bikepacking kyrgyzstan

Favourite Journal Entries Bikepacking Through Kyrgyzstan (IN WINTER)

These are a collection of some of my favourite journal entries from my 2 months Bikepacking through Kyrgyzstan.

It’s been 2 years since my last bikepacking adventure in South America, a trip that completely changed the way I travel.

I decided to really challenge myself and travel to Kyrgyzstan in winter to climb over mountains with my bicycle. I’m overweight, unprepared and alone.

When I arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, I bought everything I needed to do the trip including  bags to mount to the bike and the bike itself. It was a Giant Talon 3 29er, not your typical bikepacking bike. But having the right gear wasn’t as important as actually doing something that challenged me.

It’s been 3 days since I left Bishkek and am starting to make my way to the top of Kegety Pass.

Day 4 - 16/9

After a restless sleep battling the cold, I opened my tent door to find out why it was so cold. It had been snowing and the tent and bike were covered.
 
Waiting for the sun to come out, I didn’t leave camp until 10.30 am.

I slowly walked the bike uphill through the snow for most of the day until 3pm when I stopped for lunch.
 
It seemed to be that as soon as I stopped, it became freezing and I felt like a blizzard was coming.
 
I decided to set up camp where I was only a few kms from the top.
 
The blizzard cleared in 30mins but after my mad panic to set up camp in the snow, I was freezing and didn’t want to pack up all my stuff again which would have taken at least an hour.
 
Instead I would relax and wait until morning.
 
Now having time to look over the route I realised I wouldn’t reach a town for another few days and with only 3 meals left I was going to have to start rationing.
 
To make things worse, I still had to climb over this pass and a second one before reaching town.
 
It turned out to be another very cold night in the tent and when i awoke the next morning, I couldn’t see a trail at all as it was covered in snow.
Bikepacking Kyrgyzstan

Day 5 - 17/9

I awoke this morning without an alarm as I’m trying to save the battery in my phone. The cold weather has killed the batteries in my laptop, power bank and phones.
 
It was still snowing and the tent was covered in snow once again.
 
After making a coffee I proceeded to pack up my things in the snow and get moving. It was 9.15 am by the time I started moving.
 
I knew it was going to be a long morning as I couldn’t see anything but snow. No dirt or grass just snow.
 
As I walked shin-deep through the snow I kept wondering if I was going to make it to the top.
 
I had to get the bike another 5km to the top through this snow and then down the other side.
 
As the path got more narrow, I wondered if I should really be doing this given that the shepherds aren’t even coming over on horse…and no one knows where I am. If I got in any trouble I would freeze to death before I got any help. Would I be found a week later frozen to death?
 
Nevertheless I continued. 
 
Finally, I made it within reach of the top and the snow now was knee-deep.Step by step, I dragged my bike through the fresh meter deep powder.
 
At last, I made it! I can’t believe it!!!
 
That was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
 
I didn’t stay long at the top because it was cold and I wanted to try and make some progress today given that I only had 1 and a half meals left and the next town wasn’t for over 150km.
 
As I was climbing over the other side, I heard dogs barking. However, I didn’t see any herds of animals. Could they be wolves?
 
Coming down on the other side proved to be more difficult than climbing up. There were no trails and just a skinny mountain edge that I was hugging.
 
To make matters worse I kept slipping every few steps, almost falling down vertically off the edge.
 
Navigating my way through the snow became easier as I got lower and I wasn’t on a mountain edge.
 
That being said, the snow got deeper than my belly button in sections, which probably meant i wasn’t on the trail.
 
After a grueling 7 hours, I’d made it to a dirt road that I could ride on.
 
For lunch, I rewarded myself with 2 spoons of peanut butter. My first food for the day.
 
I rode downhill for 10km which was the most satisfying downhill of my life. I’d walked up the mountain for 2 and a half days, and within 30mins I was already Down the other side.
 
I continued towards the next pass and once again started walking my bike towards the snow-covered mountains.
 
The Karakol valley I walked through was beautiful with green grass and herds of animals everywhere.
 
The Shepard kept asking me for cigarettes, alcohol and drugs on all separate occasions
 
…I must have looked high and beaten after crossing the mountain pass.
 
A few minutes later I was stopped by a truck full of locals.
 
The driver looked at me and started slurring his words and pouring me a double shot of vodka.
 
As his golden teeth sparkled in the first sunlight I’d seen in days, I wasn’t sure if he was to be trusted and if I’d wake up without a kidney.
 
Not understanding anything anyone was saying (due to language barrier and slurred words), I didn’t want to be rude or offend them, I skulled the shot, said goodbye and continued walking.
 
After 13km of walking uphill in the afternoon and what was a 10 hour day, I set up camp on the side of the road only a few kms from the next pass at 3440m.
I was completely destroyed. I think that was the hardest day of my life.
 
Looking forward to more snow tomorrow 
 
Time to eat my last full meal for dinner.

Day 6 - 18/9

Although there wasn’t any snow on the tent this morning, it was probably the coldest and most sleepless night yet.

I’m sure it was a combination of lack of food and water as well as being cold and exhausted from all of the walking  I’ve been doing.

I left camp at 9am and started making my way up the pass. The paths were a lot more friendly and while they were very muddy because of all the melting snow,  I was just glad not to have a repeat of the yesterday.

The top of the pass presented a challenge of quite a bit of snow for a few km, but it wasn’t anywhere near as hard as the previous day.

Eventually, I started riding the bike and I had a 90km downhill/flat section before reaching food.

The only thing on my mind was chicken and chips.

The roads were muddy and rocky and progress was slower than expected.

I’m camping in a swamp and kind of worried about crocodiles. There are trails of what look like a big animal sliding into the water.

I should have checked if there were any crocodiles in Kyrgyzstan before starting this trip.

80km ridden/walked for the day.

It’s been 6 days since civilisation and a shower.

I fell 14km short of the town. I only have 50g left of plain pasta and no other food. Im completely exhausted.

Day 7 - 19/9

Happy to wake up and not have been attacked by a crocodile, I packed up everything quickly without making a coffee. It was the first morning it wasn’t absolutely freezing, which made things easier.
 
Knowing that there was food only 14km away, I sped off along the dirt road through a valley.
 
As I made a left out of the valley, I looked back and was both proud and disappointed. I had just climbed two mountains, but I’d forgotten to stop to take a look around and enjoy the calm valley and countryside.
 
So worried about food and electricity, I’d forgot to take in the beauty and enjoy the last day and a half.
 
I continued along washboard gravel for most of the morning before finally reaching a small town of about 25 houses. There was one small shop, where I bought and ate 4 snickers and a Pepsi.
 
That’s really all they had.
 
While it wasn’t chicken and chips or a burger, I was so happy to have finally found some food.
 
