Starting from the guesthouse in Karakol, we road to the entry of the valley of which we had read yesterday. There, we wanted to go and rent a horse for a day before continuing towards Kazakhstan.
After leaving the big main road, we at first covered the first kilometers on a dirt track that was in good condition. Beyond that however, the road condition became a lot worse and there were several sections with big boulders and steep downhill parts where Chris rode both bikes one after another. With the perspective of 15 more kilometers on this road we soon decided: “Ok, maybe we don’t have to do our horse trip in this valley, there surely will be other places where we can finde some horses” and turned around. Conveniently, Fabi had already located the Jyrgalan valley the previous evening which sounded like it could be the right place for our undertaking.
Luckily, once we got back to the main road, the road to Jyrgalan was in a better condition, although still muddy, but that’s to be expected when going somewhere remote, right? While we were underway, it started to hail and we took shelter at some old truck weighting scale. We were not the only ones looking for a place to stay: A flock of cows joined us in the dry while at the same time keeping a safety distance and eyballing us cautiously.
Besides being the name of the valley, Jyrgalan is also the name of the only town in said valley. There, tourism is a bigger source of income which can be seen by the number of homestays and hostels as well as the fact that there is a big info-sign on the main road suggesting routes to go hiking. We found the tourism office information which also included a guesthouse. For a change, they in fact offered horseback riding, albeit only in the form of guided tours which would lead to a significant increase in cost.
Based on that we decided to call it a day and stayed at Jyrgalan for the night, without booking a horse tour. This point was delayed to some other date in the future. As it was only early afternoon, we still had plenty of time. While Fabi replenished her energy, Chris went for a walk around the village and explored the abandoned coal mine.