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Relive the day's action and insights with daily journal entries, digital photos, audio reports and more. Select one of the teams below to visit their latest entry.

Follow Pat O'Hara's search for the perfect moment in the national parks of the Eastern Caucasus. Eleanor O'Hanlon reports, with photos by Russell Sparkman.

Research Team
Georgia veteran Peter Nasmyth returns to guide us into the history and heritage of the region. Denise Rocco captures it all in digital images.

April 29:
In Ancient Groves

April 28:
Batumi and Beyond

April 26:
Fly Tusheti Air

April 25:
An Image of Eden

April 24:
The Road of Friendship

April 22:
Patriarch of the Forest

April 21:
Monastery in the Desert

April 20:
Vashlovani Reserve

April 19:
The Living Pillar

April 18:
Preparing for the Journey

April 17:
Georgian Table

April 12:
Tbilisi Overview

Email Teams in Georgia


Previous Dispatch

From: Eleanor O'Hanlon
Vashlovani, Georgia
April 22, 2000

Patriarch of the Forest

"This is our Patriarch", says Amiran. I touch the trunk of the pistachio tree - Pistacia mutica, 800 years old, the oldest tree in Vashlovani.

The Patriarch is not a tall tree – Vashlovani is a semi-desert and trees grows slowly in such arid conditions. But it has the unmistakable dignity of age, of a guardian of silence and slow time, a witness to cycles of life which far outlast our own.

The bark is sticky to my touch, coated in places with pellets of white resin - sharp and aromatic. Georgian incense, explains Amiran, which is burned in church. The long branches curve down to the earth, and form a circular canopy of shade and moisture over the juniper trees which have grown around it.

The valley around us is dotted with these clusters – small communities in which precious moisture can be spared and younger trees find shelter under the canopy. Biologists call this a "light forest" where there is open grassy ground between the trees.

Next Dispatch

SLIDESHOW: Shepherds of Vashlovani
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Poisonous Viper

The snake strikes
(Real Media)

Pat O'Hara Checks In
(44 sec)
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ohara.wav (PC)

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Wild Tulip

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