Seb's Big Adventure
If I'd thought that my time in Kyrgyzstan so far had done anything to harden me, then I was in for a suprise. The coming weeks were set to be the ultimate endurance challenge as I headed from the city of Osh into the Fergana Range of the western Tien Shan Mountains. This would be my home for the next two weeks. The valley to which I was heading is really off the beaten track. It's somewhere you won't find written about in the Lonely Planet, you won't find maps to get there, in essence it doesn't really exist. But ultimately, that's part of the fun. I arrived at the base camp in the evening, the late afternoon sun highlighting the surrounding peaks that loomed hundreds of metres above. The camp is at 2,500 metres, and the temperature had already begun to drop sharply - a shock after spending 3 weeks in Osh, several thousand metres below. The camp is basic. There are no showers or sinks - running water comes in the form of the ice cold stream that runs past the camp. Electricity is restricted for just an hour or two in the evening when a generator is turned on. Perhaps the worst feature of the camp is the toilets - two small sheds situated about 100 metres up the mountainside, the reason for this distance becoming immediately clear on your first visit. Remarkably, the camp has a sauna - and it seems to be the most permanent of all the buildings on site, so it's good to see they've got their priorities right. Despite the somewhat basic existence that I will live here, I'm excited. It seems like a worthwhile challenge given the incredible setting, as you will see from some of my photos.