Today I was cycling up and down basically for the whole day. This was a bit unexpected because I was supposed to follow a river for 100 km, but instead of following the river, the road went through the mountains behind the river. While the scenery was beautiful, it was of course much more exhausting and hence I only progressed half of the distance. The evening I spent with some nomads and I slept in my tent on the field next to their yurt.
Tough morning climb
20 km after Kasarman, the road crossed a river and then suddenly turned into the hills. What followed was a never ending climb through canyons, some fields, then canyons again, etc. Whenever I thought I must be at the top of the pass by now, I saw another climb ahead. In total I was climbing 900 m in the morning, much more than I had originally hoped and planned.
Planning is difficult anyway here in Kyrgyzstan, because every map shows different roads that connect Kasarman with Ak-Tal, so some surprises will happen every now and then.
When I finally reached a small village after the climb onto a plateau, it was time for lunch. I went to a local store (which in fact was just a small room in someone’s house) to buy a Coke and then ate my bread and sausage I bought in the morning.
Up and down in the afternoon
After lunch I first had a long descent. But as it had to happen, every descent is followed by a climb again, so the rest of the afternoon I constantly went up and down through beautiful landscapes. After another three repetitions of the same story, I decided to stop early today, because the next climb would have been a 1000 m one to a high pass. I preferred to do this climb tomorrow morning.
Staying with semi-nomads
While looking for a place to camp, I found on a large plateau a family who spends their summer in yurts (typical tents of nomads here in Kyrgyzstan) together with sheep, horses, cows, turkeys, donkeys, and three dogs. As I was curious about their lifestyle, I asked for permission to put up my tent next to their yurt.
The family moved up to the plateau (2000 m) from Kasarman beginning of June and will stay until end of September. Being 50 km away from the next store must be difficult, however, they also had a car so they can get supplies from the village. One of the boys was walking around with a Pepsi bottle.
I was also invited to dinner in their yurt. On the menu was yogurt, Kumin (fermented horse milk), bread, dried goat cheese, and bread. The menu for sure is simple up here, and the quantities were also not so big, but I still enjoyed spending time with the family. Especially the children seemed to enjoy summer up here with all the animals in this beautiful landscape.
Max elevation: 2174 m
Min elevation: 1298 m
Total climbing: 2068 m
Total descent: -1350 m
Total time: 08:37:27