But I didn’t rest long because I wanted to still get to a town that had electricity so i could charge my phone, drone and power bank.
 
As I continued riding, I reminded myself to stop and take a look around. I surely was in such an untouched beautiful country.
 
Before lunchtime, I’d arrived in a small village with a guesthouse. There wasn’t much in the village except a small shop.
 
Rather than spending 2 nights there, I opted to continue and get as close to the big town as I could. Even if I had to camp, I knew that the next night I would have arrived in town and be able to relax for a couple of days.
 
To my surprise, within another 15km, I’d arrived on a highway. I was planning on walking the 20km to the big town because it was uphill and my legs were exhausted.
 
But with tarmac, it was easy to ride. The first asphalt road since day 1. Feeling like I was in the tour de France, I powered into the main town within a couple of hours. In 2 hours Id done 20km. The same distance took 3 days over the mountains.
 
While in town I met one man who approached me and started talking English. He is the first person to speak English since leaving Bishkek.
 
He was telling me how the winter has come early this year, and many farmers lost a lot of their crops because they didn’t have time to harvest them in time. And because it’s so cold, the wolves have been coming down from high in the mountains and attacking the sheep. It has been such a big problem for them it’s all over the news and YouTube.
 
I guess that’s why I saw all of those dead animal carcasses.
 
I will have to watch out for wolves in the future.
 
The town has around 100 houses and a place to charge everything. Getting my bike and all my gear ready for my next section of the journey. 

Day 11 - 23/9

After hearing footsteps outside my tent in the middle of the night I fell into a dream where someone opened my tent and grabbed me. Lucky it was only a dream…The woods can be scary at night.
 
However when I awoke I found out what the footsteps were, there was a dog lying next to my bicycle.
 
Although scared at first, he was true fly and happy to get a pat.
 
It turns out one of his back legs was mangled and facing the same way as his tail.
 
Unfortunately I didn’t have any cooked food to give him besides a capsicum that he didn’t want. And the poor dog was skinny.
 
After crossing the river to return to the main road I turned around and the dog was sitting with a sad face looking at me.
 
As I climbed back up to the main road I saw the poor dog trying to cross thw river and follow me but was unable to. I hope he’s okay.
 
I rode downhill for about 20ekm until a reached a small town that served coffee and salad and veggies and meat for lunch. It was really nice.
 
Now in the higher temperatures the scenary was becoming more like a desert and 30degrees.
 
The riding after lunch was on nice tarmac and did 22km in an hour or so. Then it became slightly uphill for then last 24km and took 2-3 hours to make it to the town of baetov.
 
It’s good to see that I’m able to ride now and my body feels a lot more capable and strong at the task.
 
Town is small but has hot shower electricity and small shops

27.9.19 (day 15)

After spending 3 days and 4 nights in Baetov waiting for my border permit, it didn’t arrive. Communication with the lady was difficult and when I found the only person in town who had a printer after a gruelling 2-day search, the file was damaged and unable to be printed.
 
Alas, I didn’t have a permit and would have to change my route. I couldn’t have spent another unproductive day in that town with nothing to do and no one to talk to.
 
I woke up around 8 am, had my complimentary breakfast and packed up my bike. At 9.30 am and with 10 days of food and 9 litres of water, I was off.
 
The ride out of town was bumpy and painfully slow as the bike was heavy, as was my backpack, and the road was washboard gravel.
 
Nevertheless, with my persistence, I was finally out of town and heading towards the mountains…
 
And by 11.30 and 15km later, I was ready to walk my bike into the mountains. I was kind of relieved because it was hot and riding the bike was getting tiring and difficult with all the weight.
 
I started my ascent which I knew would be a 1500m climb to 3400m. My aim was to make it to the top today but it was 18km to the top. With a heavy bike and steep roads, I wasn’t sure if I’d make it.
 
Funnily enough, I love walking the bike slowly uphill and taking in the scenery.
 
As I climbed higher I could see where I had ridden through earlier today, a barren desert with nothing but sand and dust. But where I was headed was full of pine trees and looked like a forest.
 
As the day slowly progressed, at 3.30 pm I thought I’d reached the top. I came over a pass only to see another enormous mountain I would have to climb over in order to continue and make it to the top. 
 
It turned out I was only halfway and still had 8km to go.
 
I started feeling the pain in my legs and had to stop every 50m or so on the steep bits because my legs wouldn’t allow it.
 
As I continued and made it to the top of different passes, I kept thinking I must be at the top, only to get there and see I still had more to climb.
 
This happened 5 or 6 times.
 
On the plus side, the higher I went, the more wild yaks there were.
 
Having brought 9 litres of water, I thought I would have enough for 2-3 days. And I was going to need it. But all the dust, sun and dry air made me extremely thirsty and I drank 7 litres over the course of the day.
 
I hope I can find somewhere to fill the bottles in the morning.
 
Finally, at 6.30 pm I reached the top. Which was good because it was really winding and getting dark.
 
I road downhill for 1-2km until I found a patch of grass protected from the wind.
 
As it got dark, I cooked potato, onion, capsicum, tomato and cheese for dinner which was delicious.
 
Around 9 pm as I was sitting in the tent I started hearing grunting outside my tent. I thought it couldn’t be someone because I’m in the middle of nowhere and only saw 2 cars the whole day.
 
The gruntings got louder and closer. I lay dead silent.
 
Then more grunting was happening from multiple locations. I can only assume it’s the yaks. I hope they don’t smell my potatoes and want some.
 
After about 15mins the grunting stopped and the yaks must have moved along.
 
Happy to lie down and recuperate after a long day walking uphill.

28.9.19 (Day 16)

After staying up until 12 listening to podcasts, I thought I would wake up late. But I was awoken by the sun at around 8 am.
 
While making a coffee I realised that a pasta sauce had spilt all in one of my bags and was leaking in the tent.
 
Not a great start to the day.
 
I was, however, able to ride downhill for an hour or so in the morning which was so much fun. It’s just funny how it takes a full day to walk uphill and within an hour your already having to go back uphill again.
 
With determination to ride and not walk, I put in a bit of effort to ride the small inclines. But I was obviously putting too much strain on myself because about 2 minutes after I started trying to ride uphill, I pooed my pants.
 
Luckily I’d just filled up all my water in the river and could give my undies a rince. But I was to continue from here without undies for the rest of the day and wearing only my shorts.
 
I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as trying to bike uphill, so I started walking. It was obviously a sign.
 
After an hour or 2 of pleasant walking in the sun, the weather suddenly changed and it started snowing.
 
Wet and miserable, I continued slowly for the next 2 hours until the sun came out again.
 
Finally, at around 3 pm I made it to the top again at 3400m and was ready to ride downhill.
 
It was probably the longest downhill I’ve had since the first pass I went over on day 5.
 
