Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's, uh... Cool!

So, the sanatorium didn't float our boat so much, but it sure was in a great location.  In fact, we didn't even have boat, so we'll never actually know.

We made arrangements with a local taxi driver to pick us up after breakfast at the hotel entrance.  It seems odd to pay someone to cart us to a hiking destination and pay for them to wait all day (or even a few hours) for us.  We have to remind ourselves that this is great money for him, and he seemed genuinely pleased at the thought of sleeping some of his day away.  For the record, the day cost us about $24.00, including about 45-55 minutes of travel each way.

I had talked with Victor (the amazingly knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic local hire who works exclusively with the secondary students and teachers) about places to hike near Cholpon-Ata/Bosteri.  He gave me the name of a beautiful valley just east of Bosteri.  Apparently, you can hike from Kazakhstan into Kyrgyzstan in a couple of days when the snow is off of the pass.  We might have to look into this for next year.  Anyway, it's a place called Grigorievka valley (Coordinates of where we turned around: 42.834153,77.429323).

Now, I don't know a lot about parts of Colorado, but I couldn't help but think that this could be somewhere near Glenwood Springs.  It also had touches of Hwy 395 near Gardnerville, or even further south nearer the Mt. Dana area.  Though the trees rooted closer to the lake were still in full fall foliage fanfare, the deciduous among the trees in the valley had all but lost their summer coat.  It did not, however, detract from the beauty.

We hiked up this rather worn dirt road along a beautiful creek/river.  There were even times that we thought of our frequent trips to the Sierra Buttes and the beautiful creeks in that area.  On occasion, we found evidence of yurts.  We assume that these yurt sites are kept for summer-time tourist hosting in a campground-like setting.  You can see me standing in the middle of the yurt.

After hiking for about two hours, we found ourselves looking west-by-northwest, towards Kazakhstan and some towering peaks.  It should be noted that the weather was beautiful all day long.  A few clouds, an occasional breeze, and numerous transitions from rolled up sleeves with stowed jackets to being bundled up with gloves and hats. We sat on a small patch of dry ground and had a lunch of Clif Bars (Carrot Cake, and Cool Mint Chocolate, treats we brought with us from the states) and some tea cookies.

We needed to head back to our waiting and dozing taxi driver, so we headed back down the valley.  I'll leave you with a few parting shots...

Shortly before we reached the taxi, these guys answered the question I had been mulling over in my head for the whole day.  Things looked promising on this creek.

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