Sary Mogul is the starting point for Peak Lenin and the nice thing is that you can always see the mountain from here – if it is not hiding behind clouds. On my second day there, the sun was shining wonderfully from the blue sky and so there was also a good view of the mountain. I packed my little bag and set off for a walk to the mountains on the other side. There is also a trekking tour here that lasts several days, which I would have liked to walk but was too weak to do. I’ll make up for that one day I though! as I met people who had done it and were very enthusiastic. A lot of great mountain scenery would await you there. I was already enthusiastic about my little excursion.
Sary Mogul is already quite far spread and so I first went through a whole stretch of inhabited area. Then I continued upwards along the river. There were still farmsteads and houses, but they became fewer. And at some point they also stopped. I liked it here immensely with the high vastness and lingered. It was clear to me that I absolutely had to come back again. This was “only” a teaser, but absolutely fulfilling for the day.
For the next day I planned a taxi trip to Tulpar Lake. That is more than 20 km and 500 metres higher in the direction of Pik Lenin. There was another Israeli couple in the guesthouse, they had done a trek, were a bit tired but also wanted to see the lake and we were happy to have less taxi costs together.
In Sary Chelek, I had already met a couple who were vegans and cooked their own food for lack of sufficient offer. This couple ate according to Jewish dietary rules and also reached their limits with what was available and cooked themselves. Even though I sometimes miss cooking and eating to my taste – it would actually be far too much work for me to take care of all my meals myself, to go shopping, to have certain things with me, to plan and make up my mind. At least: almost everywhere I went, you could use the kitchen.
On the journey, it turned out that a car was a good idea. It was quite a long way up a kind of treeless and shrubless plain, just climbing very slowly. Unfortunately, the bright blue sky was no longer there, but many clouds.
And then this plain turned into a funny hilly landscape. I had never seen anything like it. Waves of grassy humps criss-crossed the foothill landscape. Here there were also the first small farmsteads and summer pastures.
There were small lakes between these hills. Tulpar Lake is the largest and gives its name to the area.
And then there was a small hole in the clouds where Pik Lenin showed itself (at least I think so, but maybe a secondary peak next to it). Near Tolpar Lake, some yurt camps had been set up. Here you could sleep and be fed while enjoying nature and going on mountain hikes.
You can walk through/ past the camps further up the valley. At one camp, a woman was making kurut. These are a kind of dried cheese balls that taste similar to Ladakhi churpe, but are enriched with a lot of salt. A description can be found here. Unfortunately the woman didn’t want to be on a photo.
And then the view opened up into the valley. You could go down to the river, cross it and go up on the other side, where the Pik Lenin Basecamp is located with many more yurt camps. I walked up the valley a bit more on this side and took too many pictures.
I squatted a little longer on a rock, looked, rejoiced and noticed a movement in the corner of my eye. What was that? A small animal was jumping out, darting around like crazy and looking very cute. It came closer and paused briefly for a photo: a polecat! What funny cute animals they are!
Then I had lunch in a yurt camp. Next door they were also cooking. I met a group consisting of Russian refugees and local young people from Osh who had spent a few mountain days here and wanted to return that day. The Israelis also wanted to go directly to Osh and asked the group if they still had space in the car. Yes, of course, with pleasure! But then the driver started to make trouble. Despite a good offer of money, he refused to take them, which nobody understood. I remembered that I was stopped by policemen with my taxi driver towards Sary Mogul and he had to show driving licence etc. I don’t know if/what he had done wrong, we couldn’t communicate. But I could understand that he wanted me to pay some fine or bribe or something in the amount of 2 euros. That’s not much for me and I handed it over willingly. It was only much later that I thought it was a bit strange to ask for money from your passenger.
Anyway, I had eaten well and climbed back into our taxi with the Israelis and we drove back. I got to know that they had found someone to give them another lift from the main road.
After these two excursions, it was clear to me: I absolutely have to come here again and then do some real trekking. The mountain world is very diverse and super beautiful and not so crowded with other tourists. I really liked it!
That night I was the only guest in the guesthouse. That was strange.