I cruised downhill for what seemed like forever and made it to the Chinese highway.
 
The highway was some of the nicest paved roads I’d ever seen. I can’t believe I get to ride on this for the next 200km.
 
Oh no, that’s right. I didn’t get my permit and remembered I had to take the alternate route.
 
As I looked in the direction of the alternate route, I was lost for words.
 
Rather than turning right and following the paved highway around the mountain, my only option is to go straight over the mountain. Climb to 4000m from 2800m and have roads that are washboard gravel the whole way
 
I could have turned left and followed the highway to Naryn, which is the next town I’m going to. I would be there in 1-2 days but not see the lake and remote countryside. But if I wanted to see the lake, it was going to take me an extra 8 DAYS!
 
Remembering that I came to do this trip for a reason, I summoned the courage and made my way straight towards the mountain.
 
I was stopped and invited to come for lunch in a shipping container which was someone’s house on the edge of the highway.
 
I got a coke and onion and egg for 3$. I could make better food than that, but it was still nice.
 
Was I stopped on the edge of the highway as a sign to continue straight to Naryn, only time will tell.
 
The walk away from the highway was tough as it was washboard gravel and I couldn’t even ride it flat. 
 
I can still turn back…But I won’t.
 
As I continued, I suddenly came into one of the most beautiful valleys I’ve ever seen.
 
Huge mountains right in your face either side and a river and grassland that attracts hundreds of wild yaks. There were herds of sheep and some horses and just so surreal I can’t even put it into words.
 
I even saw a white tail fox.
 
But now I had to find somewhere to camp. With the sun quickly vanishing I started looking for somewhere to camp that could escape the wind.
 
In the end, at around 6 pm, I crossed the river with my bike and camped next to the jagged mountains.
 
I won’t get the morning sun, but I hope I can escape the wind. It’s a very peaceful camp.
 
Hope the tigers won the grand final.

30.9.19 (Day 18)

Seeing drops of rain on my tent, I was in no rush to wake up early. I fell back asleep a few times when it was light after a restless sleep as my air mat kept sliding down the slope to the corner of the tent throughout the night.
 
When I finally woke up, I noticed there was snow on the tent and surrounding it. As I opened the tent door, I saw it was snowing heavily.
 
It was funny because there was no snow in sight even on the top of the mountain when I went to bed the night before.
 
Being that the path was narrow, especially with a bike, I decided to wait in the tent for the snow to stop. I was ready to spend the whole day in the tent but at 11.30 am it stopped snowing and the sun came out.
 
By 12.30 pm the bike was packed and ready to go.
 
I slowly moved along the narrow horse trails on the side of the mountain. Because the snow had started melting, it was very muddy and I kept slipping over and almost losing my footing.
 
I cautiously continued until I’d made it to the foot of the pass.
 
In front of my glared a 4000m high pass covered in snow that I would have to climb over with a bike.
 
To make matters worse, I couldn’t see any trail, not even a horse trail. That wasn’t because of the snow, but because it didn’t exist.
 
I don’t know why my maps said there were 3 options of trails to go over this pass. None existed.
 
Nevertheless, I continued, slowly but surely.
 
For the next 3-4 hours, I would scale this rocky pass. It honestly felt like rock climbing. I was almost climbing vertically on the slippery rocks for hours.
 
Trying to get the bike up with me was insane. I would try to walk switchbacks to make it easier but because I was having to lift the bike with all my gear, I was only making it a few steps at a time.
 
The never-ending ascent continued and the wind picked up. I tried going on a faint trail across the mountain but had to turn back after 5 metres because it was way too slippery and steep.
 
I opted to stay near the rocks as they provided better footing than the dirt and stones, due to their size and they were less likely to slip…Although they did frequently.
 
I really can’t express to you how steep this mountain was.
 
Eventually, I realised the easiest way for me to go up the mountain was backwards. I would take 1 step backwards, lean forward and lift the bike towards me.
 
I would do this for 2 steps and then take a break. Have a breathe and continue. This went on for an hour but I realised I was actually climbing the mountain a lot quicker than I had been previously.
 
If the weather was to change, I really would be stuck up here. As I was climbing I was always looking for little places slightly protected if I would have to return due to a blizzard.
 
I was considering going back down but it seemed so steep and would be near impossible without losing my footing and tumbling down the mountain.
 
Eventually, I made it to the top. It was honestly harder than the first pass I did physically. I wouldn’t even have wanted to do that without a bike.
 
I only had to climb this mountain because that silly girl didn’t send me my permit on time.
 
As soon as I got over the other side of the mountain it started snowing heavily. With the mist and snow, it was hard to see but luckily there was a horse trail on this side and I could follow it.
 
I’m really glad I was able to get on the other side of the mountain before the wind and snow started.
 
It snowed pretty much the whole way down the mountain. After 1 or 2 hours id made it to the lake. It was sunny and the lake was clear blue with birds chirping away.
 
I tried to get the drone out but the weather changed again and it started snowing heavily with the wind. I walked to somewhere next to a slight hill at around 6 pm hoping to be protected from the snow so I could set up my tent.
 
It snowed the whole time I was setting up the tent with heavy winds blowing the snow head-on.
 
As soon as I set up the tent the snow stopped and so did the wind and everything went calm.
 
Typical.
 
The tent is cold tonight as I’m still at 3500m as is the lake.
 
Don’t have much water so I had dry 2-minute noodles and chocolate for dinner.

1.10.19 (Day 19)

Waited for the sun to come out and was on my way by 10.30 am. I looked for the trail as specified by   maps.me    but it didn’t exist.
 
Instead, I spent the morning walking 18km to the road that I was meant to take if I had my permit. As soon as I got on the road at 2.45 pm, I was able to ride the bike.
 
My aim was to get to the small village that   maps.me    said was there but it didn’t exist when I got there…Maybe I should stop trusting maps.me.
 
I rode along the Chinese border, separated by a barbed-wire fence and watchtowers. Was anyone going to stop me and ask to see my permit? I had skipped the check post and I doubt anyone was in the watchtowers that were every km or so.
 
I rode for about 40km in only a couple of hours.
 
I fell off/crashed the bike while riding and was too afraid to move immediately, in case I found out something was broken. I took a deep breath and moved to find out that nothing was broken.
 
Phew!
 
I felt so small riding along this wide-open landscape in the middle of nowhere.
 
At around 5.30 pm there was a storm approaching so I set up camp on the side of the road.
 
20mins after I set up my tent, there was a storm. The wind was blowing so hard that everything in the tent got covered in a 2cm layer of dust. Including myself and all my food and sleeping gear.
 
I watched “Shaft” on Netflix and cooked pasta for dinner.
 
Camped at 3300m

2.10.19 (Day 20)

What a crazy day it’s been!
 
