Superior Hiking Trail, Day 7: Grin and Bear It
It’s nice and cool when the alarm goes off at 4:30. I hit the snooze button for 15 minutes knowing we will pay dearly for that later in the morning when the temperature begins to soar. Even so, it’s so hard not to indulge in a few extra minutes of rest. Once up, we break camp as quickly as possible, hoping to get a few miles in before the heat becomes unbearable. We do alright and are on the trail just after 6. (more…)
Superior Hiking Trail, Day 6: Sweating like SHT
We wake up at 5 am and can feel the heavy humidity in the air and on our sleeping bags which we barely crawled into last night because of the heat. We are getting the sense that the drought and this kind of heat is a little unusual for Minnesota at this time of year. We move quickly but, tried and true, an hour and a half seems like our usual pace for packing up, so we hit the trail by 6:30, hoping to knock off some miles before the sun really starts heating things up.
Superior Hiking Trail, Day 5: The SHT Just Got Real!
For the first time in quite a while, we “sleep in” until 6:30, and it feels heavenly. Matt has a coffee date with our host, Chris, to say good-bye before we hit the SHT for real. We have lots of packing and real-world tasks to get done before we leave for the start of the next section which won’t be until around 3. (more…)
In the Shadow of Peak Lenin, Day 1: Welcome to the Big Leagues!
We have been trekking in Kyrgyzstan for 23 days now. We have only four days left, and we have saved the biggest challenge and hopefully the best scenery for last. For our final trek, we will be hiking around Peak Lenin, Kyrzygstan’s highest peak at 23,405 feet. They say that Peak Lenin is one of the easiest 7000+ meter peaks to summit, but we have no interest in going that high. (more…)
Heights of Alay Trek, Day 6: Coming Full Circle
Today we will complete the 6-day loop known as the Heights of Alay Trek, and the day starts off with an unusual challenge. The blankets at this yurt camp are exceptionally heavy, and just getting out of bed is hard work. We feel like we are removing the lead vest that protects your chest when you get X-rays at the dentist office. Maybe the idea of those weighted blankets that are so popular now came to us from Kyrgyzstan! (more…)
Heights of Alay Loop, Day 5: Over Jiptick Pass
We have breakfast in the kitchen yurt this morning at 6:30, which is clearly too early for company according to the little boy in the camp. He has been woken up to make room for us, and he is crying when we come in. His mother gives him a bowl of yogurt to console him, and he turns his back to us hoping that if he can’t see us we aren’t really there. His sister is still sound asleep on the floor right next to where we are eating our fried eggs and potatoes. She doesn’t flinch the whole time we are there. (more…)
Heights of Alay Loop, Day 4: Yurt Chillin’
Today is, by design, a short day of travel as we move up the valley to a yurt camp that will put us closer to Jiptik Pass, our last big challenge, which we will tackle tomorrow. As a result, no one is in any great hurry to wake up and get going. Thankfully, even our host family at this delightful guesthouse beside the raging river does not rise early and enter our sleeping space. We got a full night of sleep last night, wake up naturally and even have some time to read quietly before anyone stirs. (more…)
Heights of Alay Loop, Day 3: Feel the Burn
We have a two-pass day ahead of us today, so we are eager to get up and going when the alarm goes off at 6. The family is already up and at work around the homestead when we emerge from our room. One of the sisters is carrying breakfast from the kitchen to the dining room, while the other is busy getting all of the kids dressed outside underneath a large tree that one of the kittens is using as its morning playground. (more…)
Heights of Alay Loop, Day 2: Knock, Knock!
Rob describes the yurts that predominate summer life here in Kyrgyzstan as stationary RVs, and he’s right in the sense that the yurt performs multiple functions in a single tiny space throughout the day. It is a place to sleep at night, of course, but it’s also a place to dine—for afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast— as well as a place to gather and converse. If it has a stove, it’s also the kitchen and, if necessary, a place to dry wet shoes and socks in a pinch. (more…)