Tag: hiking

Akotor Pass Trek, Day 3: The Pay Off Pass

After a brief afternoon rain spell yesterday, we are pleased to wake up to a sunny morning that’s not too chilly. After breakfast we pack up and set off uphill knowing that we have a long day that begins with Akotor Pass at 11,500 feet. The incline as we head up the valley gets our heart rate going right away. We are all in a good mood as today will complete Phase 1 of our trekking in southern Kyrgyzstan. The mountains in front of us are impressive in scale. I love how they subtly change shape and complexion as we walk slowly closer. (more…)

Akotor Pass Trek, Day 2: Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Light starts to filter into the door of our yurt around 5:00 am. Shortly after that, I can hear Aiperi and her older girls up and about already getting a start on all of the chores that need to be done around the yurt camp. By the time that we finally get up, the two oldest girls have already left to take the cows out to pasture. Amy is pitching in and helping make fresh cream from milk that was freshly drawn just this morning. It’s a cool little machine that needs someone to hand crank it, and Aiperi and the girls usually spend about 45 minutes doing this every morning. (more…)

Akotor Pass Trek, Day 1: Out of the Frying Pan and into the Mountains

After a few days off of trekking in Kyrgyzstan, it’s finally time to get back on the trail today. We’ve traveled from Karakol along the southern shore of Issyk-Kol back to Bishkek where we met up with our favorite hiking buddies, Rob and Amy, from Durango. We first met Rob and Amy in Africa a few years back after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. We struck up a friendship and have since trekked with them in Ladakh, India. Last summer, they joined us for a few days of hiking near the end of our Colorado Trail adventure, in addition to resupplying us with water and Swedish fish, meeting us at the finish line with a cold local brew and hosting us at their home as we recovered from the trail before heading back home. This year they are joining us for a 13 days of trekking in the Pamir and Alay Mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan. We are really excited to be back on the trail with our hiking buddies again. (more…)

Ala-Kol Trek, Day 3: A (Hot) Spring in Our Step

The alarm goes off at 5:30, but, oddly for camping in Kyrgyzstan, we do not need it for two reasons: first, due to the angle of the valley we are in, direct sunlight is already hitting the tent and beginning to warm us up; second, the guides and some of the other campers are already up and chatting loudly, making the snooze alarm irrelevant. Both actually aid our cause as we want to get moving early and hike down to Altyn-Arashan to enjoy the hot springs before heading back to Karakol. (more…)

Ala-Kol Trek, Day 2: Getting Spanked, K-Style

When the alarm goes off at 6, we really have to force ourselves to get up. We have spent the night in a roomy canvas tent with thick foam mattresses, and we both reluctantly wake up raving about the awesome night of sleep we had. It’s a good thing, because we have a big day in store today. We are hiking to Ala-Kol Pass, and, little do we know at the time, but we have a super steep, fairly technical 4200 foot climb in front of us today. Ignorance is bliss. At least while it lasts. (more…)

Ala-Kol Trek, Day 1: Up the Karakol River

We wake up this morning in the Ala-Kol Guesthouse in Karakol to the sound of rain. When we look outside the window, we see a blanket of gray clouds has descended on this tiny town veiling the mountains beyond. Good thing we had planned to spend the morning on our “nero” day, part 2 relaxing and taking care of various details before heading out on a short 3-day trek to nearby Ala-Kol Lake and Pass. Luckily, we took our laundry off the line last night. Other guests left theirs out overnight, and now it’s soaked. (more…)

Jyrgalan-Jergez Traverse, Day 5: A Long Way Down

During last night’s sunset, I told Matt that we should try to wake up early enough in the morning to catch Blue Hour, the short period just before the sun rises when the sky is a deep blue and all the colors are very vivid. He is a little hesitant at first, but I remind him that all we would need to do to take a photo of the incredible scenery around us is literally to unzip the fly and stick the camera out of the tent. With almost zero effort required, it’s hard to say no, and we set the alarm for 4:30, hoping for good light in the morning. (more…)

Jyrgalan-Jergez Traverse, Day 4: Still Smiling!

After all the rain yesterday the stars came out last night and treated us to another show, Milky Way included. We awake at 6 am with the intention of having breakfast at 7 and hitting the trail earlier. Today is a big day with lots of elevation gain and loss en route to a few key destinations—the Boz-Uchuk Lakes, an unnamed 3516 meter pass, and hopefully views of the snowy Tashtambek-Tor-Bashi Peak. (more…)

Jyrgalan-Jergez Traverse, Day 3

It rains throughout the night, and, when I wake up at 6 am, I am desperate to get out of the tent and use the bathroom. But, with the rain still coming down, I play possum for a bit, and, when it’s apparent that sleep is no longer an option, I read to distract my attention from my full bladder. (more…)