After yet another cold night with snow, I waited for the sun to come out and warm the tent before moving. 
 
Looking over the beautiful valley that I’d just ridden through was something special.
 
I was in the middle of nowhere and had this beautiful landscape all to myself.
 
By the time I was ready to move it was 10.30 am.
 
For the first time in days, I was able to start the day by riding the bike. Although it was gravel and rocky, my legs had built up some momentum and was finally able to ride on gravel roads.
 
I’d been told that there were plenty of abandoned towns along the road as it was the old trade route (silk road) with China. But they’d built new roads and thus many of the small 10 house towns had been abandoned.
 
Upon seeing my first one, I decided to ride over and have a look. To my surprise, there were about 6-8 dogs still there that were barking at me. 
 
I wonder what they were eating?
 
The houses definitely looked like they’d been abandoned with broken glass, missing tiles and broken wood, the houses were barely standing.
 
To my complete surprise, a woman had heard all of the dogs barking and had come out of one of the houses.
 
How was she living here? There was no car or horses and we were away from civilisation by 100km in every direction.
 
A little frightened by the old woman, I decided to move on.
 
Actually being able to ride the bike, I’d ridden 50km before lunchtime.
 
That’s when everything became interesting…
 
As I was riding, I noticed a slab of concrete in the distance, in the middle of nowhere. Curiously, I decided to go over and have a look.
 
It turned out to be a bunker. Much like off the level on Goldeneye “Dam” where there are people shooting snipers and machine guns at you.
 
There were still sniper mounts, mounted to the cubby hole.
 
Could I have stumbled across an old soviet bunker? I mean the road I was riding along was called “old soviet road”.
 
Amazed that there was this old bunker in the middle of nowhere, I moved on.
 
Within another km or 2, I noticed some more concrete, so I went over to have a look.
 
I couldn’t believe it. I’d stumbled across a km long trench with about 30-40 old bunkers. It reminded me of the season of Black Adder when they spent the season living in their bunker in the trenches.
 
It was surreal and to think how far away from everything it was.
 
It was so hidden that I think 99 out of 100 people that drove past, would not have seen it.
 
There definitely weren’t any signs or anything.
 
In any other country, I’m sure it would have been a huge tourist attraction but here in Kyrgystan, it was just left behind and forgotten, only to be buried.
 
With the snow heavily falling as I was exploring the trenches, I thought that this must have been what it was like when people were posted here and living in the small bunkers.
 
It would have been a very cold winter!
 
An hour after I left the trenches, and as the weather continued to worsen, I was stopped by the first car I’d seen in 4 days.
 
It was 4 local guys who couldn’t believe I was riding my bike in the middle of nowhere as it was snowing.
 
They offered me warm chai tea, fresh bread and vodka.
 
One of the men was asking me if I’d had any contact with “pee-ratsa” while riding this far south.
 
He then moved his arms to signal someone shooting a gun.
 
“Pirates?” I asked
 
“Yes” he replied
 
Wow, I had no idea there were pirates around who could potentially hold me up at gunpoint and steal all my stuff.
 
I better be careful and on the lookout.
 
After about 15 minutes of broken conversation, and 4 shots of vodka later, I decided I better push on.
 
I bid my new friends goodbye with a warm stomach and newfound motivation.
 
An hour or so later of riding in the snow, I came to another abandoned village.
 
With all of the bunkers around and this abandoned town with hundreds of thousands of dollars of machinery just sitting there rusting away, it felt like I was in Chernobyl or something similar.
 
Not too far around the corner, I noticed a series of bunkers, a watchtower and an abandoned building.
 
Jackpot.
 
I’m going to have to check this out and climb up the tower.
 
As I made my way to the bunkers through the broken barbed wire fence, I noticed some men.
 
They were approaching.
 
And one of them had a gun.
 
As the man with the gun pointed at me with his faded military uniform, I wondered if these were the pirates my new friends had tried to warn me about.
 
Had they taken over this abandoned military post?
 
What were they going to do to me?
 
I mean I had just tried to go through the broken barbed wire fence into their bunker.
 
As the man in uniform with the gun led me around the corner, I noticed another man painting what seemed to be a flag onto a water tank.
 
“Sh** they are pirates,” I thought.
 
I was eventually led to a boom gate and checkpost.
 
“PASSPORT,” he said, being the only English word he knew.
 
I handed over my passport and the man started speaking to me in Kyrgyz or Russian.
 
I had no idea what he was saying. I thought maybe he was asking for my border permit so I opened up the picture of it that I had on my phone and gave it to him.
 
He then marched through the steel gates and into one of the buildings.
 
I was told to wait.
 
Next to me there was an angry German Shepard chained up that wouldn’t stop barking.
 
As he frantically ran around his chain trying to break it off, I sat in the heavy snowfall awaiting my fate.
 
Maybe it was the vodka starting to kick in, but I started to panic.
 
Why has he left for so long and why is he making me sit in the snow.
 
Immediately, I thought he must be looking through my photos and videos on my phone. I’d given him my phone open on the photos to show my border permit.
 
Had he watched my videos climbing over the mountain to avoid the border checkpoint?
 
Had he seen me go into all of the bunkers and trenches?
 
Did he think I was a spy?
 
Should I just make a run for it?
 
He may have my passport and phone but why else would he make me wait for 45 minutes in the freezing snow.
 
Not liking my odds outrunning the German Shepard and knowing there wasn’t an Australian embassy in Kygrystan, I decided to wait.
 
After 45 minutes he returned, said something I didn’t understand and opened the boom gate to let me through.
 
I quickly rode away in the heavy snowfall. It was so heavy I could barely see, but I just wanted to get away as soon as I could.
 
Stopping a km or 2 further to fill up my water, I noticed no one was coming after me and I was safe.
 
I stopped to set up camp on the side of the road about an hour later.
 
What an eventful day.
 
I was able to ride the majority of the day for the first time and came over 75kms. Camped at 3300m.

3.10.19 (Day 21)

After a very sleepless night, probably one of the coldest nights yet, I packed up my bike and was on my way by 10.30 am.
 
I knew that I only had 5km to the top of the mountain and then I would be riding downhill or flat for most of the day.
 
I had to do another 75km today if I wanted to make it to the town of Naryn where I could get rest for a few days, restock and hopefully print my permit.
 
As it were I’d managed to get to the top within 45mins or so with a combination of walking and riding.
 
As I reached the top, I was stopped by a passing truck. 4 men jumped out to greet me.
 
They were on their way more south to fill up their truck full of 300 water bottles in some of the purest water in the world. They were going to where the expensive bottled water get it’s water from and to stock up on enough water to last them the winter. 
 
As I bid them farewell, I began my descent into the much warmer and sunny countryside.
 
