It being my first full day in Arslanbob (the mad dash there from Bishkek and an evening of delicious food not counting), I had two desires: to hike and to relax in the massive walnut grove Arslanbob is famous for. In one day, I planned to accomplish both of those.
I stopped at the local CBT office for directions before setting out. Luckily, a group of Germans was just a little ways ahead of me, blazing the trail with a GPS and mad Russian language skills. Always one for an easier option, I let them lead.
Our first stop was the ‘Small Waterfall’. Small by comparison only, it is a local holy site just on the outskirts of town.
Just before the falls, I broke off from the group of Germans to relieve myself and have a snack. I enjoyed relaxing for a few minutes by the stream, watching a lone woman tend a field on the hillside.
There were a number of beautiful little flowers in bloom by the stream, vestiges of summer holding on into the early fall.
After my snack, I headed down to the waterfall. A slippery metal staircase descended, luckily the handrail was sturdy. The falls were beautiful. The river flowed along the edge of the cliff before tumbling over, cascading into a pit of slippery, algae-covered stone. After the short hike in the sun, it was nice to stand and be cooled by the spray.
Doubling back to my lunch spot, I continued up the hill and found myself in a small walnut grove. The air stilled and the sound of the river disappeared; all I could hear was the soft rustle of leaves punctuated by the occasional ‘thud’ of a walnut plummeting to the ground.
One family or, rather, one woman gathered walnuts on the hillside while the men watched. A trio of donkeys horsed around in the shade, shying to the side as I walked past. To my left, another family bagged potatoes in a field, the red mesh bags left in the sun as they were filled close to bursting.
I emerged blinking from the grove and caught my first glimpse of the magnificent mountains behind Arslanbob. Awesome.
I continued on to the upper village, winding through a tangle of dirt roads between wattle and daub houses. Straw and alfalfa was stuffed into lofts, clay ovens situated out front for baking flat-bread.
After walking around in the hills above the village and even taking a short nap, I finally found a bigger walnut grove. The dirt road continued on between twisting trunks, the ground was carpeted in green. Here, it was much more common to see people collecting walnuts. Plots of land were sectioned off, a tent on each to accommodate the family harvesting there.
Not only the adults were up in the grove; children were riding, running, and meandering all over the forest too. Whenever I had my camera out, cries of ‘Photo, photo!’ would ring out. I would snap a picture of the kid(s) and show it to them, zooming in so they could see their faces.
With directions from two of the kids above, I made it out of the grove and emerged to a breathtaking panorama of the Arslanbob valley. I could see the entire length, from the distant rolling plains to the town and the mountains beyond.
It was still a long walk back, so by the time I made it home I was exhausted. Still, I’d achieved my goals. Hiking? Check. Relaxing in the walnut grove? Check. Eating a delicious dinner? Well, that was next…
- Hiking to Refugio Frey and Beyond - January 20, 2020
- Christmas Letter 2019 - December 18, 2019
- My Walk Out of the Woods - June 30, 2019
Meagan | LifeOutsideOfTexas.com
What an amazing view! Wow! Kyrgyzstan has never been on my radar, but it’s great to see the place through your eyes. I really loved the waterfall. It must have been so peaceful there.
As always, your photos are incredible! Your day sounds exactly like my perfect day: hiking, eating, and experiencing a few new things and interacting with some locals! What a cool day!
I’m really interested in visiting Russia. Not many people talk about it, but there’s a subtle beauty about it hat I’d like to explore. I love your pictures, especially the one of the two boys smirking on the donkey. So great!
I don’t know about anyone else but these views are really selling me on Kyrgyzstan. Each week I come back and find something equally awesome. That last shot of the green valley between the two mountains really did it for me. Mix it in with these excellent stories and you’ve really got something here, Nathan. Thanks as always for sharing!
What an interesting and quiet looking place. I really like your first photo of the waterfall and the photo of the kids on the donkey. I don’t enjoy hiking so thanks for showing me what I’m potentially missing out on!
That walnut grove looks like it’d be the perfect place for me. I could sit there for hours easily.
Awesome photos of the boys. Glad to hear they liked them too!
A Place Like Me In A Girl Like This
This is lovely! I find the idea of a walnut grove very enchanting. The trees look quite large, I wonder how do they harvest them? Do the nuts fall and then they pick them up or do they reach the walnuts with ladders?
You’ll find out next week! 😉
Nathan, the photo with the boy on a donkey and the mountain as a backdrop is beautiful! Your pics really add flavor to your post. I’m not really a hiker but your photos are creating some serious motivation to get going!
Thanks Nadia! I hope you get the chance to get out and hike a little in Korea, it’s such a beautiful place for hiking 🙂
What a cool place! I loved the donkey pics & the blue flower. : )
Although I laughed a little at first at the name Arslanbob, a walnut grove sounds and looks like an idyllic place to spend a little time! What an incredible waterfall too- you really do seem to find some amazing, peaceful places on your travels. Thank-you for writing as always! 🙂
Thanks Katie! You find some pretty awesome places yourself 😉