• Penelope Haines

Altyn Arashan (Part 2) - Day 26

Updated: Jun 23


As I keep forgetting to keep my hand dry, its just as well that it’s healing quickly and cleanly. I’ve replaced the dressing with just strips and have covered the whole with a Velcro strap that Kelly gave me before I left NZ. Cavan and I had a wonderful time today. We hiked up the valley following the road. Everywhere you look, beautiful photo opportunities present themselves. We both snapped hundreds of photos. Later we climbed down a hill and walked back to our hotel via the river bank. Horses grazed freely, although they are hobbled to restrict the area they can cover. Wild hyacinths were just coming into bloom. I identified wild crocus, buttercup, daisies and dog roses.  This valley is an extraordinarily beautiful place. When we returned to the Hotel Cavan and I had a soak in the hot springs. They are divided into four different baths, all at varying temperatures. After some experimentation we established that we could cope with bath 2 and stayed there. As you might expect, the weather changes extremely rapidly, from warm sunshine to cold, windy weather that strips the warmth from your bones. Our hotel has been invaded by South Koreans. This was somewhat unexpected, but there is apparently a connection between Kyrgyzstan and the Koreans. The hotel is now rather packed ( given it’s still under construction) and our group is outnumbered. Bizarrely, one of the Koreans came charging into our dinner hour last night with a camera woman and proceeded to attempt to interview us during our meal. I was more concerned that the microphone appeared to be covered by a muffle that looked like an Echidna. It’s hard to know whether this guy is a local celebrity in Korea or a complete pillock. I watched him preen in front of a mirror and then take selfie after selfie over a thirty minute period. Their group was accompanied by pack ponies. Our guide reported that their guides had expressed concern about whether they would make their goal of the lake at the head of the valley. Apparently Koreans have a reputation in this area for having beautiful new gear, but being completely unfit and not very organized. Neill made us mulled wine tonight. It went down and treat, and was wonderful.


Walking at Altyn Arashan

A horseman riding by

Walking at Altyn Arashan

Wild flowers


Walking at Altyn Arashan

The stream



Packing up on the pack horse

In the hot spring with Neill

Om mani padmi hum - interior of the dining hall