Most of the morning was an easyish ride on the dirt roads in comparison to what I’d previously been rising through.
 
As I made it to a small town at lunchtime, I passed through as there were no shops I could see.
 
On the other side of town, I was stopped again by a group of men standing at the boot of their car and drinking vodka.
 
For once I was actually able to get away without having to drink any vodka. But I was given chocolate, mineral water, 2 apples and some roast beef that was still on the bone,  in a plastic bag from the boot of their car.
 
It was very chewy and took about 10mins to swallow before I could finally leave.
 
Not sure if I want to eat cooked meat in the back of a car boot again.
 
I then proceeded to walk for a few kms as my legs were quite tired and the bike didn’t seem to be going as fast as it was in the morning…I’m sure due to being tired.
 
I’d already come 45km but still had another 30km before Naryn.
 
It was 3 pm and I had 4 hours till dark so I wasn’t worried about time.
 
As I came through the final country road and approached the main paved highway, I was stopped again by 2 more locals. They looked a lot more dodgy and less friendly than everyone else who’s wanted to stop and talk to me.
 
They kept asking me how much I paid for the bike. Then one of the men kept asking if he could have my tent and then started insisting a bit more.
 
I quickly said bye and left not wanting to get robbed of my bike and all my gear.
 
As I was climbing up the final hill before reaching the highway I saw 3 big camels run past. They were double jumped and huge. One of them wasn’t scared of me at all and was eyeing me off as I walked past.
 
I reached the highway and it was pretty much downhill on paved roads for 20km until Naryn.
 
I found a hostel on Agoda and came here. I’m the only one here. It’s not as big a city as I thought it would be but perfect for what I need.
 
I’m halfway now through Kyrgyzstan and have 3 weeks left.

8.10.19 (Day 27)

I woke up to a herd of 200 sheep walking past my tent. After a quick coffee I started packing up.
 
All my gear was still wet from all the rain yesterday and the cold wind was making everything twice as cold. I really didn’t want to make my way into the cold mountains while cold.
 
As soon as I started moving the sun came out and the wind stopped. I spent the morning riding and walking through a beautiful valley.
 
It was really nice and I wanted to capture it with the drone so at lunch time I got the drone out and started flying it.
 
Within a minute of having it in the air I crashed it into some trees over the river.
 
The compass wasn’t working and thus I didn’t know where it was but I had a vague idea of where I crashed it.
 
I scaled down the rocks to the river and after 2 hours of searching, I found it nestled under a tree, between some rocks and covered in dirt.
 
One of the propellers was broken and when I tried to fly it again, the controller wasn’t recognising the drone. Oh well, at least I found it. No more drone shots for the rest of the trip though.
 
I continued through the valley and eventually passed some Shepard that said it’s winter and too cold to pass any mountains. I agree with them. I’m still 1200m in altitude from the top and 100km and there is already snow at my level.
 
I’m thinking that I won’t be able to make it over the pass due to the snow. However there are a few different passes that might be possible so I’m going to keep going.
 
It’s a slow incline over the next 2 days so if at the end of tomorrow I can tell I won’t be able to pass, I will make the 3 day journey back to town. If I’m not sure I will continue for 1 more day, which will mean 4 days back to town and 8 days total.
 
Either way the scenery is beautiful so if I have to turn back it’s not the end of the world.
 
I set up camp between some trees next to the river at 6pm and had potato, onion, capsicum and pasta for dinner.

9.10.19 (Day 28)

Woke up this morning to snowfall. I took one look out of my tent and knew there was no way I’d be able to go over the pass to the lake.
 
I started heading back towards Naryn, crossed a river and looked at my maps.
 
Because I really wasn’t happy about going back to Naryn I looked to see if there were any other ways. Turns out there was a 3-4 Day detour  to a town that is closer to the lake than Naryn and still goes through the mountains, so I decided to turn back, cross the river again and head further into the mountains towards Kochkar.
 
It was a climb up through a beautiful valley as the snow started melting. A Shepard stopped me and told me it was impossible to climb the pass and that it was a good idea to head to Kochkar.
 
Throughout the whole day the weather was changing from sunny to windy and snowy to rainy back to sunny. I had to keep changing what i was wearing every 20 minutes or so.
 
While disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to make it over the pass, I’m still going through the mountains and having to pass through another pass at 3400m, but its more of a road and cars are still driving through it.
 
The mountains are absolutely beautiful. I made the right decision not to turn back to Naryn.
 
I was stopped by another Shepard at lunch time and asked to come in and have chai tea and lunch. I was surprised how nice their house was given they were literally in the middle of nowhere.
 
I had fresh goats cheese with bread and warm chai tea. It’s amazing how you can have a whole conversation with someone for more than an hour without either of you speaking a word of the other language.
 
By the end he was telling me he’s coming to Australia to work in 2021 and that he will call me. I told him he will need to learn English and get a visa.
 
The day continued much the same as the rest of the day. I was defeated by the weather and exhausted by the end of the day and basically collapsed into my tent.
 
Cooked potato onion and spaghetti for dinner.
 
Camping at 3000m. I should reach the pass tomorrow which is 20km away.

17.10.19 (Day 36)

Rest day in Karakol. I’ve managed to repair the 2 punctures in my bike tubes, wash my clothes, stock up my food collection and download netflix videos.
 
Looking forward to the last leg of my journey.
 
450km through a canyon and the wilderness of Kazakstan. It should take around 10 days.
 
The border is closing at the end of the month due to snow so it’s lucky that I’m able to pass just in time.

19.10.19 (Day 38)

Although I didn’t sleep very high, it was a very cold night. As each day passes, the nights become a lot colder. I had to put on most of my clothes halfway through the night as I was too cold to sleep. I guess the winter really is here.
 
After waiting for the sun to warm me up and dry my tent, I was packed up and ready to go by 10.30 am.
 
It was a 30km ride to the border along a dirt road, going slightly uphill the whole morning. Im definitely improvjng my riding and didnt have to walk all morning. It was beautiful riding through an open valley with a pine tree forest covered in snow kn the roght and open fields on the left. 
 
At 12ish id made it to the border crossing. It was a small border with only 2 building. One for Kyrgyzstan and one for Kazakhstan. I didn’t have to wait because I was the only one there.
 
Straight away the Kyrgyzstan guard told me to get my phone out and open the photos. He saw that I was taking videos leading up to the border and made me delete them.
 
I was then guided to the passport control window. I showed my passport and was trying to communicate with google translate.
 
There was something wrong and the woman was getting out a magnifying glass to try and find the stamp of me entering the country. The only stamp she could find showed that I came in through somewhere called Manas. Apparently it’s somewhere more than 200km away from Bishkek where I actually flew into.
 
Luckily I’d kept my plane ticket into Kyrgyzstan for this reason. I showed them the ticket and they continued a discussion.
 
