[speaker]

Let The Journey To Sevazhayr Begin

Every journey is unique. You never know what to expect from the path you are stepping on, just as you never know what the day will bring. Sometimes you plan a journey beforehand in detail, sometimes you wake up in the morning and your heart takes you somewhere your mind traveled to thousands of times, and sometimes a friend calls you in the middle of the night and says:
– We want to go to this or that place tomorrow, to see what we can see. Are you with us?
Sometimes you think before answering and sometimes you do not, but the answer is always the same:
– Yes, I am!
25th of June 2020 was not promising to be a special day and it would not, if Astghik, a good friend of mine, had not called me a day before and said:
– We have found an amazing mountain with a rocky summit. I believe we should go there!
And all I had to say was:
– Perfect. Let the journey begin.

Mount Sevazhayr or sevajair

Every name has a meaning in this or that language. “Sevazhayr” is not an exception. It consists of two Armenian words: «սեւ» /sev/, meaning “black”, and «ժայռ» /zhair/, meaning “rock”. Thus the full name means “The black rock”. Possibly it comes from the nearest hamlet of the same name.
Sevazhayr, 2727 m of height, is situated in one of the mountainous regions of Armenia: Vayots Dzor. To reach there from Yerevan, first, you need to pass 158 km by car. The road goes through small villages and you can see mountains almost all the way.
Near the end of the road, you pass Yeghegis and Vardahovit villages, and after another 1 km of riding, you appear in Sevazhayr hamlet. It is a small residence with only 64 inhabitants. Their main occupation here, in the embrace of the mountains, is cattle breeding.
From the hamlet, you can see Sevazhayr mountain in all its beauty, totally covered with fresh green grass if you happen to be there in spring or summer. Near the top, the mountain is covered with huge stones turning into a rocky summit which seems unapproachable. Its formidable look is believed to attract travelers and challenge them to climb up.

A Dog In The Mountains, Not Counting Five Girls

We left Yerevan early in the morning. There were five of us: Astghik, Aghavni, Liza, Asya, and I, Nari. Five girls with sleepy heads but shiny eyes, ready for the adventures of the day. This time we did not have to find a car since Lisa came on hers, a wine-colored “Toyota”. Hereby, at 7:30 we were on the way to our “25th of June” dream. The day was promising to be sunny and hot.
We were near the Sevazhayr hamlet approximately at 10 o’clock. The inhabitants were busy with their daily work. Children were running in the yard and making a joyful noise. Travelers have an unwritten rule of waving hands, greeting people they meet while traveling. We did not want to break that rule and waved but instead of the kids, who were now looking at us with wide-opened eyes and mouths, the adults waved back.
Another 200 m by car and then it was time to walk. Our summit was standing before us with all its majesty, in silence. Only the sound of the Yeghegis River and the conversations of the birds were heard during the first two or three hundred meters, and then a barking came from afar. In two minutes we saw a huge white dog, an Armenian gampr running fast through the high grass towards us. It was wagging its tail like crazy while trying to overcome the distance between us which was not that short. Nevertheless, soon it was with us, jumping on us and leaking our hands. It seemed as if it had found long lost friends. The rest of the way we passed together, five girls and a dog without a name. A dog from the big road.

Every Journey Has Its Dog

We have many proverbs in Armenia and one of them says: “There is no village without a dog”. It means there is no place without a bad, unpleasant person. Travelers have another phrase: “Every journey has its dog” and the meaning is straight. Whenever you go, even to the furthest and lost corner of Armenia, a dog will definitely find and join you.
Sevazhayr was not an exception, but the dog we met there was not like other dogs. It was not running back and forth all the time, it was not attacking us during lunchtime. It was sitting and looking far ahead, to other mountains noticeable on the horizon, enjoying its time without rushing anywhere. The behavior of a wise creature.

The Rocky Summit Hosts Its Guests

4,4 km of walk through the grass and stones, and we were on the top. Most of the time there was no path so we were just walking and keeping an eye on the summit. It was calling us and leading us. From time to time we could see a waterfall far away, and grazing horses, cows, and bulls so near, that we could hear them chewing fresh and juicy grass.
The summit not only gave us a little bit of mountain wind but also opened a fantastic view. From there we could see Vayots Sar, another wonderful mountain in Vayots Dzor, Sokhasar, which we will climb someday, and many other mountains, big and small, near and far. We could also see the Sevaszayr hamlet from here, which we had left far behind, and our car waiting for us patiently. At that moment, the world was ours and we belonged to eternity.
We had our lunch admiring the beauty of our motherland, fed the dog. Astghik, the kindest among us, gave all her water to the dog. She surprisingly understands animals and their desires.
Then we started our way back. It was hard in the beginning since the slope was steep and full of stones hidden in the grass. But we made it since the team was strong and ready to overcome difficulties without a whimper.

Nothing Is Frightful, If You Are In Armenia

After soaking our feet in the cold waters of the river and saying goodbye to the mountain, we were in the car again, ready to go back home. And again the dog surprised us. It did not run behind the car, did not bark, and call us. It remained to lie by the river, thinking about something we would never guess.
We had a stop in the hamlet to feel our bottles with water and witnessed a sheep-shearing ceremony, something wild and interesting for a civilian. As it always happens in Armenian villages, a woman came out from the nearest house and wanted to serve us coffee, but we had to refuse due to lack of time.
In the middle of Sevazhayr-Yegeghis road, Lisa noticed that one of the wheels was punctured. When we reached Yeghegis and stopped to change it, something happened which once again proves: wherever you go in Armenia, you are safe.
We did not even manage to get out of the car when 5-6 men were already standing by with the necessary instruments in hands. They safely changed the wheel and wished us a nice trip. We gave them all the sweets and vegetables we had. When someone does something nice, you want to return the favor.
We were on the road again, enriched with wonderful memories, with the view of the setting sun in front of our eyes. No one knows when the mysterious roads will call us again and where they will take us. One thing is for sure: they will become a source of new stories.