Jeti-Oguz Weekend

Another fun weekend adventure! This time we were headed to Jeti-Oguz (means ‘7 bulls’) for a little trip organized by our friend AJ and his organization, Eco-Trek. They had asked us to help them with a couple things including documenting the accommodations and a couple hikes with photos and GPS tracks. We were helping them put together some packages to give to their clients to offer a better product. In exchange, they put us up in their yurt camp and arranged for the transport out there.

We head out from Balykchy and stopped by Cholpon Ata to watch some of the World Nomad Games. It was pretty fun and really an impressive event for Kyrgyzstan, a couple dozen countries were there participating including the US with 5 PCVs forming a Kokuz Torgol team (a strategy game similar to mancala.) We weren’t there long and some other PCVs wrote about it more, you can read Shaun or Anna’s blogs to here more about the event. Also, here is a short video showing the opening ceremonies.

Our yurt for the weekend
Our yurt for the weekend

After the horse games we went to Karakol and stayed with AJ. The next morning we walked with him to his office and his director drove us up to his yurt camp in Jeti-Oguz. We didn’t really have an idea of what to expect as things here tend to be a little (a lot really) less consistent than we’re used to at home but this just lends to the adventure. The drive became very beautiful as we headed up towards the mountains, passing the small village of Jeti-Oguz before the road cut through a scenic, narrow river gorge. As the road opened up into a large valley we saw many other yurt camps, this is a very popular destination for both local and foreign tourists. Arriving at the yurt camp, we were given a brief tour of our very nice yurt (with the best looking bed I’ve seen in a yurt yet and power!) as well as the toilet (not an outhouse) and shower… yep, this would do. We unpacked our bags and took a look at my map to figure out where to head. The GPS showed a waterfall nearby so we followed the road that direction. After a bit of confusion we found the correct cow path that represented the trail we were supposed to follow. Heading up the fill the cow path turned into a real trail and we began passing Russian tourists and Kyrgyz people picking juniper (the branches do all kinds of magic but you can’t have a juniper tree on your property as it will sap the life from your family.

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Weekend at Jailoo with AVEP

Last weekend, my secondary organization, AVEP, invited Taylor and I out to the other side of the oblast to attend the grand opening of a greenhouse and to spend the weekend at jailoo with them.  The greenhouse grand opening seemed to go very well.  The Minister of Education was there and he and Makcat (AVEP Director) were both interviewed by a local TV channel (affectionately known by the volunteers as the ‘yurt’ channel due to the yurt logo in the corner.)

Makcat being interviewed by a Kyrgyz TV station
Makcat being interviewed by a Kyrgyz TV station

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Jailoo & Yurts: Our first overnighter in KG

One of the biggest reasons we are excited to be in Kyrgyzstan is to experience the beautiful nature all around us.  During the first part of PST we had a chance to go for a short hike (LINK) but that turned out to be more walking in a field then getting into the mountains.  As we’re now in phase 2 of PST and have a bit of freedom we were able to get out for a weekend so we headed towards the jailoo (Жайлоо, a high mountain pasture where Kyrgyz families take their animals in summer) above Grigorievka along with Jake, Molly, Mira & Shawn.  Shawn & Mira have been here for over a year now and were able to arrange for a taxi from the main road up the rough valley road where we expected to find yurts we could stay in.

 

After getting dropped off by the taxi, we head up the valley
After getting dropped off by the taxi, we head up the valley

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