July 25, 2013

Waterfalls at Iskander Kul area

Another beautiful morning on our holiday at the lake Iskander Kul.  We decided to go for a hike after breakfast and visit a waterfall...sometimes called the "Niagara of the Fanns".  The staff at the tourist center was saying that it was not a good place to take kids, but we didn't find out if it was because of the hike or because of the waterfall.  Nevertheless we all wanted to go.  You can always turn back or wait somewhere if the going gets too hard on the little ones, we decided.

The weather was perfect.  
And the views were breathtakingly beautiful. 

Family hike near lake Iskander Kul

Looking back we could see the tourist center by the lake, partly hidden under the big trees.

The tourist center by the emerald green Iskander Kul lake
I civilized myself and found out the names of the three rivers that feed into the Iskander Kul lake: Sarytag, Hozormech and Serima.  There is one river that originates from it,  the Iskander-Darya River, which is seen in this picture below.  I enjoyed watching how the river flows out of the lake much like someone was slowly tilting a giant bowl of milky green water and it just flows and flows out...

...and forms the narrow and feisty Iskander-Darya that we were going to follow today.

The valley was truly beautiful and it was a joy to hike there.  There were no steep climbs; we were following a narrow path close to the river and the children had no difficulties with keeping up with us for the one kilometer hike.

Looking back to the lake:

The valley is rich with flowers and butterflies!  There were so many flapping their pretty colorful wings around us.

Finally we arrived to the falls.  
The river plunges nearly 40 meters down between the steep rock walls that look like they are coming together above it.  
Here is a areal view of the place where we were, the iron platform was strong but not pretty :) 

The platform made it possible to see the falls in a really amazing way, but I could not make myself to walk all the way to the end.  

Others had no difficulties in making use of the platform. 

These are my children whom I carried for nine months in my womb and gave birth to with pain, whom I cherish and if you go and fall down it will be awful so lets just go back to the firm ground and eat some lunch, okay? Children? Come to mommy? 

It was a wonderful mixture of awe and shuddering seeing that fall. 

See the bird flying?  The white little spot? They had homes on the rocky walls right by the waterfall.
I wouldn't be able not sleep there...all that noise! 

We had lunch by the waterfall and then we got back 'home'. 
Where I found out that I had missed some spots with sunscreen.
I don't like sunburn. 

July 21, 2013

Sininen hetki Iskander Kul-järvellä

Olen kirjoittanut matkastamme Iskander Kul-järvelle...mutta englanniksi :) 

Tässä iltahetki järven rannalla, kuu oli taivaalla ja aurinko juuri laskenut.

Tulimme rannalle laitetun iltanuotion ääreen istumaan, lapset saivat kuulla jännittävän kertomuksen Vaahtokarkki-miehestä ja heitellä keppejä isoon nuotioon.  

Rauhaisaa sunnuntai-iltaa!!!

July 15, 2013

Panj Chasma at Iskander Kul

I was wondering if the title of this post made any sense  :)  Panj Chasma means Five Springs and we visited the springs during our trip to Iskander Kul lake.

Sunny morning at Iskander Kul
A helpful tour guide at our camp center called a taxi for us.  He promised to take us to the springs, wait there until we were done and take us back home.  Negotiations took awhile but finally we all piled into a comfortable minibus and took off.  We drove half way around the lake on the dirt road that was right next to lake the whole way to the Panj Chasma (the road is that thin white line a bit above the lake on the right side of the picture).  We admired the lake Iskander Kul in the sunshine and stopped in front of the beautiful, white summer house - a president's dacha.  It was under renovation and the people working there pointed us to the springs.

Panj Chasma with president's dacha in the background
Now here is a confession.  I don't know why, but I have stopped to plan my trips in Central Asia.  Like, I knew we are going to Iskander Kul and wanted to go there.  But I had no Lonely Planet, no maps, no plans.  The tour guide at the tourist center where we stayed was a great resource; he had pictures and maps and knowledge what is around the lake area.  I heard... I didn't even talk with him ;)  

So I had zero expectations when we jumped into that minibus.  It was just fun to go for a drive and see something!  We took lunch and a diaper bag with us so we were all set for few hours.

Panj Chasma is true to its name.  There are five springs that bubble out of a rock forming a crystal clear, ice cold, beautiful spring.


Another spring

Third spring :) 
I have never seen such clear water.  Perfect place to visit on a sunny hot day!

Fourth spring
It was clean enough to drink and there was a huge white enamel mug by the water waiting for thirsty travelers!

Some of us wanted to feel the water by walking in the spring...but it was so cold that after a couple of minutes you had to get out! 
The rock that hides the source of the water was high and tempting for the kids.  The boys climbed it several times and had to be rescued only once each.  See those two blonde heads up there?  They were like mountain goats, we couldn't keep them from climbing! 

Future mountain climbers

We asked the people who worked at the dacha if we could sit and enjoy lunch under the shade of these beautifully carved wooden canopies.  We were able rent one for $5 and they brought us mattresses to sit on and some dishes.  

The setting was very beautiful: a field full of flowers, high mountains all around us and the clear water of the spring that flowed towards lake Iskander Kul next to us.  

We enjoyed a leisurely lunch for couple of hours, watching children play in the water and chatting under the shade.  

We were told to go for a walk next to a river (not sure which river, remember, I had no maps :) and we did.  We followed the rived bed for a while and took pictures of the 
steep mountain wall on the other side.  

But it was actually too hot to be really enjoyable and the kids were getting tired.  
Look at this little cute traveling bug!  

Mom, I'm actually getting a bit tired...

So women and children started a walk back to the Five Springs where our taxi was waiting. The men continued exploring and conquering the world.  

They followed the river, crossed a bridge and who knows where they would have ended up if the women and children and the taxi driver wouldn't have picked them up! 
Somewhere beautiful, I'm sure!