A three day trekking in the Fan Mountain Range was on the program. The plan was to start at the Artuch Base Camp (2,200 meters) from there to hike up to the Kul-i-Kalon Lakes on 2,800 meters and then to walk over the 3,900 meters Alaudin pass to the Alaudin Lake and finally down towards Passrud. So we were really looking forward to a peaceful trekking in the beautiful nature….. but two unexpected things happened:
1) Andy got a food poisoning (most probably it was a Shashlik which caused it…). We had always expected that this was going to happen on this trip – in fact it had been a miracle that it had not happened earlier (because Andy had stomach problems on every two weeks travel we did in comparable countries in the past ;-( ). But the timing this time could not have been worse. He spent the night before the trekking on the toilet 😦 . We didn’t dare to think of the upcoming trekking over the 3,900 meters high pass ….. .
2) Once at the base camp we were surprised to meet the regional Tajik tourism director, a Tajik film crew and a television journalist. They explained to us that they were working on a tourism documentation about trekking in these mountains (i.e. marketing material). They asked us whether it was okay if they accompanied and filmed us …. what to do? We did not really have a choice, did we?!
Consequently, the group consisted of the following members: our guide, a local guide/cook, our shepherd with his two donkeys, the tourism director, a female journalist, two film crew members and another shepherd with two donkeys …. and a sheep (more about the sheep later….).
The trekking in these mountains is beautiful and the tracks are in good shape. However, for Andy the first day was tough. Beatrice and the guides were really worried that he was not going to make it. But Andy’s “mind” was strong and he realized that he could keep the drinking water (which is important to avoid a really dangerous situation). So everybody was really relieved and optimistic for the coming days.
Andy (and everybody else) was very glad to reach the Kul-i-Kalon Lakes. The lakes are beautiful!
After some rest we walked along the different lakes and crossed small rivers to our camping site. Our shepherd also wanted to help and after having deposited the tents and luggage he came back with the two donkeys to transport Andy. Andy liked the ride on a donkey – which became his new friend;-).
Arriving at the camp we learned that they had just killed the sheep for us-as an honor…..
The landscape and scenery is amazing – an eldorado for photographers.
From our camp we saw the 3,900 meters high pass which is in the middle of the two spiky mountains on below picture. But it was not sure at all whether Andy would be able to hike the next day. He couldn’t eat anything at all, he just drank tea and water.
At the camp site we had to give interviews, play trekking scenes, or scenes at the table, …. it was kind of crazy. When we were resting in our tent, the cook and the guide showed up – proudly – with a plate of fried sheep entrails – really the last thing Beatrice wanted to eat. Andy was for once in a better position, he could use his stomach problem-excuse … . But Beatrice didn’t want to hurt the local hospitality and ate some of it.
At the bonfire in the evening our shepherd sang Tajik songs. Then it was our turn and we sang “Es wott es Froueli z’Märit go, z’Märit go”, a Swiss German song that we used to sing with our children. And all was filmed – with a normal film camera but also with a drone camera.
Fortunately, we both slept very well. The next day Andy felt much better and therefore we decided to do the trekking over the pass. The film crew left us here and – finally – it was just us: our very kind guide, our very nice local guide/cook and our very friendly shepherd.
The environment for the trekking was beautiful and – besides the strenuous efforts – we enjoyed it very much!
And we made it – YES – we reached 3,900 meters! We were happy and proud! We could see the Alaudin lakes down in the valley. The closer we got the more beautiful the different kinds of blue colors we could see in the lakes. Fascinating!
On the third day we finished our trekking in this valley. The driver picked us up and drove us out of the beautiful valley.