Tag: Jyrgalan

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…)

Jyrgalan-Jergez Traverse, Day 1: James and the Germans

After a full rest day at the guesthouse yesterday, we are both eager to hit the trail again today. Urmat and Adis, our guide and horseporter/cook from the Keskenkiya Loop, are accompanying us for another five-day trek exploring the mountains and valleys to the southwest of Jyrgalan. They arrive at the guesthouse around 8:30 and begin the process of sorting and packing the gear. By 10, we are saying our goodbyes to the kind family that runs the guesthouse and walking out of the village for the final time. (more…)

Keskenkyia Loop, Day 5: Back to Jyrgalan

It was noticeably warmer overnight, and so we both slept like babies, not feeling the need to bundle up and nestle in our cocoons to maintain warmth. We are more than 2000 feet lower than our last camp, and we can feel the difference. As the first rays of direct sunlight hit the tent, the temperature inside begins to climb rapidly. Soon we are scrambling to get out of our sleeping bags and into our hiking clothes. (more…)

Three Perfect Days in…Kyrgyzstan!

Greetings, everyone! It’s summertime, and that means we are off on another hiking adventure. This year we are headed to Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia of all places where we will do some trekking in the Tian Shan and Alay Mountains. Kyrgyzstan is said to be the Switzerland of Central Asia, and we are excited to spend the next five weeks exploring a brand new destination that is totally off the beaten track.

But before we begin our trekking, we have three days to explore Kyrgyzstan. First, we spend a day bumbling around the capital city of Bishkek. On Day 2, we drive clear across the country to our basecamp of Jyrgalan while visiting some of Kyrgyzstan’s premier cultural destinations, and finally, we spend a day in this tiny village acclimatizing and decompressing far away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. So, here, a la United Airlines Hemispheres Magazine, is three perfect days in Kyrgyzstan! (more…)