Wild Kyrgyzstan - Part 2
Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
215Trip End Jul 20, 2014
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I had about 4 hours to play with and marched up toward the first mountain top. On the way up, I came across a couple of yurt camps all featuring horses, chickens, geese and some donkeys. For my taste, these camps had way too many people running around. I folloiwed the animal tracks and crossed beautiful grassland that still had wild flowers. This area is known as 'Valley of Flowers' but there are not many flowers to be seen because of either being too late in the season (May is flower season) or due to overgrazing. But this stretch of the mountain was not only peaceful and tranquil but a sea of orange, blue, white and purple minature flowers. The orange flowers were the perfect landing place for the delicate orange butterflies blending in nicely with the flowers. From here, one had a magnificient view over lake Issyk-Kol, the red sand stones of Jetu Orghus Valley and the surrounding mountain ranges. By now, it was 3pm and I pondered which way to go. I saw some dark clouds in the distance but the sky above was blue, so I headed across the grassland and climbed another low mountain as I ws curious to see what the other side had to offer. My plan was to walk along the ridge and then drop down into the canyon. By the time I reached the top, a black cloud front was rapidly approaching and I decided to make a run for lower ground. And run I did, just in time to make it to a dense fir forest and sit out the rain under a huge tree
The next day, I went on another hike during which met a Kyrgyz couple on a horse accompanied by 2 dogs. From the way they were talking to me and looking at me I could tell that they must have had a couple of drinks. As I just came down the trail they were heading up, I wasn't too excited about their invitation to go back up to visit their house and 2 daughters. Instead, we sat down and had a bit of a feast; bread, meat, kymies (fermented horse milk) and vodka. All this at 1 pm in the afternoon! I took a couple of photos and promised to mail them to their address (which I did). In the afternoon, I went up a mountain near the yurt camp and just sat there and observed life below me. It w Saturday and Kyrgyz families by the droves arrived at the valley. They sat up camp, cooked up a storm, ate and drank and then left - leaving their trash behind. One observation I made is that with the accumulation of trash - bottles, plastic, glass, paper, cans, etc. - and overgrazing, the valley is left vulnerable to become a wasteland.
Back in Karakol, I enjoyed a long hot shower and then got busy getting the photos for the Kyrgyz family developed and sent off. One night of relaxing at Yak Tour in Karakol (where I met Jane from Tashkent again) and meeting up with Tatjana and then the last 3 days would be spent in Bokonbaeva which offers more hiking opportunities
I wonder how Kyrgyz and Russians will get along in the future. Though the Kyrgyz speak Russian and Kyrgyz, the Russian speak only Russian. And in a country that is proud to have been independent for the past 17 years, there is no guarantee that 'Russian only' will win over friends and businesses. And there is no guarantee that the future generations of Kyrgyz will continue to learn Russian and be bi-lingual. Only time will tell how the future of Kyrgyzstan and its people will turn out.