Archive for June 16, 2008

Forget-Me-Nots But No Wildlife!!!

forget me notsopened poppiesBig Almaty Lake

Yesterday after church, Yelena took us to a Georgian restaurant (ate shashlik and traditional cheese bread) on our way to Big Almaty Lake. Spontaneous decisions for adventures can sometimes be a good thing.  We went high up into the wilderness where I’m convinced the authorities purposely keep the dusty and rocky road rutty and full of pot holes to keep as many cars away as possible. Doesn’t seem to help, half the way up both sides of the road were crowded with people camped out in yurts, playing by the river, barbequing and generally enjoying the great outdoors.  Thus, this route is nicknamed “Barbeque Road.”  

We continued to bump and jolt along for over 45 minutes on many tricky switchbacks to get to a lake that we thought Ken had taken me to 15 years ago when he owned a two door, red Niva.  It wasn’t the same lake, yesterday’s trip seemed to take much longer than when we went to Zailliski Alatau Lake. 


Once at the top to Big Almaty Lake, we walked around the dammed end of the lake and picked wildflowers. (many forget-me-nots, a kind of small yellow poppy, clover, edelweiss and others I can’t identify)


It took about a half hour to get down amongst civilization again and much better paved roads. I learned that the rule of the road in mountain swtichbacks is that vehicles going UP have right of way.  Those going down have to pull over to let oncoming cars pass on narrow straits.  Yelena kept saying “Mama mia” when she had to make tough decisions on which crevice to tackle as our heads kept bobbing around all the while complimenting her expert and impressive maneuverings.  What could we do, we were helpless in our seat-buckled state?!  It was an overcast day and rained just enough to wet down the dusty trail.  The river, lake, mountains and pine trees at every level were spectacular!


Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera to capture all the wonderful mountain scenes so the best I could do was take photos of the flowers I picked once we got home.  Also, I took a photo of what is on our Almaty calendar of the two different lakes.  We hope to get to Zailliski Alatau lake where we were at 15 years ago but I’m sure there are many houses built going up along it now.  It was untouched and very peaceful back then. 


What I found so amazing once we finally got to our destination yesterday was sighting NO animals and thus no road kill.  The only wildlife I saw was one lone eagle gliding overhead. Otherwise, it seems that any kind of varmit that might live in the craggy boulders and rocks are long extinct or very well hidden during the day.  If this were the U.S. in its untouched state, you would have deer bounding about, hedgehogs, skunks, rabbits, something besides just people.  Thankfully there were no barking dogs!


This will be a day LONG remembered with our friend Yelena who bravely took to the mountain road with her trusty four wheel drive vehicle.  Not sure where our next adventure will be with her but I’ll be sure to bring my camera next time.



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