I wake up at two in the morning and need to have to use the bathroom, but I’m also lazy to get out of bed. At five:30, I cannot take it any longer, and I lastly make a decision to get up. The sun is just about to come up more than the mountains, and a sliver of a crescent moon is hanging in the deep blue sky just above the snowy peaks. No one is up but me, so, just after taking care of small business, I stroll about camp for a couple of minutes, taking in the wonderful pre-dawn scene at 14,435 feet.
Right now is our final significant day of hiking right here in Kyrgyzstan, and we will be performing the return trip from Camp 1 back to Base Camp. This is the very first time that we are performing an out and back hike and retreading our methods considering the fact that we have been in Kyrgyzstan, but, if we had to choose any hike to do twice, this would undoubtedly be the one particular. Virtually each and every single step of the 13.five kilometers back to Base Camp is jaw-dropping wonderful, and we are excited to see it once again, only this time in a distinctive light.
The late breakfast at camp is served at eight:00. As quickly as we are carried out consuming, we grab our packs and hit the trail. Ak-Sai Camp is sponsoring a mountain trail race right now referred to as the Lenin Peak Sky Race that goes from Base Camp to Camp 1 and back. They have set up a hydration station for the runners with water, cookies and watermelon just as you enter Camp 1. When the runners get right here, they have to turn about and go back. It tends to make us tired just pondering about it.
We head out of camp about 9, and we couldn’t ask for a extra wonderful day. The sun is shining. The temperature is cool sufficient to put on lengthy sleeves, and the scenery is just as spectacular the second time about.
We see our very first runners about 15 minutes or so down the trail. We hoot and holler for them as they pass us by. Some look to appreciate it, when other individuals hold their game faces on and do not react at all. The very first 3 racers that pass us are males, but the fourth is a lady. You go, girl!
Our very first significant downhill of the day comes when we head down to the river. This is the spot of the chaotic scene with all of the horsemen and the broken poles, but, at this time in the morning, the only people today there are monitoring the race. Timu has located a spot a tiny upstream exactly where we can hop across on rocks. The river is deep and operating a tiny also quick for my poles to be of substantially use, but Rob extends a assisting hand and I am across. Challenge one particular of the day is carried out. Hooray!
As we choose up the trail once again, we see the very first runner coming back down the trail on his return trip to Base Camp. As an alternative of taking the switchbacks down to the river, he flies down the soft scree cliff, leaving a cloud of dust in his wake. There are no flags marking the race course, so runners ought to be capable to pick their personal route, particularly on the downhills.
Substantially of the trail right now is on the narrow ledge traversing a steep slope higher above the glacier. We are all a tiny worried about how ideal to get out of the runners’ way if we come about to pass at inopportune spots on the trail. In addition, there is a lot of horse visitors of backpacks, gear and even people today and the odd 2×4 becoming ferried back and forth involving the two camps.
We climb up onto the rocky slope above the trail to let one particular horseman pass, and he stops abruptly appropriate subsequent to Matt. He points at the binoculars on Matt’s waistbelt and pulls a wad of som out of his pocket, indicating that he would like to get them. Matt tries to clarify that they are in terrible shape, and he would do far better finding himself a new pair in Osh.
Matt is telling him the truth, but the horseman is undoubtedly disappointed about not becoming capable to get Matt’s pair on the spot. His binoculars have been a enormous hit with all of our guides and porters right here in Krygyzstan. It would be enjoyable to be capable to give them all a pair. Some day, when we win the lottery, appropriate?
Matt and I finish up hiking the lengthy, glacial traverse on our personal. When we are not gawking at the unbelievable landscape in front of us, we reminisce about all of the wonderful hiking that we have carried out in this beautiful nation. From Jyrgalan and Karakol to the Alay and Pamir Mountains right here in the south, we have been blown away by the alpine scenery and cultural encounters that we’ve had these previous 5 weeks. We really feel like we have carried out so substantially, but there is nonetheless so substantially extra to see. Kyrgyzstan is undoubtedly a spot that warrants coming back to, particularly if hiking and enjoying the outdoors is your passion.
The realization that this may possibly be our final time hiking for a when starts to set in, and we attempt to love each and every final step of right now. The closer we get to Travelers Pass, the extra colorful and rugged the scenery becomes. Layers of wealthy reds, fiery oranges and purpley pink rocks mesmerize us on our left, when a chain of glacier-covered peaks dominate the expanse to the appropriate. It is Grand Canyon meets Alaska in one particular amazing, breath-taking scene.
The hike up and more than Travelers Pass is our second significant challenge of the day. Just after yesterday’s climb up to Peak Yuhina, I’m feeling a bit wiped out and eager for a rest at the prime. We linger there, enjoying one particular final unobstructed appear at mighty Peak Lenin just before we start the lengthy descent down to the other side.
When we are down, the rest of the day’s hike is reasonably quick, and the 4 of us hike collectively on the wide flat plain that requires us most of the way back to Base Camp. Along the way, we run into a lady and man who recognize us from cheering them on in the course of the race earlier in the day.
They are a cute young couple from the Czech Republic who took second and third spot in the race, respectively. They are headed back to their tent up the trail, all smiles and pumped complete of adrenaline from their overall performance in the race. Subsequent week, they will compete once again in one more trail race that goes from Camp 1 to Camp 3 at more than 6100 meters, most of which is in the snow. They are definitely excited about it. Crazy!
The rest of the hike is longer than we keep in mind, but we press on, eager to have lunch at Base Camp. We cease briefly to get a very good appear at a juvenile Golden eagle perched on a hilltop not far from the trail, but otherwise we hold our foot on the gas paddle, complete speed ahead to Base Camp.
We arrive about three:00 and have a late lunch at the CBT Yurt Camp. It is nothing at all to create residence about, so we are pleased to study that this yurt camp is complete and that we will be staying in the one particular subsequent door, which is a tiny smaller sized and quieter. Fingers crossed, the meals will be far better as effectively.
Our yurt appears promising. It has six single beds with clean, white linens arranged in a circle about the periphery. Just after the previous quite a few nights sleeping on the ground, a accurate bed feels like a luxury. We are capable to get a Russian-style sauna bucket shower in just before dinner, which is served in a tiny cargo container cum dining space.
When we head back to the yurt, the sun is setting, and the mountain in front of us appears practically psychedelic pink and green. We grab our cameras and run for the hills exactly where we hope to get a far better view of the glowing sky. Matt leads the charge, and we make it just in time. What a fitting finish to this beautiful and colorful trek!