The Ala Archa Canyon, according to Lonely Planet , ‘’ This grand, rugged but very accessible gorge is a state nature park offering dozens of walking and trekking possibilities, including hikes to glaciers and, for the serious mountaineer, treks to the region’s highest peak.”
This was our goal for the day. To ride a bicycle and trek to Ala Archa.
photo by: http://commons.wikimedia.org
Beautiful isn’t it?
How I wish I took this photo, but sadly (but not regretfully) we didn’t reach our destination. Our journey revolves around bikes, mountains and an apple…ooh and a camera.
You see, a day before our journey, all of us were very optimistic, a bit nervous I must say cause it has been a while since I rode a bike, but nonetheless we were very hopeful.
We woke up early and booked a bike online. We searched the net and compared prices. Because it was not the bike season we got our bike rentals in Velopro at a discount. From 600 soms we got it for 400 soms.
We were instructed to choose a bike, I don’t have any clue on what should be my basis in choosing, so I just looked at the color (I got the green one). ^^
It felt so nice to ride a bike again, good thing the skill didn’t abandon me.
A beautiful morning, a lovely weather and good friends…THIS IS GOING TO BE A GOOD DAY!
Before we start, we thought of snapping some photos first while we still look fresh..haha..I love how my Kyrgyz friends like to have their photos taken, and I must say they know how to pose.
As we head on, just a few kilometers away, I felt tired already. This got me very worried. I didn’t realize that from the beginning we were moving on an upward slope already.
Looking at how easy it was for my friends, I pretended that I was not tired. The beauty of having adventures with friends is that you will instantly forget how tired you are when you are having fun…and we were!
We officially left the city (achievement!!) and we started going on a steeper slope. I didn’t know if I can make it without stopping, aside from my tired legs, my butt started to hurt. Good thing, Artyk, one of my friends decided to just walk and push the bike along. Because I was a supportive friend (*wink*) I tag along with him.
I really love the part when we were just walking, because we had an opportunity to talk and tell stories about our lives. I have learned a lot about Artyk, I learned that he is a dreamer, a very admirable trait for his age. As I mentioned in my first blog about Kyrgyzstan, I appreciate the Kyrgyz being so friends and how they have treated me as part of their family, having this conversation with Artyk, I felt that he instantly became my brother.
As we continue our trek, the beauty of Kyrgyzstan slowly embraces us. We have golden trees on our left, grassy hills on our right while the snow capped mountain ranges in front of us. A scene that is not familiar to any Filipinos.
I remember just uttering the word “WOW” as we became closer and closer to our destination.
The four of us took turns on carrying our backpacks and camera. No one complained and everyone was willing to help especially at times when a pedal chain got broken or we need to pump some air in the wheels.
My friend told me that we were just 40 minutes away and it was just 2pm. This meant, we have time to hike, and enjoy the view once we arrive in Ala Archa.
After more than an hour, it seemed that we were still far away from our target place. Although tired, we were having so much fun ( I also can’t believe it). We stopped a little and had a photo shoot. Hahaha. We took turns on taking the photos (and posing). It did turn out great.
Enough with the photos, this time we needed to be serious to reach our goal. After hours on the bike, we still haven’t reached Ala Archa, good thing we saw an old man on an apple farm. My friend Iskender asked him for the directions to the mountains (cause maybe we got lost), he told us it was still around 2 hours of trekking, and that was just at the foot of Ala Archa. At this point, we felt that we have to decide whether we will continue or we should head back.
Before deciding which trail to take, we decided first to ask the old man if we can get an apple! YEY! It was the freshest apple that I have tasted, so fresh that I thought I ate some fresh dirt also (oh well, it is still organic).
The first words that came out of my mouth was “ We have journeyed for hours and hours already and it will be a shame if we’ll stop now.” I was still very idealistic, maybe too much. My friend Askhat brought me to my senses. He told me that if we will continue we will arrive there just after sunset and it will be very dark, not only in the mountains but also on our way back, which will be very dangerous for all of us.
All his points were valid, although I must admit that I was disappointed, we still need to be wise. Thinking of this, I instantly brushed off all sadness and started to enjoy our journey back to the city. Besides, what I have experienced on this day were all new to me, and wasn’t that why I took this trip?
The ride back to Bishkek was a breeze, it took us just an hour of speedy descent compared to more than 5 hours ride we just took.
Although we were not able to reach Ala Archa, I can still say that this became the highlight of my trip. I have lived on the saying that travel is more about the journey than the destination. Our time together was the experience that I will treasure the most. PRICELESS. Being in a tough situation like that made our bond stronger and we became really good friends.
Now, should I recommend biking from Bishkek to Ala Archa? Well, if you have time I recommend it, but take in mind, you should rent your bike overnight as it will be better if you will stay in the canyon for the night and go back to Bishkek the next day. Also, one more advise, limit your model-like photo shoot sessions, this took a lot of our time (but hey, I am not complaining cause I love every bit of it).