Wednesday 9 July 2014

The Road to the Sky, by I Neuss

A quick look at the map shows that there is a road from Naryn, west along the Naryn River, then north up to Song Kol. Looks good, looks easy, and we can continue north around the lake to Lake Yssyk-Kol. We leave Naryn late in the day and drive ‘til it’s late and camp on the banks of the large Naryn River at Ak Tal. We get visited by numerous locals some of whom offer us a drive of their car if they can drive ours. No thanks. They return with a few mates later for more photos and "can we have a drive" again.

It’s a short 125 km to the lake the next day, and a few bends, so we set out early on a beautiful morning. The road passes a few villages and farms and starts to go through a beautiful limestone gorge. The landscape turned from brown to green and pine trees started to appear and the road got steeper and rougher, and rougher, and stonier. Turning the corner at the end of the gorge all was revealed with the 9 switchbacks appearing up the hill.
Not a worry for both cars. A thousand metre climb to the pass and a few tourists coming down, jumping out of their cars to take photos. A few locals all packed up going to the summer pastures with their yurt and the kitchen sink were enjoying the beautiful morning as well. Coffee and lots of photos with local tourists at the top at 3400m and on to find a yurt to stay in.

All uneventful for the two cars.

Ian Neuss


  1. Did you take your bicycles with you? Looks like good exercise up those switchbacks.

  2. No need for bikes for exercise if you have to push the cars up the hill.


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