High in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan is the beautiful Lake Song-Kol. At 3,016m it should have been no surprise the weather can be changeable.
From Cholpon Ata I travelled by taxi to the small town of Kochkor. Famous for its shyrdak handicrafts (felt carpets) it’s also a great base to organise a trip to Lake Song-Kol. Trip options range from mulit-day horse treks to multi-day hikes to a taxi up into the mountains to reach the lake. Concerned about the pain that was likely to be associated with spending hour after hour in the saddle and having only just finished a trek I opted for the easy taxi option.
As I left the small dusty one-street town of Kochkor grey, threatening clouds hung over the nearby mountains and it wasn’t long before it started to rain. Once my car turned off the highway the road climbed higher and higher and as it did the weather became increasingly worse. Rain, hail and what looked like wet snow hit the windscreen.
As we crested a peak a huge plateau of grasslands stretched in front of me. Lake Song Kol, dull metallic and grey lay in the distance.
My car bumped along the grasslands past yurt camp after yurt camp all in neat rows until we reached my camp. My yurt was a typical round structure from the outside. Inside it was a simple arrangement with a huge pile of blankets for a mattress with even more blankets piled on top. A small stove stood to the side. This was home for the next two nights!
Outside the weather was even worse. Storm clouds dark grey and heavy with rain swept over the grasslands. Thunder rumbled and cold strong winds buffeted my little yurt. It was miserable.
After a brief walk braving the cold winds I scampered back to the blankets of my bed and the relative warmth of my yurt.
The next morning I work to sunny blue skies and a quiet, still world. Lake Song-Kol is so peaceful like this with the dry grass stretching flat from the shore far into the distance before rising into mountains. Such a difference from yesterday.
Across the dry grasslands horses, sheep and cows roamed and in the evening the thundering of horses’ hooves hitting the ground seeped into my sleepy consciousness.
While the weather was miserable to start with I loved how wild the land is. Dominated by mountains, yurts and horses this is the real Kyrgyzstan!
I arranged my yurt stay, including breakfast and dinner, and transportation via CBT (Community Based Tourism) in Kochkor. CBT Kochkor can be found at Pionerskaya St, 22A, telephone: +996 (3535) 22355 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CBT are also able to help arrange multi-day horse treks through the mountains to Lake Song-Kol.
For more information go to www.cbtkyrgyzstan.kg