They got on the phone to 2 different people trying to sort it out. I assume they were calling someone with a computer to check that I went through customs when I arrived.
 
Finally, they started asking me everywhere I’ve been in Kyrgyzstan. I’m not sure if this was because they were interested in what I’d done riding the bike or whether they were suspicious of me.
 
Maybe they were just bored because no one was crossing the border and they had nothing to do.
 
Finally, after 30 minutes I was let through to the Kazakhstan side. The man was in a different military uniform and seemed a lot more friendly. 
 
He told me to fill out the customs form, then get my picture taken and passport stamped.
 
I then had to get searched by a German Shepard. I hope the dog hadn’t been talking to the other German Shepard at the border checkpoint a couple of weeks ago because that one was angry and wanted to rip his chain off and kill me.
 
I leaned my bike against the gate, opened some of the bags and the dog came over. Straight away the dog put his nose under my shirt and started sniffing me. Then to my pockets and then to my hands. The dog wasn’t too interested in sniffing my bags at all, in fact after it put its nose up my belly button, it just started licking me everywhere.
 
Could he smell his buddy from the border checkpoint?
 
Or was it because I hadn’t washed myself since cooking my food last night in the tent…I guess we”ll never know.
 
The custom army guy wasn’t too pleased that the dog was having fun, so he continued to pat me down and go through some of my bags himself. He asked if I had any drugs or guns, to which I didnt.
 
Finally, after 45-60mins I’d made it over the border into Kazakhstan. 
 
Straight away I got a different vibe from Kyrgyzstan. Mainly because everything was covered in snow. We were only at around 2000m but everything was covered in snow…even parts of the road. 
 
They were planning on closing the border in only a few days because of the weather and I can see why.
 
After a rough 10km riding on the slushy mud and snowy roads, I’d reached a freshly laid tarmac road.
 
Riding on it felt like I was Neo from the matrix when he just found out he was “the one” and was fighting Mr Smith on autopilot.
 
I powered 20km into town within 45mins or so. It was the easiest riding I’ve ever done.
 
I stopped to get some Kazakhstan money from the atm and to get some water for the night.
 
I continued another 10km uphill which was my goal for the day. I made it to the top around 4 pm and then started downhill and looking for somewhere to camp.
 
I ventured off the highway onto some land that I thought looked good for camping but was yelled at by a Shepard. Maybe the Shepards aren’t as nice here.
 
I then made my way back to the highway road another 2km and found a nice camp hidden by some hills and out of sight from the road. There were 2 cows down here but no Shepard came to get them.
 
I cooked dinner outside the tent for the first time on this whole trip. It was cold but my tent didn’t have anywhere to put the stove because the ground was uneven.
 
It’s starting to get dark at 6.30 pm now instead of 7 pm.
 
Rode 71km for the day. Looking forward to reaching Charyn canyon tomorrow.

20.10.19 (Day 39)

I was awoken early by the sounds of footsteps outside my tent. I was tired and drifting in and out of sleep as this was happening.
 
Next, I heard whistling followed by shouting. I opened the tent door to see a Shepard sitting on his majestic fury horse as the sun rose behind him. He looked like Zoro.
 
Unlike the Shepard the night before, this one was very friendly and couldn’t believe I was camping there along his normal route collecting his cows. I mean I was 250m from the main road behind two hills and up a ridge…all covered in spiky plants to the road.
 
I had seen his cows last night and pointed him in the right direction.
 
I could have gotten up because it actually wasn’t too cold, but I was still tired so decided to go back to sleep until the sun on my tent woke me up.
 
Sure enough, some time passed as I was sleeping and the sun beamed down on my tent forcing me into action.
 
I slowly packed everything up as I sipped on my coffee. I like the relaxed nature of how I’ve been getting up on this trip. Normally I would wake up around 9 am, slowly get ready whilst drinking a coffee and have my bike packed up and ready to go by 10.30 am. In south America, I was forcing myself to get up between 6-6.30am after nights of -20 degrees Celsius because it was so windy after 12pm that I needed to start so early. I would be moving by 7.30 am every day.
 
It was downhill for the first 20km into an open valley that was extremely dry. Just before starting an uphill section of 10km, I stopped at a Carpark and had my first views of Charyn canyon. It surely was beautiful and I couldn’t wait to get to the main part by lunchtime.
 
There was a Kazakhstan family there who were obsessed with me. Taking a video of me for about 15minutes as they chatted to me translated by one lady who spoke English. They were very friendly giving me lots of bread and apples from Almaty which apparently translates to “land of the Apple”.
 
I was talking to them for so long that by the time I had a chance to look at the time, it was 2 pm. I wanted to be at the canyon by lunchtime and I was still 24km away of which 10km was all uphill.
 
I basically had to push my way out away from these people so I could continue towards the canyon.
 
An hour or 2 of walking uphill and I’d made it to the top. I was really struggling to ride the bike the whole day if it wasn’t directly downhill. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was tired or because the tires were flat or another reason. It was only 3.30 pm so I knew I had plenty of time to do the last 14km and enter the canyon.
 
Making my way into the canyon I realised why it was so hard to ride. My back tire wasn’t turning straight and instead on an angle…ie it was very wobbly.
 
I turned my bike over, breaking the camera tripod that I forgot was attached to my handlebars and took off the back tire. I really had no idea why it was wobbling because it wasn’t affecting the disk brake or chain.
 
I finally realised that one of the spokes had broken and was causing the back tire to not balance evenly.
 
The only thing I know about spokes is that they affect the whole wheel and need to be balanced evenly. Ie if one is out of alignment you need to take them all out and balance them all out. At least that’s what I think.
 
Still 250km from Almaty and my closest bet to a bike shop, I’m just going to have to continue riding on a busted back wheel. I don’t know how bad it really affects the wheel riding with a broken spoke but it definitely doesn’t look good and doesn’t ride well. It makes it twice as hard to ride the same distance.
 
I’m just waiting for the time when I’m flying downhill at 60km per hour and the wheel falls off and flips me off the bike. We will see.
 
In terms of damaging the wheel, I think worst case I will have to buy a new back wheel because I will damage it and bend it from riding with it out of alignment. Would probably cost $150 to replace.
 
So I continued into the Charyn canyon, paid the $3 Entrance fee and rode into the canyon.
 
My first impressions were WOW. This is so beautiful. It really was like nothing I’ve seen before.
 
Jagged edges of rock dropping vertically down 300m to the bottom. I made my way along the top with my bike looking down. It’s crazy they didn’t have any type of fence or safety barrier or chain to stop people falling over. The drops down to the bottom were seriously high.
 
That’s one thing I love about these developing countries that aren’t huge tourist attractions yet. Everything is much less regulated and raw.
 
