I left the barracks with my passport and a salute from one of the head officers. Leaving my uniform with the soldiers, I was in my comfortable hiking shoes again… finally. I walked back west before heading north again, up into the hills that roll around the eastern side of Lake Sevan.
The weather started off well: the sun was being blocked lightly by fluffy clouds. But as I ascended higher and higher into the mountains, the weather made a quick 180 as the winds off of the lake pushed the dark clouds in the distance until they were passing right over my head; it was cold, the wind was strong and the rain started coming down. I stopped for a beat to snack on some dried fruit and, more importantly, put on some warmer clothes, my red waterproof shell, and my black windbreaker pants. I picked up my pace as well in order to keep my warm blood flowing to my limbs, even as the wind felt like it was cutting to the bone.
There was little to indicate a trail, so I just blazed my way north along the rising hills and over the steep canyons below. Eventually, the sun went down and it started getting dark—I couldn’t see a village anywhere. Luckily, though, I stumbled upon an abandoned trailer, where shepherds would stay while tending their flocks in the mountains. I decided to take shelter there, as this part of the country was notoriously cold; I needed the protection from the wind and the rain. I will wake up early the next morning, and make my way toward Dilijan.