Over to the west the Dagestan border is but a twenty minute walk; Chechnya lurks just over the adjoining northern mountain. The back of the helicopter opens to disgorge the mysterious cargo two crates of live chickens and several sacks of flower for the villagers.
We want to see one of the traditional practices the making of Tushetian Gudishkveli cheese, generally acknowledged to be Georgia's finest, and a good potential source of income for the villagers. Our host Guram, senior member of one of only four families that winter up here, shows us the process.
"Not long ago nobody lived in this village over the winter," he said "I came back five years ago. Life is better up here without electricity than down in the valleys without it." His voice is deep, resonant, his eyes kind. The cheese makers are inverting a sheep's hide, packing the sieved milk inside.
I ask him about the summer. "The village is full." Tushetians come up from the valleys to claim their old homes and to bring friends, like tourists. A glance at the fabulous terrain makes it easy to understand how it could so easily become a walker's paradise, a significant part of Georgia's potential for eco-tourism.