They say that the mountains of heaven lie in the isolated paradise of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan. Traveling to Kyrgyzstan is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Leave the phone, the computer, the email and breathe, look, touch, look at the details of nature, connect with your horse and with yourself.
We enjoy every moment and live in the present! We travel inside and get to know ourselves better, to learn to enjoy life, from every moment and admire nature in all its splendor. We travel through beautiful landscapes, and exotic culture through the Tian-Shan mountains following the paths of the shepherds and the pristine nature.
The horse route begins at a height of 1700 m and reaches the 4000 m glaciers. Here we experience the fresh and refreshing feeling of summer snow and an incomparable top view of the world. The longest and most exciting trek for us was the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. The Barskoon has far outdone it in terms of adventure! We hiked in a completely undeveloped region. The only people we meet are nomads on the summer pastures.
I took a trip to Barskoon. This is a small village a few kilometers away from the south bank of Issyk-kul lake. Barskoon itself has nothing to offer. Behind it, however, is a valley where there are some beautiful waterfalls to see. Since I had already gained experiences with waterfalls in Jety Oguz, we thought that was a good idea.
It is important to know that in comparison to other valleys that extend southwards into the Tien-Shan mountains, the Barskoon Valley has a reasonably fortified road. This is because the route leads to the controversial Kumtor gold mine through this valley.
The Djangart Valley is located in southeastern Kyrgyzstan, on the border with China. We reached the valley with a GAZ-66 off-road vehicle hired from the trekking agency. Our driver drove us from Bishkek towards Tamga on the Issyk Kul lake. The vehicle was very slow and always needed a (repair) service.
The route to the Djangart Valley was unfortunately not passable by vehicle and we had to change gears in the truest sense of the word. With the help of horses for the luggage we walked over the Djangart Pass to our base camp in the Djangart Valley.
I realize again that camping is nothing for me. I wake up at 7:00 am after feeling that I finally fell asleep at 5:00. Everything hurts, my eyes doesn't open and I'm tired. The weather is not so nice today. The sky is overcast and as soon as I climbed out of the tent, it starts to drift. So drizzle. After a hearty breakfast with porridge, the world looks different again. The rain has stopped and I'm looking forward to today!
We already knew what we had to do. So we had an early breakfast, as we wanted to hike the maximum kilometers with the morning chill. After breakfast, we start our visit to the Barskoon Canyon. At the foot of the mountain we enjoy the beautiful river Barskoon.
We left the guesthouse and went through the road that goes to a gold mine that some Canadians are exploring. The road to Barskoon Pass is really a dream. As we went forward we found a bike lying on the road and its owner hidden in the bush. We all took advantage to get the most weight possible. Finally we reached the road, and started to climb a wide valley and a wide track of land, as it is the access to the mine. Rugged rock formations welcome us, reminiscent of the Uluru in Australia. We stop at the hot springs that are on the road.
Every few meters there is a road guard who is dedicated to watering it and keeping it well cared for as we go up and up. We go up relatively slowly, until we stop to take pictures and talk. Well, not everything is joy, since from time to time we get some huge trailers. The sun shines from a bright blue sky and we try to find shelter in the sparse shadow. It is already 10:30 and the other expedition members have not yet arrived. Just before starting the hardest ramps we take a short break. We're standing at a dusty intersection right in the middle of nowhere. The landscape looks like a wild west movie.
After we have treated ourselves to a hot bath and have cooled our feet in the mountain stream, we walk a bit further along the road. Finally, we sit down for lunch on the banks of the raging mountain stream, which accompanies us all the time. Satisfied, we continue along the road, which is slowly turning into a beautiful path along the river.
The weather offers us a factor in our favor. It starts to rain that allow us to get a little bit cool during the climbs. I will not explain how we climbed because the truth is that everyone did what they could, but always on top of the bike. First we pass through a small port of 3,400 m but immediately the thing continues until our final destination.
We are happy today to follow a normal path again. It leads us gently through coniferous forest up to a large meadow, on which a small tent stands and many horses graze. Our porters have already run, throwing the backpacks and talk to the nomads.
As we open up we are warmly invited to tea. We do not say no, even if we are only twenty minutes away. And there is not only tea but also Oromo. This is a delicious dough with onions and the first milk of the cow. Such invitations follow us several times on our way, and we sometimes have to turn them down with a heavy heart because of time constraints.
The Kyrgyz people are an incredibly hospitable people. They always pick up the best pieces for the guest even if sometimes they do not even know when the next one will pass. This tradition is deeply rooted in their nomadic culture.
Often a shepherd is out and about the whole day, seeking refuge from a storm. And since it can happen to everyone, even strangers are always warmly received and supplied with the best.
As cozy and funny as it is in this little tent, we have to tear ourselves away and move on. The path leads us on in a relaxed, shallow, uphill direction. The sun is fighting through and we are in a good mood. However, we also know that we still have to make a good elevation today .
Before that, however, the path leads us to a broad plain in which the river, which was still raging yesterday, continues to branch off and flows a little more leisurely.
It offers us a breathtaking panorama and we can not get out of amazement and taking pictures. To the right of us rise the mountains and we know that we have to find the way to the passport somewhere. And we also notice that our guide is not quite sure where to take the path into the mountains.
He insures with two nomads who come with their horses over and so begins the rise. And from here the way ends. Again and again we follow individual cattle rides and at the same time keep our eyes on the ideal line.
The group is slowly pulling apart as each one takes his own step and is busy breathing. So we screw ourselves piece by piece towards the pass. After about three quarters of the way uphill, we sit down for lunch. The wind whistles over us and it is quite uncomfortable.
We are strengthened by the rest of the ascent. After each hilltop we think now we are up but there is only one more uphill ahead of us. We keep fighting with our eyes fixed on the ground. Here I discover beautiful wildflowers, numerous grasshoppers and butterflies, which the rough wind does not seem to bother.
And finally I finally reach the ridge of the pass and am speechless for the moment. Opposite us huge mountains, covered by glaciers pile up. Below us is a green valley with a river that loses itself in the distance. We all cheer and enjoy this majestic sight .
The thought of the descent diminishes my joy a little bit. We now have to descend almost 1,000m into the valley before us. The slopes are steep and so we slide and hop more or less down the mountain. Again, everyone tries to find the best way. Every now and then someone slips out and lands on his butt. Luckily nobody is hurting.
At the bottom, I just see a movement in the grass and jump back. For the second time here in Kyrgyzstan I almost step into a Gadyuka Viper . It is probably not fatal for a healthy adult, but it causes the bite to swell very much. Well, I really can not use that here!
After about 10 hours we reach the end of the day but feel happy finally at our campsite. When we arrive our tent is already. We wash ourselves a bit on an ice-cold stream and sit refreshed for dinner.