Bespolka Home Page Kyrgyzstan 2002 Home Central Asia 2002
Previous Day   Next Day


The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Kyrgyzstan - 17 August, 2002



Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Yurt camp, Song Kul Lake N4154.919' E07502.946' 1,379 meters .
-  Horse back riding on Song Kul Lake . . . 10 km (by horse)
Finish Bush camp, Orto-Tokoj Reservoir N4217.783' E07600.308' 1,772 meters 145 km


1,534 km


Weather: Clear, sunny and cool.  Hot in the sun.  Clear night sky.



We get a bit of a sleep-in this morning.  We plan on going horse-back riding and they do not plan on bringing the horses around until 9:30 AM.  It appears that they have to head off into the hills at around 6 AM and go and round up the horses scattered all around and then saddle them.  We sleep until just before 8 AM and then dare to stick our head and see if it has warmed up.  With the full blast of the sun, it fortunately has started to warm up.


We have a filling breakfast in the dining yurt.  We had rice porridge and fresh bread.  The best part were the home made jams and butter.  We sweetened up and flavored the rice porridge with the jam and the fresh butter was divine.  We stuffed ourselves and has the bread on the table was depleted, they just kept bringing out more.


Kyrgyz02_CD07_33_web.jpg (63199 bytes)

From 9 AM, we hung around and waited for the horses.  We were getting a bit concerned when they did not show up on time - if we could not go riding, then we wanted to go for a walk.  In the end, they did show up just before 10 AM.  They assigned the horse to the nine of us riding and we headed off.  The quality of the horses was mixed.  Some clearly were not that strong, whereas others seemed to have some more stamina.  Maybe they were concerned that we could not handle the bigger horses.  At one point, Jacqui's horse would not move, and the guide had to take the horse and pull him along.


Kyrgyz02_CD07_26_web.jpg (57578 bytes)

We rode along the water's edge and just enjoyed the scenery as we went along.  The shore is scattered with yurts - we saw one in the process of being set up.  It supposedly takes about four hours to set up and folds down into a package weighing 400 kgs.  Now they use trucks to transport them, but in  the old days horses would carry the yurts.


Kyrgyz02_CD07_24_web.jpg (79791 bytes)

We stopped by one set of yurts where a family was sitting around outside.  They welcomed us and offered us some of the fermented mare's milk.  We drank as much as we could!!!  We turned around after about an hour and made out way back to the camp.  About half was, a number of us gave our horses a kick and urged them into a gallop.  It was a great ride back.  Some of the horses, however, could not be urged to go faster than a walk.


Kyrgyz02_CD07_29_web.jpg (94405 bytes)

Once back at the camp, we took a quick shower before lunch.  We passed on the shower yesterday as it was way to cold (lake water that must be near freezing).  In the heat of the mid-day sun, however, it did not seem too cold.  It was just refreshing!  Lunch was soup followed by some form of buckwheat with veggies.  They gave us as much as we could eat.


Kyrgyz02_CD05_27_web.jpg (52072 bytes)

We loaded up the truck and were off just after 1:30 PM.  A number of us sat on the roof seats as we were driving slowly on the poor road that winds it way around the edge of the lake.  It was slow going, but the views were fantastic and we enjoyed the ride.  But we did bogged twice.  Both where we had to cross streams that drained into the lake.  Here Rick is checking out one of them before we attempt to drive through.


Kyrgyz02_CD05_22_web.jpg (66020 bytes)

At this first bogging, while we were digging out the truck, we had the opportunity to go and visit one of the yurts.


Kyrgyz02_CD05_17_web.jpg (99209 bytes)

The locals were very happy to welcome us into their yurts and show us around.  They were very well kept and very warm.  They have bright materials covering the walls and and carpets covering the dirt floor.  Just to the left of the door was the kitchen.


Kyrgyz02_CD05_14_web.jpg (43983 bytes)

On the second bogging, we had a group of locals gallop over to us on horse back.  They were showing off their skills as they raised through the streams, water splashing.  They chatted with us as we dug out the truck.  One of the riders was a very sophisticated lady wearing a black leather coat.  She was quite a horse woman.  She let a number of us ride her horse.


Kyrgyz02_CD05_20_web.jpg (46628 bytes)

Right after this bogging, there was a tricky bit where the truck has to drive down into a steep ditch, through some mud and then back up the other side.  Rick did a great job of getting through this and not getting stuck.  This was followed by a slopping bit where the truck started to sink down on one edge.  Those of us sitting on the front roof seats could sense how the truck started to lean further and further over.  We were glad when we were told that all had to get off the truck as they maneuvered through this area.


We then had a fairly incident free drive along the lake edge until just after 5 PM, where we met the dirt road that would take us back to the main paved road.  It was a great ride along this dirt road as we wound our way over a pass and down a valley.  The views were stunning.  We hit the paved road at 6:40 PM and then finally started to make some real progress.  We are a bit behind schedule and just carry on.  We make a quick stop in Kockorka - a small town where we do some cook group shopping.  Not much there, but enough to prepare a light dinner for tonight.


We carry on and finally reach Orto-Tokoj Reservoir, where we look for a bush camp for the night.  It has started to get dark, so it is a bit hard to find a good spot, but after a bit of looking, we find one at the end of the reservoir.  It turns out to be a great spot, where we watch the final colors of the setting sun fade away over the reservoir.


We set up camp in the dark and then have a light dinner.  After sitting around for a while, we decide to retire to our tent early so that we can watch the night sky laying back in our sleeping bag.  We watch as the giant dipper slowly revolves around the north star.


Previous Day   Next Day
Bespolka Home Page Kyrgyzstan 2002 Home Central Asia 2002

Copyright 2002