the mountain side…

Crawling underneath the fused piecemeal metallic gate while scrambling over tiny rocks to reach the wide-open mouth of Mosrov Cave, eventually the temperature gave way to cool bordering frigid. Lack of light; giant, jagged boulders along the floor; wet, slimy rocks along the walls; large stalagmites forged by minerals; water and time: every step was treading upon art in the making. I explored the four large rooms of the cave with my headlamp, delicately placing each foot and hand as I made my way deeper underground, attempting to not destroy the ageless wonder of this delicate ecosystem.

After two hours of climbing through a foreign world of crystal and rock, the cold finally got to me, and as my bones chilled, I could see my breath in the faint glow of my headlamp and knew it was time to head back out to the sun, thaw out along the mountainside, and start climbing up into the Gnishik reserve.