Well, we did make it to the mountains. We were fortunate enough to catch a ride with Sasha, the school librarian (also a trained physician), and her family on Sunday the 12th of September. Chris, another teacher, also came with us.
The road winds southward out of Bishkek and gains elevation for about 25km before it terminates in Ala Archa national park. The road ends at about 6800' (~2100m). We were greeted with sleet when we parked the car. At that point, you have no choice it seems but to hike further up in elevation, so we did. It snowed on us all afternoon, but never very hard. Although the clouds obscured the view of the towering canyon walls, we got a pretty good idea of just how pretty this place is. There are several options for hiking, so we'll be sure to come back as often as possible before the place is snowed in for the winter.
Katie's Note: Holy Shmoly, it was cold! Poor little Anita, Sasha's daughter, cried nearly all the way up because her toes were so cold. I understood her completely. Yet, the thrill of being in the mountains offset the numbness in my feet! She was much more content, as were all of us, on the way down when the sky lightened up and our toes and fingers warmed up. It was super fun to get to know Sasha and Glenn. We hope to do a lot of hiking and the like with them.
Take a look at the photos. It was a good day. It's always nice to be in the mountains.
Yes, it was wet. There's a saying, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad equipment." The weather was great.
The Ala Archa River
(Thank you blogger for making great pictures all blurry!)
From L-R, Chris, Katie, Sasha (with Anita), and Glenn (Sasha's husband).
The Ala Archa River. One of two similarly confidence-inspiring bridges.
Again. It really is purty.
Finally, a yurt.