Moving From Grass to Grass, Water to Water
The day I left Barskoon was a tricky one. It was challenging, dangerous but adventurous. I couldn’t find a clear path on the big rocky hills around Barskoon towards the west and I had to climb high on one of the big hill. It was nothing more than a trap. The slope down was steep. I had no other choice but to descend the steep rocky hill on the other side to get to a river. In the middle of the descend, I then realized that it was a mistake. My black horse was too afraid to descend the rocky hill… got panic and fell down. I fell down in front of my horse and I fell hard on big rocks. Luckily I was okay. I should have turn back and find a safer path towards the river. My luggage turned upside down on my other horse which means I have to repack everything all over again…. and I was in the middle of the descend on the steep hill.
My tripod fell down from my bag to the ground making a sound that made my horses nervous. Once the tripod hit the ground, it rolls and my horses were running away from it and they fell down even more. It was a really dangerous moment for all of us. I was tired and my whole body was painful from the fall but there were no one there to come to an aid. I have been in many difficult situation and managed to solve all problems before. But sometimes, I just feel exhausted, sometimes I need help from someone. But being a solo travelling nomad, I have learned to be patience, relax my mind and work out on the solution in both world, the seen and the unseen. On the seen world which is the physical world, I do my best to solve the problem. I strive hard no matter how tired and painful my body is. On the unseen world which is the world of my soul, I pray to god, leaving everything for Him to decide after I’ve done my best… it is tawakkal… in Arabic. I took my tripod and climbed back to get to my horses, slowly. I had to work out on the solution to get my horses down. Whether I can descend to the river safely or not is not my concern, that’s up to god to decide. My task is to do the best I could…
I went to my horses to calm them down. Horses are like dogs, they’re clever and they can somehow read our mind. I have learned to communicate with horses from my horsemaster, Almaz from Jolkolot village in Karakol. I then realized his words, my horses will get panic if I’m panic. He taught me if I cross a big river or steep mountainside, I have to be brave. If I’m panic, they will sense it and they will get panic too. I guess now I have learned the hard way. It took me ½ hour to repack everything again on the steep hill before I finally got back on my horse and completed the descend. I didn’t go far on that day. Once I hit the river I called it a day. I pitched my tent near the river and put my horses on good grass for the night.
I continued my journey early the next day once the sun showed up. It was extremely hot and windy. Once in a while I looked up in the sky, looking for clouds to cover the direct sun… but I saw none. I then kept my head down and kept going. I turned south away from the lake of Issykkul, towards the snow mountains… towards the Tosor pass, which is almost 4000m high. Towards the snow mountains, the grass is good. Travelling on horses is totally different than travelling on a bicycle or a ski. I cant think only about myself, but I have to think about the horses as well. By the end of the day I have to make sure that I end up somewhere with good source of water and green grass. My horses need to eat and rest well before a long day of walking, climbing and descending.
While I was going slowly towards the Tosor pass, my horses got nervous. I then realized there was a Kyrgyz horseman gallopping towards me. He was wearing a highcut boot, thick pants and leather jacket… showing that he came from a cold place, probably from the mountainside. He was wearing a white hat to cover his head, suggesting me that hes probably a devout Muslim. He greeted me in Kyrgyz… and since my Kyrgyz is so poor I had to greet him in Russian. He told me that he lives very near the Tosor pass and invited me to pitch my tent near his home, where the good grass are. Once again I tasted the hospitality of the Kyrgyz people from the countryside. He helped me taking care of my horses and invited me to his home to serve me the only food he has, butter, bread, tea and jam. He has no job and it looks like he doesn’t need one. He lives with his animal in a small house but the land area is big… enough to house his cows and horses. He lives without electricity… only candle to lit the house at night. After he fed me and let my horses to eat the fresh grass in his area, he helped me repack the next morning and showed me
I kept riding west and began to cross the dry tundra areas in the lower Tien Shan mountain range. It was way too hot and very windy… reminds me of my crossing of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia a year ago. For almost the whole day I was crossing into red earth and sand. Both my horses and me were exhausted. No rivers or stream for me to get water for drinking and no grass for my horses to eat while Im taking a rest. It was difficult riding through big canyons and rocky hills. Sometimes I had to turn back and find other ways as it was really steep to descend from one hill to another. This kind of terrain is foreign for my horses. There were no sign of human anywhere. I was completely alone and it was very quiet. I had to calm my horses down a few times since they were always nervous crossing big rocks. I only felt relieved once I saw green grass from afar… where I knew where I will pitch my tent by the end of the day and put my horses to eat. Right after I reached the grassland, the rain started pouring in. Looking at the sky estimating the weather forecast, its good to know that it gonna be cloudy for the next few days…