A day trip to Big Almaty Lake

Опубликовано в Discover Kazakhstan
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In this article I’m going to share my experience of having a day trip to Big Almaty Lake (BAL). Inspired with vivid stories about hiking the charming Almaty mountains, me and a friend of mine Tonya decided to reach the Big Almaty Lake by foot.


We started at 11 am with purchasing some snacks in the French bakery and getting to a bus stop, from which we planned to move forward the mountains. We followed the instruction taken from Internet and soon found out it took us from the right way. It said that we need bus #28 which goes up from Sain street or Al-Farabi and Dulati (Navoi) streets corner. So we reached the bus stop on Sain and Toraygyrov (Frunze) streets and lost a half an hour waiting for the bus. Then decided to catch the bus on Dulati (Navoi) street near the "first President's park", got there and found no people around also waiting for this bus. We began to think that the bus #28 does not exist and even planned picnic on the grass just nearby bus stop because waited for too long. In fact this line bus does exist but it passes only once in an hour! I don't know it is usual situation or not but the bus do pass by really rare.

While we were waiting for the bus we lost one more hour and finally reached the location from where we started our walking tour at 1 pm.

- How can we reach the Big Almaty Lake? - we asked the boy who was selling watermelons beside the road.

- Well, this way, but it’s really far away from here. About five hours walking, - said he laughing and looking at our faces. - You better take a taxi.

We didn't believe the boy. In our hand we had the instruction which said it takes only 2,5 hours to get from the bus stop to the lake. So our long way under the hottest sun started. Energetic and inspired we started walking by the road and trying to find the tube- the main orienteer of BAL.



We walked meter after meter, kilometer after kilometer but there was no tube within the eyeshot. Just locust, cyclists and passing cars.

On our way we met two local women who praised us for a challenge to go till the Lake by foot.

- It’s 20 kilometers up to the mountain. Are you going to stay there for a night? - they were asking us smiling. And we smiled

back and winked to each other: which 20 km they were talking about when the instruction claims there is only 9 km?

However the attitude we had was slowly disappearing. We wanted to eat, sleep and have a rest - nothing else. Twice we had a rest near river and Tonya already suggested to finish our trip and stop torturing ourselves.



But we couldn't give up so easily. Other people were already reaching the point so why we wouldn't? So, meter by meter, kilometer by kilometer we continued out ascension. And there already appeared the mountain's berries, nice and delicious and we even slowed down to enjoy it’s tempting taste.



After some time we finally saw the tube. It was just a few turns away. However when we passed some turns we saw another turns, and another, and we thought they would never end.

- We have already reached the tube! - I was trying to calm down Tonya. But she was pissed off and wanted me to catch a car.

It is noteworthy that we saw no BAL sign or a pointer along the massive road. There are just no such pointers that would inform how much kilometers are left till the BAL. And it doesn't help.

However when we reached the tube we had a feeling that we were nearby the Lake. The passing travelers were teasing us: "yeah, just a little bit and you are there! Blow over this difficult part and afterwards you can walk on the tube!"



And indeed it was the most difficult part of the road when you are climbing up, holding the robe because the road here becoming tough and curly. After all most of the tourists prefer continuing the walk on the tube because it is easier. And then again… the road with turns and no Lake nearby! At this moment my friend almost got out of herself and I was almost ready to start by herself catching cars which were rarely passing by. The watches were showing 6 pm (well, the boy was right eventually!), and we were worried not to be able to turn back from the lake at darkness.

Almost near the Lake we met the group of happy foreigners who asked us how cold they reach Almaty. And here I am talking to them and climbing up and seeing the Lake! It was so surprisingly, when I already wasn't expected to see the Big Almaty Lake I saw it in all its beauty.



My happiness was so expanded and soon we were sitting on the coast of this Lake, and having a picnic. Did you know that this Lake is a strategic object of the government and secured by it? We also didn't know that until the solders came to us with the guns and asked to leave the territory. Apparently the Lake is source of pure water for the city Almaty and enjoying the view of it can be done only from the distance.



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