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Sadly, it was time to leave the gorgeous yurts and wonderful people we’d called home for the past few days and again make our way southwest across the countryside. In the morning I took a final hike around the area to soak up the last of the scenery before boarding the truck for our journey over the pass.







The road out of the lake was worse than the road into it, and we were warned it could get hairy, though it was passable. We had to take short breaks to get out of the truck while our driver, Dan, navigated it through streams and over washouts. None of us minded much as it was a good excuse to walk for a bit in the sun and scenery.







We made a stop to try and aquire some fresh bread for dinner at a small collection of yurts along the road. We sent Farhad ahead to bargain and he returned to the truck excited. He’d found not just bread, but “really really good” Kumis. He asked who wanted to return to the yurts with him to sample some. I volunteered. Kumis is sort of the national drink of Kyrgyzstan , it’s fermented mare’s milk. Yes, milk from a horse, fermented in the body cavity of a dead goat till it’s slightly fizzy and lightly alcoholic. The locals drink it daily and tout its healing qualities, swearing it staves off infections and keeps the gastronomic tract and respiratory systems functioning well. I was keen to sample some, though slightly wary of how it was going to taste.

We were invited in to a cool dinning tent where we were each presented with a deep bowl filled to the rim. We said thanks and dove in. I’m not going to lie, it was borderline drinkable and I’m a fairly adventurous eater. The flavor was sour, like vinegar or old cider, with a hint of smoky flavor like gouda cheese. And it was carbonated. I politely finished my bowl and again said thank you, feeling I’d done my duty as a good guest and adventurous traveler for the day.








We made our way over the pass and down the other side of the mountains, stopping near a small mining operation for a picnic lunch. I entertained myself and my fellow travelers by machete-ing a large log for the next night’s firewood, always happy to find a good reason to work up a sweat, though I think my technique could use some refinement.







We made camp that night just off the road along a raging glacier-fed stream. By now we were accustomed to our tents and the cook gear and were running like a well-oiled machine




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