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We'll depart for Karakol City after breakfast. On the way, we'll take some time to visit some of Issyk-Kul's most popular destinations. After lunch in Boom Gorge we'll make our first stop at Skazka (Fairy tale) Canyons. The canyons are names such because they evoke grand images from Kyrgyz legends. Ask your guide to tell you the stories and see if you can spot some of the corresponding natural formations. Our next stop will be to Barskoon Valley, which is famous for its stunning two-tiered waterfall. Our last stop on our way to Karakol will be Jeti-Oguz, the iconic bluffs steeped in Kyrgyz legend. When we arrive in Karakol, we'll stop first at the guesthouse, then reconvene to enjoy a delicious dinner at our favorite local restaurant.
We'll take today to relax, enjoy some of Karakol's unique sights, and make final preparations for our trek. After taking advantage of the chance to sleep late, we'll meet for a walking tour of the city ending at the bazaar. Here you'll be able to taste Karakol's culinary claim to fame, Ashlan-fu. You'll have the afternoon free to enjoy one of the many parks in the city or do some shopping. We'll meet again in the evening for dinner.
Today we start our trek to Ala-Kol Lake. We'll head out after breakfast driving through the picturesque Karakol Valley. When we reach the bridge that marks the beginning of the trail, we'll unpack our gear and start up the mountain. We'll set up camp for the evening at the Sirota Hut. The small wooden structure was built by alpinists to provide reprieve from the sudden shifts in weather on the mountain. Now it doesn't provide much shelter, but serves as a interesting photo spot for blogs and Instagram. The surrounding area has a comfortable yurt camp and camp grounds, and is a great place to meet the other people making the hike.
Today's route is rather difficult, straight up and down the side of the mountain, but the awe-inspiring views are well worth the effort. After a picnic lunch on the banks of the stunning Ala-Kol lake, we face the most challenging part of the trek yet, the Ala-Kol Pass. The past rests at just over 3800m. above sea level. The ascent and descent are incredibly steep, but once you reach the top you can see the mountains stretch endlessly across the distant horizon and the flawless turquoise waters of Ala-Kol below sparkling in the sunlight. We'll descend from the pass, through the rock scree, into the Keldike Gorge, where we will set up camp for the evening.
Today we'll make our final descent from the trail in Altyn Arashan Valley. Once there, we'll take the opportunity to relax sore muscles in the natural hot springs that dot the area. After lunch we'll walk out (+/- 2 hours) to meet our driver, who will bring us back to Karakol City. In the guesthouse take advantage of the hot showers and comfortable beds, after your long hike.
We'll have a lazy morning this morning, so you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast and stroll to one of the local coffee shops. Once everyone is ready, we'll transfer to Cholpon-Ata where well spend the soaking in the sun on the beach.
Return to Bishkek. End of Tour