Hiking around Lake Karakul in Xinjiang

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August 3rd 2013
Published: August 3rd 2013
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I am still in Kashgar. I hope to cross into Kyrgyzstan on August 5. I will ride to Sary Tash and then head south to enter Tajikistan through the Pamir Highway. I haven’t met anyone who has done it or is planning on doing it this way. Chinese cyclists stay in China and foreign cyclists all seem to come from the West into China. I expect to be going uphill (up to 4000m again) for a couple of days. I know the view is going to be amazing with lots of 7000-meter high peaks but I expect to suffer physically with the heat and the sharp incline. I should probably also get ready for a bumpy road… Can it be worse that the beautiful but difficult 216 Dirt Road outside Urumuqi? I wanted to cross into Kyrgyzstan (and then Tajikistan 2 days ago) but apparently the border closes on the weekend so I decided to hang out for another 2 days in Kashgar. I will start riding towards the border on Sunday morning and probably find a place to camp at the Chinese checkpoint and cross early on Monday morning. This is the plan.

These last few days have been
on the way to Karakulon the way to Karakulon the way to Karakul

pretty amazing!
nice and relaxing. I went for long lazy walks in the old city of Kashgar. I ate more barbecued meat and pastries. I ate entire melons and lots of grapes. I played chess, read and got to talk to Becky (who just landed in America where she is taking 18 young Chinese kids around the West Coast for summer camp). I’ve met some pretty cool tourists from Australia, Korea and different parts of China and we spend a lot of time chatting on the roof of the guesthouse.

I also joined 3 American teachers who work in Beijing and 2 girls from Guangzhou on a 2-day tour to Lake Karakul and the little town of Tashkurgan, not far at all from Pakistan. The road that took us there was very scenic and we got to admire colorful mountains, deep gorges and majestic snow-capped peaks the entire way. We all stayed together in a yurt by the lake. The villages by the lake are all inhabited by Kyrgyz people (you’ll see the hats they wear) who invite tourists to ride horses or motorbikes. Kevin and Andrew rode horses. David and I decided to hike. It took us more than 6 hours to walk around the lake. We decided to hike up a mountain (that on our pictures simply looks like a hill compared to the snow-capped mountains in the background). The way was very steep and rocky and slippery. With the altitude (above 3000m) we (or I) got out of breath easily but we went all the way. The view from the top was stunning (my favorite English word!)! The water from Lake Karakul is blue, turquoise and the muddy river that runs from the top of the mountains through the grasslands brought brown sediments that mixed with the clear water and created different shades of blue. I thought it was extremely beautiful. It reminded me of some beaches in Australia where the blue colors of the water gets darker according to the depth and the color of the sand. We started hiking in the afternoon and it was hot. We got sunburned but didn’t realize it because of the breeze that followed us to the top. When we got down I jumped into the lake although the water was pretty chilly. We got back to the yurt tired and dehydrated but with great pictures both in our cameras and minds. Beautiful day out and fun company with these 3 lads I hope to see again in Beijing in the future.

I hope you enjoy the pics! Cheers!

Next post should be from Tajikistan in a few days or weeks. Bye for now!

Additional photos below
Photos: 111, Displayed: 24



Lake Karakul, Xinjiang

Lake Karakul, Xinjiang
enjoying the sunenjoying the sun
enjoying the sun

Lake Karakul, Xinjiang

3rd August 2013

Just wow! That looks really amazing, what an adventure! Very beautiful photos, thank you for sharing your experience!
3rd August 2013

Thanks for the nice comment
more coming soon! On Tajikistan!
3rd August 2013
on the road to Karakul

sublime !
et c'est peu de le dire !
3rd August 2013

where is the chute ?
Je veux voir où tu es retombé ?.......................
3rd August 2013
nice view

extraordinaire !
nice view ! yes !
3rd August 2013
blue lake

des pépites...............
on croit voir des pépites d'or sur le lac !
3rd August 2013

plus qu'un !
ton sac à dos fait vraiment corps avec toi !
3rd August 2013
Breakfast in the yurt

bon appétit
hum ! ça sent bon.............
3rd August 2013
A Kyrgyz I met...

I want to met this Kyrgyz.................
3rd August 2013
morning light over Karakul Lake

un rêve..............
tu me fais vraiment rêver................mais je te rassure : je ne monterai pas à 7000 m................
12th August 2013
We're back after almost 7 hours of hiking

Chapeau,....!!!!Car vu le chemin ce n'était pas simple, mais la beauté des lieux valait toutes les peines du monde....
12th August 2013
Good morning!

Très belle photo!!!!
28th October 2013
on the road to Karakul

this picture is just out of this world! i love the photos in this entry

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