After a couple of days rest at Song Kul, it was time to get back in the saddle and leave this chilly, windy plateau. Return to the valley where the sun shines and summer still smiles.

Sarala at Sunset
Sarala at Sunset

The ride over and down the Chil-Bel Pass was steep. We had company. Many families were moving back to their villages for the winter and occasionally a truck fully loaded with disassembled yurts rattled past. And shepherds and small boys on horseback herded cattle and sheep and horses down the narrow tracks, kicking up the dust into clouds.

Back in the valley it was hot and hazy. Back in the valley I found a shop. Ah, a lovely river-cooled beer for that day’s sundowner!

Rather than the ‘main’ road, we took to the hills once more. One more pass. Sarala didn’t think much of it though. He was tired by now. Needed more rest.

Smile
Smile

But once we returned to flat, riding across fields and between crops, over ditches and winding through the bushes lining the rivers that split and merged and  flooded one piece of land and dried up somewhere else.

After a couple more days we arrived in Kochkor. The next day was market day and it was time to say goodbye.

My life felt rather empty once Sarala walked out of my life as quickly as he leapt in, so I took the bus the same day to Bishkek, which had enough distractions to fill the space a little.

So, I hope Sarala’s new owner treats him well. He won’t be forgotten by this one.

And here are the photos:

If you missed the previous posts from the horse-riding, here are the photos from Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.