Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Budakofka Waterfall, trolls and pixies
Another hiking expedition this Monday, and with the sun bursting the sky, 21 people turned up to sample the delights of the Kazakh countryside. We walked through Budakofka national park which is just outside Almaty town. Drive up Dostyk Avenue towards Medeu and Chimbalak and turn left at the large blue sign which says Budakofka in Russian. Follow this road along until you come to the park gate where you have to pay a small fee to enter the park. Continue up this road until you see a large riding stables on the left hand side (you can tell it is a riding stables as there are horse heads in the pattern of the fences around the development (and often quite a lot of horses around as well! ha ha)), cross the little river and park. The track then heads obviously up the hill.
After a shortish hike up hill, we took a small footpath to the left and then followed it over a small river and started clambering up a load of large, easy-to-climb boulders which are actually a sort of rocky stream bed, all the way up to a pretty waterfall. One of our hike leaders told us that it is absolutely stunning in winter when it is frozen solid. And as an easy hike (it only takes an hour to get up to the waterfall) it is completely suitable for families with kids our age, so watch this space for some snaps in winter. On the way down, with everyone chatting together in little groups which was fun, we passed a load of grazing horses in the photos below. These shots are so typical of time in the hills around here and I still find the landscapes magical. I feel that if only you could climb past the next mountain you would find a land of elves, pixies and trolls!
But it turns out that there are plenty of trolls around these parts, it is just that the trolls around here are the gossips of the expat circuit, who should really know better than to say some of the things they say! Big Beluga can obviously divulge no more, suffice it to say that her eyes have been opened recently to the capacity of some people here to spread absolute nonsense about other people here. Rumours which are based on nothing but their own sick imaginations and, occasionally, even dreams! Amazing! And pretty scary.
Fortunately though, I think that on balance there are enough happy pixies and good fairies around to keep our mountainous kingdom a mostly harmonious one (boo to the trolls...).