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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Kyrgyzstan - 16 August, 2002



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Bush camp near Kyzl-Oy N4155.462' E07409.461' 1,707 meters .
Korakichi Pass N4140.126' E07502.127' 3,240 meters .
Finish Yurt camp, Song Kul Lake N4154.919' E07502.946' 1,379 meters 176 km


1,379 km


Weather: Mostly clear, sunny and cool.  Warm in the sun.  Very cold at night.



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Today we hope to reach Song Kul Lake.  It is not too far, but you can never be sure about the conditions.  We head off at 7:30 AM and continue on our way into and through the mountains.


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We head through valleys and over passes.  Some of the passes are over 3,400 meters high. We are able to sit up on the roof seats and the views are fantastic.  The only blemish on the landscape is the incredibly dirty open-pit coal mine that we pass high up in the mountains.  Other than that, it is a great drive.


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Just before 1 PM we reach a pass in the mountains that has a wonderful view both in front and behind.  Korakichi pass is at 3,240 meters and is a great spot for lunch.  As lunch is prepared, we just sit back and take in the fantastic views (and take too many pictures).  A few local kids come and visit us with their horse and hang out and check our our truck and what we are up to.


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At the end of lunch, we take a group photo.


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After an hour, we head on - we do not cross over the pass, rather turn back to complete our journey to Song Kul Lake which we can see in the distance.  We do not seem too far from our Yurt Camp on the edge of the lake, but we drive along the lake's edge at a slow pace on a very poor dirt path.  There are numerous streams that we have to take care crossing.  At one point, we get stuck in a soft, wet patch of earth.  The wheels just spin, so it is time to get out the shovels and sand mats and dig our way out.


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It is actually good fun, but we do spend almost an hour here trying to get out and carry on.  We are not quite sure where we are going - the yurt camp is not a permanent set-up and there are yurts all over the place.  So we do the best we can to try to find it.  We end up driving up and over a number of ridges and we are being told that it is just over the next ridge.  The road is horrible and we make slow progress.  It is good that the views are so great.


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We finally arrive at the yurt camp nestled between two ridges up from the water's edge.  It is a great spot.  We organise our stuff - six to a yurt - and then just hang out while waiting for dinner.  As the sun sets, the temperature begins to drop.


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We get out our cold weather gear - we were told that it had snowed yesterday.  It is also important to remember that just a few meters down, there is permafrost.  We also get out our cameras to take a picture of the sunset - the setting sun bathes the mountains on the opposite shore in a warm glow.


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We have a great dinner in the dining yurt at 8 PM.  They serve us hot, yummy food (and lots of it).  The plov came with the usual flat bread.  We had fruit and tea for dessert.  After dinner, we just hung around in the yurt and chatted.  It is amazing how warm the yurt stays even when it is freezing outside.


Just before 11 PM we retire to our yurt to sleep.  It is very cold outside and we are happy to get into our yurt and slip into our sleeping bag.


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