Bishkek to Ala Archa, Kyrgyzstan

Distance: 26 miles
Time on bikes: 0.75 hours

The mission today is to leave Bishkek. It’s been a pleasant enough place and it’s been great to meet up with James, Emily and the rest of the group; but the guesthouse we’ve been staying at seems to just make you lazy and not get out and explore. The city is big and it really needs a taxi to get around, so we haven’t done too much travelling around the place. Our daily exploits seem to be drying up and we’re really keen to get back on the road.

After a walk up the road to get some Dollars from the cash point in preparation for the China crossing, we return to the guesthouse to have breakfast with James & Emily. We’re joined by the two kittens who always make their presence felt when food is on the table. They’re incredibly docile and just have a single mission – find food.

We manage to get packed and we all leave Bishkek at 11.30 am. We say goodbye to James & Emily at the first set of traffic lights as they head east towards Issik Kol and onwards to Karakol. We’re heading south towards the mountains that lie near to the city. It’s a place called Ala Archa and is recommended in the guide books for trekking. We manage to find the right road out of the city, but there can’t be too many going this way. The road steadily climbs as what seems like a constant shallow gradient and after about 45 minutes we reach the end of the road having climbed from about 700 m to 2,200 m.

There’s a locked barrier across the road, so we park the bikes up and go to have a look at what our accommodation options are. Just as we’re about to leave, an English lady walks over to have a chat. She’s returned from a week long trek in the mountains and tells us that this area is just like the lake district in terms of popularity for trekking. We’re situated in a valley and there seem to a few walks heading up into the mountains, so we’re hoping there are a couple of nice treks to keep us busy for this afternoon and tomorrow morning.

We check into a nice looking hotel which costs £30 for the night. We’d been paying about £11.50 a night in Bishkek, so this is a bit of a jump and have a look at a cheaper option for £15 for the night – however, after being told that there was no water or toilets, we quickly decide that £30 is perfectly justifiable. We’re glad we did – the room is huge and has a balcony with a great view of the valley and snow covered mountains.

After a quick shower and giving our bike trousers their first much needed wash, we head out for a walk to a waterfall located 3.75 km away. It’s a steep climb and after 2.5 hours we get there at 4.30 pm, strip off and get an icy shower under the cascading waterfall. We then just laze on a rock in the sun for forty five minutes, before setting off back down.

We get back to the hotel in ninety minutes, just in time for dinner being served at 7 pm. This is well appreciated and is followed with an evening stroll up the road into the valley along the racing, freezing river. The moon is getting big and nicely illuminates the mountains and the glacier on the northern face.

We retire to the room, exhausted.

Jour 124 – Vendredi 20 Aout 2010. De Bishkek a Ala Archa, Kyrgyzstan

Distance: 30 km – Temps a moto: 1 heures

Nous prenons le temps de bien ranger nos affaires et de déjeuner avec James et Emily. Ils vont aller a Issik Kol pour deux ou trois jours et nous les retrouverons après a Song Kol. Nous partons tous vers 11 heures et avec Carl nous prenons la direction du sud vers un parc national qui n’est qu’a 30 km et ou nous irons faire une ballade. La sortie de la ville prends un peu de temps et il fait très chaud, mais il est agréable de sentir un peu de fraicheur des que nous en sortons. La route monte tout doucement dans les montagnes. Nous payons l’entree au parc national et montons au plus haut. La route est interdite aux véhicules après un petit hôtel, nous y prenons donc une chambre et en profitons pour laver nos pentalons de moto et les mettre a sécher au soleil avant de manger un morceau dans le café du coin et de partir faire une petite marche. Il y a des chutes d’eau a 2 heires de marche. Nous y allons, la montée est bien raide et nous sommes bien contents de nous prendre une douche dans les chutes avant de redescendre.

Nous arrivons a l’hôtel a 7 heures et y mangons un petit repas simple et delicieux : de la viande de moutons avec des patates frites et de oignons et des herbes. Nous faisons une petite marche digestive avant d’aller nous coucher dans la chambre qui a une vue sur les sommets.