The Last Snow
After weeks of battling the harsh terrain and climate of the Tien Shan mountains, my ski adventure trip has finally come to an end. The snow has finally brought me to a lower land just south of Issykkul lake. They say the last few steps of a journey is always the hardest, as hard as making the first few steps on a very long journey. Its difficult to make the first few steps since most are lack of confidence and worry about what are the challenges in front of them and its difficult to complete the last few steps since most are exhausted, the long road has consumed their physical strength. Same goes to my case, I find it difficult to complete the last few steps since I wasn’t sliding my skis on snow powder anymore, but I had to take off the skis and walked through mud and grass. And the sledge I was pulling always got stucked when I went through long grass.
Being in a long trip… alone in the mountains… sometimes it made me feel like Im living in my own world. When I got back to civilization once in a while, I felt awkward, trying hard to get used to it again. I don’t see people most of the time on my journey in the Tien Shan, so there is no point for me to care about my appearance… and I’m not even aware about what is happening to the world of civilization. There was once, I descended from the mountains to get to villages in search for food and electricity to recharge all the batteries. I went to a guesthouse to sleep under a roof for the night, so the receptionist gave me a form to fill. It was okay at first when I asked her about the date. Then I paused for a while, trying to think what month is it now. I then lower down my voice almost like whispering, bending towards her and asking her which month is it now. She started to smile while giving me the answer… probably guessing I have been too long in the wild.
Then I paused again, this time for a longer time, trying to think which year is it now. My brain was so tired that it couldn’t even process the answer on what year is it now. I paused for too long, long enough for the receptionist to realized something went wrong and she asked me if I need some help. I keep pausing, still not giving up trying to think what year is it now. But after a while, I finally gave up since I look like an ugly statue standing in front of the reception desk. I then asked the receptionist with very low voice, asking what year is it. She laughed so hard until tears came out from her beautiful eyes. It was embarassing… but my brain was tired, so I think its acceptable.
Another embarassing moment happened a few months ago in northern China, also in front of reception desk in a hotel not so far from Erenhot. I just came to a small town after days and days cycling through the vast Gobi desert, battling against the countless sandstorm. When asked for passport, I took the passport out of my handlebar bag and handed it to the receptionist of the hotel. When she opened the first page of the passport, the sand fell on her desk. She started giggling seeing that. She then kept on opening the next page browsing my passport and more sand fell on her desk each time she opened to a new page of the passport. Everybody in the room were giggling looking at that while I tried to keep distance with everyone since I smell like a camel.
But somehow I enjoyed it, even being laughed by the locals. I just love the experience. To me these experiences are priceless. Sometimes, I even laughed at myself while skiing through the mud and grass. I guess other skiers would think I’m insane, no one would do that. I only take off the ski when there are no snow at all in some areas. Sometimes, I fell down really hard when going downhill, since the snow has turned into hard packed ice and the ride is really bumpy. Since Im not a pro skier, I fell down countless times like a chicken on a skateboard. I had small injury on my hand on the last day since I fell down too hard while the sledge was attached to my body. I found it hillarious.
But I enjoyed every single moment… even when I was lying on the ground after the fall, trying to get up while my skis attached. This moment will pass quickly and become history, nothing more than a memory. I appreciate the cold but its leaving slowly. The temperature is steadily increasing day by day, I see the landscape has turned brown from white. The winter has gone… and the spring is finally here to be embraced in the Kyrgyz mountains. I wasn’t struggling anymore at night camping in the cold and it was easy to pitch my tent when the snow is just about 30cm depth. I spent most of my time at night time sitting outside my tent instead, enjoying my time watching the moon and stars. And I enjoyed the last moment everytime I slide the ski on the cold snow under the heat of the sun of the spring season. My skiing adventure has finally ended, another chapter of my life journey has ended. I’m now taking a few weeks of rest before opening a new page of my book of life, before I start discovering the new chapter of my life journey through this world. The adventure has ended but the memory… the memory remains…