An unexpected trip to the lakes

An unexpected trip to the lakes

It’s Sunday. I wanna have an easy day after having hiked the previous day. I go out and think of seeing the few sights in Almaty.

I chat with Altynbek, a local who I have been in touch with through couchsurfing. I ask him what his plan for the day is. He says he is meeting his guests at the Independence monument at 1pm. I can meet them, hear some ideas and decide if I wanna join.

My new friend Altynbek

I come to the meeting point and start talking to two girls who seem to be foreigners. They are Altynbek’s guests. Their names are Kat and Nicky. Altynbek comes with a friend whose name is Chingiz and they immediately suggest going on a two day trip to Kolsay lakes. Taken by surprise I takes me a while to say yes. But I do. I just need to pack a few things and agree with my host Ascar.

In a few hours I am sitting in a car with four strangers, a rented sleeping bag and ready to go camping. I can’t reach my host so I leave him a message on whatsapp. ‘I’ve left my stuff at your place and will be back in two days. Hope it’s ok.’

Kaindy Lake
One of my 365 daily selfies
Kaindy Lake

Kolsay lakes are near the village of Saty located 270 km from Almaty. Guys say we will be there in three hours so maybe at 10 pm. Seeing our pace throughout the day (we met at 1 and left after 6) I joke we will reach by midnight.

And that’s what actually happens. The last 60 km are unpaved and we are driving super slow. The road is potholed and there are sharp curves. We want to make it to the lake Kaindy and camp there.

Me at Kaindy Lake
Kaindy Lake

There is a turn off just before we reach the village. But it’s pitch black outside and the road is so bad that we decide to stop and camp right where we are. In the middle of nowhere. So we put up tents and are done at about 1 am. We finally go to sleep. It’s a pretty cold night. Before dawn it’s so cold that I put on my jacket and try to sleep a bit more.

When we finally get up we are amazed at how beautiful scenery is surrounding us. We have breakfast and start hiking to Lake Kaindy.

We reach the lake at about noon. It’s a beautiful lake with dead trees sort of growing in it. It’s surreal. I love it here.

A party of five
A party of five and a funny guy riding a horse
Hiking down

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