Untouched Beauty


The De Villiers’ family had decided to go on a camping trip in Georgia. They already been camping around South Africa and had wanted a change of scenery that would appease their appetite for the outdoors and their interest in discovering a new place.

They booked into the family accommodation at the Borjomi National Park. They’d planned to use the shalet temporarily to shelter themselves while equipping themselves with tents and sleeping bags that they would hire. When Amanda and Graham Fairwell went to the park’s camping equipment office, they were pleasantly surprised with the prices. It was ZAR90 a night per tent once they converted the currency from Georgian Lari to South African Rands.

They took the tents back to the cottage and gave Emma, 12 and Fred, 15, each their own tents to carry from the rented accommodation to the camping site’s location. From years of practice in South Africa, they were used to lugging around a heavy tent and then setting it up independently.

They left with some sour cherries, biltong, some dried fruit and some bottled water to drink on their four-hour hike to the site. It was March, and spring had just begun. Birds could be heard above them in the magnanimous fir trees and every now and then they would pass a cherry blossom that was in full bloom. Whenever Emma would pass one, she wouldn’t be able to help herself. She’d whip out her smart phone and snap a few selfies next to the tree before catching up with the rest of the family.

Fred used the sound of the Borjomi stream to zone out. He’d thought that it was quite soothing to listen to it, coupled with the birds chattering in the background. He touched the water with his hand and realized that it was freezing cold. This must be melted snow from the top of the mountain, he thought.

Amanda and Graham had been here with a group of friends years before when they’d still been youngsters. It was a place that brought back fond memories of conversations that helped them become good friends, before they’d decided that they’d wanted to start dating. They held hands and reminisced about those days long gone. At the same time they’d realized how much had remained unchanged in the twenty years since they’d been here. It pleased them that such beauty could be reserved as well as this could be. They both believed that this part of themselves had remained in tact just as the park had.

They arrived at the site and began setting up their tents.