Tag: Take a Hike Photography

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…)

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 4: Got Mare’s Milk?

We set the alarm for midnight and reluctantly climb out of our sleeping bags in hopes of photographing the stars. It’s definitely hard to get up, but we intentionally didn’t go to the bathroom just before bed, so that we would have the extra motivation of relieving our bladders as insurance. It’s cold, so we layer up as best we can: pants over long johns, rain coat over down jacket, hats, gloves, the works… (more…)

Colorado Trail, Day 33: A Beast of a Day

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On paper, today is the shortest mileage day of this leg between Creede and Silverton. We only have to hike 14.5 miles, and, after the 15.8 and 18.8 mile-days that we have put in already, we wake up figuring that today’s hike should feel pretty easy. Funny how that’s not the way it works. (more…)