Hiking Kyrgyzstan exceeded my wildest expectations. The prettiest country I’ve ever seen, its wild and desolate beauty took my breath away. There is so much we wanted to see and do in Kyrgyzstan but our main aim for this 4-day trip was to hike to Ala-Kul Lake. This was not an easy trek for me. It took me outside my comfort zone on so many levels. Up, up and then even further up was how I’d describe the hike. A 2 hour drive in an old school Soviet Jeep took us to the Altyn Arashan base camp, where we were to begin our hike the next day. The next morning we began our 6 hour trek to the Ala-Kul Pass where we set up our tents for camping that night. Then began the 3 hour hike to Ala-Kul Lake, where towards nearing the summit, ten steps forward found you sliding 8 steps back. To my altitude-addled brain, the view up looked like an almost vertical climb (of course it wasn’t) and about 200m to the summit I had a mini breakdown and refused to leave my precarious perch. Eventually I was brought to my senses and launched myself up through gravel, rock and ice to be greeted by the most spectacular view I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. At almost 4100m, every inch of that view was earned. But wow! What. A. View. Simply put, no words or even these pictures, do it justice. As much as I mostly hated the climb to the top due to how mentally and physically challenging I found this hike, this is one hike that will forever hold the most memories for me.
A 2 hour hike back to camp that evening, and a 3 hour hike back in the rain the next morning back to the original Altyn Arashan base camp made for some beautiful photos. Kyrgyzstan, you have outdone yourself.