I saw people walking down the bottom and noticed there was a river there. I only had 1 litre of water left and I knew I needed to make it down to the bottom to find somewhere to camp.
 
I continued along the top to eventually come to a dead-end at the top of the canyon. While the views were spectacular, there was no way I was getting down the bottom this way unless I wanted to jump down 300m with my bike and hope the bike breaks my fall…doubtful.
 
Looking at the time it was 5.30pm and the sun was still white high. Yesterday the sun went down and it was dark by 6.30pm but today the sun was still high at 5.30pm. It must be daylight savings and that’s why it looked like I was talking to those people for hours until 2pm.
 
I walked my bike back up along the narrow canyon edges In the hot sun wishing I didn’t walk it all the way to the end.
 
It turned out that the way to get down was all the way at the beginning 3km from where I was. Eventually I made it to a staircase and I just picked up my bike and ran down. People were looking at me very strangely. I didn’t care, I just wanted to sit down for the day and stop.
 
Once down the staircase it was a beautiful 4km ride through the bottom of the canyon. Something I’ll never forget.
 
At the end of the canyon there was a river and some bungalows and yurts (big tents).
 
I was allowed to pitch my tent around the corner for free as part of the $3 entrance fee I paid earlier.
 
While the canyon goes off in different directions, I’m not sure if it’s possible to go down the different canyons because there is nowhere to walk. Nevertheless I’m going to go exploring in the morning.
 
I cooked ramen and veggies for dinner and watched the “Our Planet” David Attenborough documentary series on Netflix. It really just makes me think how all of our problems don’t actually matter in the end if we don’t stop and all do something to help the environment. Maybe that is my calling. We will see.
 
Rode 52km for the day. The sun didn’t go down till 8pm.

22.10.19 (Day 41)

It proved to be a good place to camp last night as I was protected by the wind. Not having got the cooker out the night before, I decided to skip my morning coffee and make my way to the lake straight away.
 
The wind was absent today meaning the 14km ride to the lake was easy. Once I got there I stopped and cooked some 2-minute noodles and coffee for lunch. It was then time to start my walk into the mountains.
 
The sun was out and there was no wind so I was walking in a t-shirt for most of the afternoon for the first time since my first week on the bike leaving Bishkek.
 
The road was full of big rocks and stones and I didn’t even attempt to ride uphill with my back tire making everything 3 times as hard.
 
I walked 14km to the top of the mountain where I was greeted by a pack of wild horses near the top. Being quite dumb, the horses kept running away from me in the direction that I was going and ended up walking 5km in the direction I was going.
 
I’ve been noticing many empty bullet shells along the trail. Not sure what they’re for but it’s good to know that the first thing people always ask when they see me is “you’re travelling alone?”
 
At the very top, it was an open highland with many herds of cows and sheep. There were two Shepards who came up to me asking for drugs and alcohol.
 
“You’re travelling alone?”
 
I don’t know why everyone assumes I have drugs and alcohol. They must all think I have to be high and crazy to be riding/walking/camping through the mountains in these cold conditions.
 
When I told them I didn’t have any, I half expected them to pull out their guns and rob me. I don’t know what the people in Kazakhstan are like.
 
I continued along the top for a few kms until it was time to go downhill. It was a very steep and bumpy downhill and with my wonky back tire, I took it slow. The scenery down through the mountains was very nice. It was only a short 7km as I have to continue another 40 odd kms uphill tomorrow.
 
I’m camped in a beautiful little spot amongst the Trees as the colourful leaves fall next to the river. It looks like a painting.
 
On the other side are rock formations similar to those from Charyn canyon.
 
I came 42km for the day. Food is becoming scarce and I can’t seem to ration my chocolate. I just ate the last 2 bars and now only have noodles and pasta for the next 4 days.

23.10.19 (Day 42)

Not sure what time I woke up but it seemed like it had been light outside for a while. It was so cold though that I don’t know what time it was. I didn’t turn my phone on all morning to avoid using the battery…it was on its last charge and my power bank was dead.
 
I started the 8km steep uphill straight away. The rocks were huge and the hills were steep and it was really hard to push the bike up.
 
Men passed in a truck. A few hours later I’d caught up to them and saw them killing and de-feathering a bird.
 
Maybe that’s why there were so many empty bullet shells.
 
After finally making it to the top of the 8km stretch of steep hills, I came down to the river. I looked for many places to cross without having to take my shoes off, but it was so strong and deep that it was inevitable that they would have to come off.
 
As I crossed, the water came above my knees, almost knocking me over. I then had to go back to get my shoes and camera, and then cross back again…ie 3 times crossing the river.
 
It’s safe to say that it was absolutely freezing, much like you would expect melted snow rushing between your toes.
 
I would have to cross that river about 9 or 10 times for the rest of the day as the road kept zigzagging across it. I slowly progressed through the highlands.
 
Between stepping in mud and losing my shoe, which I then had to retrieve, and trying to ride across the river and not making, falling in and getting my shoes, socks and pants absolutely soaked, I’d had enough of the rivers.
 
Another truck passed with the man in the passenger seat clutching his rifle and nodding his head as they passed.
 
I continued to walk the bike with snow on either side of me and my waterproof shoes holding all of the ice cold water in my shoes.
 
Id given up on riding after my shoes were soaked.
 
I walked another few kilomteres until 5.15pm when I was only 2km from the top. But it was getting really cold and I just wanted to set up my tent. I ventured into a small cravace that would be protected by the wind and set up camp.
 
I cooked pasta for dinner as the temperatures started to drop. It was going to be a cold night…if only I knew how cold.
 
As the sun dissapeared completely and there was no light outside by 7pm, the temperature kept plummeting. It had gotten to the point that the water bottles in my tent had already completely frozen and turned to rock ice…no water for me until tomorrow I guess.
 
By 8.30pm the ice had started to form on the inside of my tent…I’d never seen this happen before. I didn’t really understand why it was so cold as I was only at 2650m and I’d camped at 3700m only a couple of weeks ago and it wasn’t this cold.
 
By 9.30pm the inside of the tent was completely frozen. The outside of my sleeping bag was soaked from all the ice and I’d completely mummied myself into the sleeping bag only leaving less than a millimetre of space for air to get in.
 
I heard the woolves howling nearby but I wasn’t worried about them. I knew it would be too cold for them to come and get me. Maybe they were just complaining about how cold it was. I felt like howling back to say “I agree, it’s freezing”.
 
As the night progressed, I’m not sure what time it was but it felt like hours. Time was passing so slowly. I couldn’t change positions in the sleeping bag because if I did, I would get wet and cold and it would take 15minutes to get to the same level of warmness again…which was still freezing. I was getting bed sores from lying in the same position for too long.
 
