I was so excited, that I woke up before my alarm clock was supposed to do so, got dressed, stepped over the Tajik family that was sleeping on the floor, and put on my shoes. The sun was still behind the horizon when I walked west, towards Yashil Kul. Quite soon, a dog from the village started to follow me, and I could see the village wake up. Smoke started to come out chimneys, some people were coming outside, and behind it all, the sun now sneaked over the mountain ridges in a distance. Despite the calm weather and the clear skies, I felt very cold, and when I saw beautiful ice formations on the small rivers I crossed, I understood. It was cold! But walking up at this altitude made me warm soon, and with the dog still following me, I reached the small mountain pass giving access to Yashil Kul. I was elated - the view was superb! After having driven around the wild Pamirs with their barren mountains, snow, and small rivers, seeing such a magnificent lake was like seeing an oasis after crossing a desert for days.
With tranquil waters despite its size, snow-capped mountains further towards the west, an empty beach ahead of me, and a coastline that was zigzagging on the left hand (southern) side, the view was fantastic. Before continuing, I stood there to soak in the great view. But I could not resist the call of the water, and walked down - not following the road anymore, but taking a direct line towards the beach. My dog followed obediently and with an infectious enthusiasm, and when I reached the beach and realized that this could well be the only beach I would see for the rest of my overland trip through Central Asia, I took off my clothes, and ran into the calm and transparent waters of the lake. Oh yes, it was very cold - in fact, it was freezing. But I felt one with nature, the impressive landscape surrounding me left me no choice but to immerse myself in the irresistible waters of Yashil Kul.
The dog had been patiently waiting, guarding my stuff, when I got out after my short dip, probably thinking I was crazy, and since the around freezing temperatures were now getting hold of me, I started running up and down the beach to get warm and dry. The dog went wild with me, and we must have been quite a sight. But there was no one to see it - instead, I dressed, and walked up to the main road where our driver picked me up, leaving the surprised dog behind. He found his way back to Bulunkul without a problem. We wanted to see the other side of the lake, too, and drove around Lake Bulunkul to reach the northern shore. After some more spectacular viewpoints over the eastern parts of Yashil Kul, according to the driver Alichul river was too deep to cross, and instead, we parked and went for a walk along the Alichur river bank. Here, we came across a big herd of yaks, who did not seem very afraid of us, and sheep, and we had a good time walking here as well, even though not seeing the northern side was a pity. Next, we returned to Bulunkul and drove along the southern shore, which offered some more spectacular views of this oddly shaped lake. Next, we were off, to drive further east into the Pamir region.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Yashil Kul (Tajikistan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Yashil Kul. Read more about this site.