Kirstin climbs nature, part 2

(for part 1, see here)

I got bored in class yesterday and wrote a list of details I wanted to be sure to remember to write about regarding my Revolution Day hike in Kemin. The first item is one I considered repeating several times:

“of course I underestimated the [amount of] physical activity”

There’s a little arrow drawn underneath that says, “my shins are still sore.”

And it’s true. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a wonderful time. Farrell and I set out with a group of Europeans (because we haven’t found the Americans in Bishkek, yet) to a valley located a bit further than the town of Kemin, about 2 1/2 hours west of Bishkek.

We originally planned on hopping in some sort of public transportation or splitting up into two cabs to get the seven of us to the valley, when an overly friendly marshrutka driver struck up conversation with the adorable, effortlessly chic Euro girls of the group (he couldn’t resist flirting, I’m sure). Cheaper than cabs, roomier than a public mini-bus, we chartered the marshrutka to drop us off on the side of a road, kilometers away from the nearest town, and wait for several hours until us crazy kids stumble back to the road to be whisked back to the city.

Ahh, VIP style.

The main highlight of the hike was being able to finally get out of Bishkek and see a bit of the rugged landscape and gorgeous scenery that Kyrgyzstan is known for.

Like I mentioned before, I sadly underestimated the amount of actual exercise involved with this trip. My thought process for the trip went something like this, “Wake up early, buy snacks, drive to valley, gawk at natural splendor, sit down and eat snacks, chat, relax, drive back to Bishkek.”

Turns out, it was more like gawking at the occasional vertical rock wall that popped up along the trail. When we bumped into the first one, I said, “Oh, well I think this has been a great time nevertheless. Let’s backtrack, dig into those snacks, and call it a day.” The others were already scrambling to find footholes.

Oh gosh. It’s not just that I’m really lazy (which means I have no upper body strength), but I’m terrified of heights. The group cheered me on though, and I eventually tugged myself up (with a lot of help, of course).

Photographic evidence of one of several climbing triumphs.

Other than my obvious lack of athleticism, the day’s fail moment came from Farrell, who must have forgotten about the many hours of Man vs. Wild we’ve spent watching together. Bear Grylls has clearly instructed proper technique for sliding down a mountain. Next time Farrell finds himself at the top of a steep hill, the scratches on his thighs will hopefully remind him.

Eventually sun started setting, throwing amazing golden light all over the crevices of the valley. As my camera-less depression sank in, so did a faint chill and a realization that we had no cell phone reception in our undefined blip of the country. We scurried back to our private marshrutka and careened back to civilization. The Belgians made pancakes with apples and cheese (weird Europeans) and all was well with the world.

Big blog news coming up soon! For now, schoolwork…