The night wore on, and I knew I wasn’t going to get any sleep. This felt twice as cold as the -20degrees celcius nights I had in the tent in Bolivia. I had no choice but to grab every item of fabric that I had and shove it down my sleeping bag. I was too cold.
 
That helped a little but it kept getting colder and colder. In the end, I opened my backpack and grabbed my notebook and ripped out all of the pages so I could shove them down my sleeping bag for a little more warmth.
 
I must stress that each of these decisions took hours of contemplating as each time I had to open my sleeping bag to grab something, I let all of the warm air out that I’d accumulated. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
 
I started thinking about what Mum was saying and that I should learn the signs of hyperthermia. Whoops, I forgot to ask Tom about that.
 
As I caught myself dosing off, I wasn’t sure if I was slipping into hyperthermia or if I was actually going to sleep. The new plan is to wait until light, then sleep all morning.
 
Was I already asleep?
 
Had I just been sleepwalking outside naked and rolling around in the snow? 
 
Is that why I’m so cold?
 
It surely can’t be this cold inside the tent.
 
Alas, that did not happen.
 
37km for the day.

24.10.19 (Day 43)

Darkness.
 
Am I dead? 
 
Did I freeze to death? I pinched myself just to check.
 
Thank god, I’m alive.
 
But why is everything so black?
 
Have I been buried alive?
 
Did I freeze and people found me and thought I was dead and bury me?
 
Oh my god, I can barely breathe.
 
But I’m awake and alive.
 
Why was I thinking of the movie “the vanishing” where the guy is buried alive as I was falling asleep last night.
 
Eventually, after waking up in a mad worry, I realised that I was cocooned in my sleeping bag. 
 
As I open the millimetre hole in the sleeping bag, I see light. I can’t believe I’ve survived the night! It’s over!
 
I fell back to sleep still cocooned in my sleeping bag as it was still freezing, but not as cold as last night.
 
I’m not sure how long I fell asleep for but when I woke up the next time, I could feel the sun glaring on the tent as it warmed up. The first thing I did was get everything out of the sleeping bag that I’d shoved in there in the dark. It was basically everything I owned.
 
Next, I got out of the tent to brush my teeth and go to the toilet because I was unable to last night due to the temperature.
 
As I got out of my tent, a van passed (I only saw 2 vehicles the whole day yesterday) and stopped to say hello.
 
I was given a full baguette that was stale and two small glasses of chai tea. What a perfect way to start the morning…espeiclally since I’d run out of food.
 
They thought I was so crazy they couldn’t believe it. I must have looked so shocked as I was still cold and still waking up. I asked them the time and it was almost 10 am.
 
They were going down to the river I fell into yesterday to go fishing. They said that if they see me on the way back, they’ll cook me a freshly caught fish for lunch…at least that’s what I understood.
 
I asked them what that big object was in the distance and they said its the conservatory/observatory from 1965 of the USSR. I’m not sure if it was abandoned or not, but I just wanted to get away from the snow so I didn’t take the 5km walk detour in each direction to check it out. I later saw a car driving up there so I assume it was still being used.
 
I went back to my tent to pack up and make a coffee and pack up my bike. I didn’t leave until 11ish.
 
It only took less than 20mins to walk the final 2km to the peak.
 
I stopped to put on my big jacket and gloves with fingers as it’s cold riding downhill. I then did my first poo in 3 days. The bread and coffee must have helped.
 
It was very steep and bumpy riding downhill so progress was slow. In the back of my mind, I’m waiting for my back wheel to collapse and I go flying off. But the wheel seems to be holding up alright.
 
As I go down further, I come into this beautiful snow covered forest. The snow hasn’t melted because the trees are too high to let the sun in.
 
As I come flying around the corner, the road becomes extremely icey and my bike skids all over the place and I fall off onto the hard ice.
 
Ouch!
 
My wrist and the side of my body (on my bed sores) started aching. I knew nothing was broken, but it was a big fall and hurt (my wrist is still sore).
 
I elected to walk through the snow and the ice until I was out of the forest. I saw another huge 4×4 putting on snow chains on his wheels. After about an hour, I was out of the snow and forest and onto a road. Everything was becoming more developed and I started seeing cabins and park benches on the side of the river. The road even became paved.
 
I was in tourist country now.
 
I howled down the paved road until eventually reaching a main road and only 10km to a town where I would stay in a hotel for the night.
 
I was out of the mountains and I wouldn’t be going back.
 
In saying that, it makes me both happy and sad. Happy because last night was the coldest night of my life, but sad because the mountains and the remote wilderness is what has made this trip the most adventurous trip of my life.
 
I only have 52km until I reach my final destination of Almaty tomorrow.
 
The roads are going to be busy with no space for me but I’m going to try and enjoy my last day on the bike.
 
I stayed in a “hotel” that had no electricity or water. I paid $20 for the night…at least it’s not cold.
 
56km for the day.

25.10.19 (Day 44 - The final Day)

I expected today to be much like the last stage of the tour de france. They already know the winner and it’s just a formality and smooth easy ride into Paris on the last day, in my case Almaty.
 
In fact, that is almost exactly what happened. I woke up at 8 am and was ready to go by 9 am. I thought that because I would be riding along the busy roads, and my rear wheel was barely attached to my bike, that it would take a while to ride the 52km to Almaty.
 
Well, nothing could have been further from the truth. I was actually able to ride the 52km in less than 2 and a half hours. Must be some kind of record for me on this trip.
 
The start of the day started slightly downhill, which allowed me to ride quickly for the first hour. I looked at my GPS and I was already halfway. 
 
There was nothing very eventful that happened the whole day.
 
My not so triumphant beginning to the bike trip leaving bishkek with a flat tyre was similar to my not so triumphant entrance into Almaty. My back wheel was barely holding together, my toes looked like they had frostbite and my hair was one big dreadlock…but I’d made it.
 
I came to the hostel before midday and decided to pitch my tent there. It would be a few dollars cheaper than a dorm room. 
 
Can’t believe the trip is over. 
 
I need to go on more trips like this. My desire for adventure is getting stronger and stronger.
 
I already miss the mountains.
 
I can’t wait another 2 years before I do something adventurous again.
lewi blake

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2 thoughts on “Favourite Journal Entries Bikepacking Through Kyrgyzstan (IN WINTER)”

  1. Hey Lewi …I found you on you tube and have enjoyed your adventures in Kyrgyzstan… I drove through there in 2006 and promised to return…after 14 years traveling I live in Myanmar and bikepacking is my preferred way of travel now…At 56 I’m not so young and must return to kyg soon…can I ask about your route and maps….where did you get your information from ? It’s never easy solo travel but very rewarding….you have a very strong mind I truly admire that…if you can find time to reply that would be grand…oh please checkout northern Pakistan it’s so beautiful and really wild the people are wonderful….

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