Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Out for a hike in beautiful Ala-Archa National Park, Kyrgyzstan

We are so lucky that November has been warmer than normal here in Kyrgyzstan. Apparently last year at this time the trails were already snowed in. 

So we took advantage of the opportunity and went for a hike in the mountains. Originally, we were going to get dropped off at the first entrance gate to the park, but our taxi driver talked us into going further.

Which was a great idea, despite the fact that it was quite a bit more expensive. But he really was right... it was the best thing to do.

We ordered a Yandex taxi, knowing it was 600 KGS ($9.25 CAD, $6.75 USD) one way to the first gate. But the guy was quite insistent that the scenery is better at the second gate. And I knew that... we just thought we would be okay at the first gate, plus it's more difficult to get a ride back from the second gate. 

Our driver suggested that we pay the 700 KGS park entrance fee to allow him to drive us to the  second gate, and he would come back and get us at a prearranged time. This totally made sense, and would allow us to see part of the park properly.

We started out at 7,100' and there was a little snow on the ground.

There were also little animals on the ground!

These little red squirrels were the cutest things!

They are obviously well fed by park visitors. Not shy at all.

We made it to a section that got more daylight sunshine, and there wasn't as much snow.

It was still a little slippery in places though.

Me, on the trail!

These little roufous-naped tits were flitting about.

I don't miss carrying around the big camera AT ALL. The camera on my Honor Magic 5 Pro phone is fantastic!

The broken heart rock trailhead marker.

I caught him just as he was about to take off.

Pretty little birds.

We are headed up that valley.

Ruth, coming up behind me.

Our original plan was to make it to the Ak Say waterfall. But we met a girl coming down from the opposite direction who said that the waterfall was frozen, and that we really should have crampons because thats section is quite slippery. And really, we wouldn't have had quite enough time anyhow.

Zoomed in on the frozen waterfall we had originally thought about getting to.

Ruth and her two sticks hiking poles!

Zoomed in on a glacier in the distance. There are over 20 glaciers in the park.

Me and the view! It's a little hard to see me!

That photo was as far as we made it. Our driver was picking us up at 3:00pm, and we wanted to make sure we weren't late. Also, you could tell that the path was getting more treacherous. Best to turn around.

And good thing we did. We saw a large fog bank moving in, and we didn't know how bad it was going to get.

Ruth, doing a dance to avoid the icy bits.

Another red squirrel near the bottom.

Ruth had them eating out of her hand.

We only did a total of 5.5 kms (3.5 miles), but with 1,500' elevation gain. Still, we enjoyed the time out in the fresh air, and we're glad we paid the extra money to get there. Total for transportation and park entry was 2,700 KGS ($41.75 CAD, $30.35 USD). 

Today we are up early and headed for the bus station for a five hour ride across the border to Kazakhstan.

A bit of a Black Friday deal on the popular GCI Outdoor Rocker.

And in Canada...


  1. Those little birds and squirrels are adorable! What a beautiful spot. Glad you got to do a nice hike there. Looks fantastic!

    1. They certainly were and the squirrels were quite comical too, we just stood there and watched them for a short while.

      The Tian Shan mountains were gorgeous, we really enjoyed our hike and wouldn't hesitate to come back here again one day but we would want to be here in late August or anytime in September.

  2. The glacier pics are amazing! I know what you mean about camera versus cellphone. We rarely use our Canon anymore.

    1. And those pictures were taken from fairly far away too! Kevin is so happy with his new phone camera and the quality of pictures that it is taking. He still has to play around with it a little more and learn what some of it's other features are.


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