16 Jun 2009


Sunday morning we "woke up" (after a sleepless night) at 2.30 and got ready to head up the hill. From where we were, the city looked beautiful for once, it was as if we were in an airplane looking down.

We had a half moon that shone bright enough for us to see our route, and the sky got light pretty quick too.
I think mornings are the most beautiful time to hike!

The sun rose soon after 5 and hit the yonder peaks with pretty pink rays.

This is where we were going: Peak Furmanov

Breakfast break on the top of the cone, right at sunrise. The sun felt so warm on our faces.
"Here I raise my Ebenezer..."

Some resilient flowers still on the top of the cone.

Rebekah's flying descent from the cone


Looking back down from the ridge
Pretty snow

Apparently the real peak would have been a bit more south, but we stuck to the one that we had seen from below. Besides, I didn't really trust my boots on this slick icy snow. Both sides headed down at a rather steep grade and there would have been no stopping for a few hundred meters.

Our peak. We hit it at 6.30. I think it might clock in right around 3k.

Beginning the long descent all the way down to Medeo

David was wishing for a snowboard and I was a bit nervous. But the sun warmed the snow enough to give us grip.
The little whitish blue flower that were everywhere. In the early morning they looked blue, with the sunlight they whitened up more. They smelled good too.

Back down to our camping spot with Almaty in the background. We met Underwear Man #2. He walks around all summer in his underwear and has an impressive tan to show for it. He was a rather jolly fellow and loved to greet and talk to every hiker.

We packed up our packs and headed down the trail in search of a better fire-pit. The descent was almost worse than the ascent. David built up a few blisters and our legs felt like jelly.

We found a nice picnic spot and had our oatmeal and leftovers of everything else for breakfast.

Refilling waterbottles in the Kimasar river

Camping trip

Last weekend we went camping in our mountains. David, Gina and Burnie headed up earlier in the afternoon, while Rebekah and I still hit Altyn Orda for food. Our packs were rather heavy and I crawled up the mountain at snail pace.

We didn't have tents or sleeping bags. David had gotten some tarps, so we taped one side together and made little shelters to sleep in. In our packs we carried up blankets that we then curled into. They were better than nothing, but didn't exactly keep us warm either. The first night I think I got about 2h of sleep.
On Friday evening we set up camp and had supper. Soon after 8 pm it started raining, so we got into our "tents" and went to bed.

I woke up somewhere around 4 am to the sound of voices outside. The other three had woken up and had the fire going. At 4 am!! The sky was barely getting light. But we got up too as there was nothing else to do.

I had thought to climb up to Furmanov peak during the night. But when I woke up during the night, it was still raining, so I decided to postpone it to the next morning.
Breakfast of roasted leposhka. Not bad at all.

Most of the morning was cloudy, but for a little while some sun rays escaped through and lit up the mountains on the other side.

We were finished with breakfast at about 5.30, so David and I headed down the trail to find the nearest water source. The little streams were dried up, so we had to go a ways to find water. Then we filtered the water into our water containers and hauled them back up the hill. The whole trip took just over 2 hours. I now appreciate more the distances people have to travel in places like Africa to get their water...

On the way back up the hill I picked some posies. There were so many wild flowers around! It was pretty.

Lunch we had a bit before 11. As we were finishing up it started raining, so again we found shelter in our tents and had a 30 min nap. Then Gina and Burnie packed up and headed down the hill. Gina was sick and Burnie wasn't really enjoying himself either. The remainder of us let our things dry out and then headed up the trail towards Furmanov peak.

The rest of our weekend was perfectly sunny and warm and beautiful!

Along the way we ran into a creepy guy. He was sitting at the table where we had had lunch with Sanzhar and Dimash. He had big headphones on and was saying random sentences loudly with weird grunts in between. We passed by quickly. Soon after we heard him burst into loud laughter that echoed off the mountainsides. It wasn't regular laughter either. It sounded posessed. We were creeped out. For the next few hours we could hear his laughter in the distance, sometimes quiter, sometimes louder...

We found a camping spot right near to where the grass ends and the rocks begin. This time we found shelter in the forest, away from wind and rain. The only problem was that the ground was sloped everywhere and there was no flat place to sleep. Or make a fire either. So made a fire on the hill (after about 15 matches - the wind was rather strong) and cooked noodles. I tested our new knife and found it sufficiently sharp to cut my finger, so for a while I dripped blood everywhere. It was pretty cool.
After supper we walked around a bit and then laid down in the grass to enjoy the sun. It was so peaceful and pretty! So different from the city...