I’m usually pretty up to date with posts pending of course available wifi but this one has been a little slower to write as we’ve been a little consumed.
Tash Rabat – the mountains, luminescent green hills, close your eyes and find yourself in this valley. From the hill you can see the yurt camps, it is a beautiful if not cool morning. We wander off exploring the caravanserais and just absorbing the stunning valley we are in and the yurt camps that are surrounding us.
It’s after 10 and the day has now warmed up – T-shirt’s are more than enough for now even though we are already well over 3000m however we also know it will get cooler at we head higher up the see the beautiful Chatyr Kol. I am really itching to see an alpine lake.
Saddling up there are six of us, two guides Samar leading Adrienne then Eva and Falco – a honeymooning Dutch couple then Nazar then me – also being lead. I wasn’t sure I wanted that at first but then it seemed fine. We had told them that neither of us had much experience- me a little more than Adrienne but still not much at all.
So we started slowly – through the valley, carefully crossing wide braided rivers shallow channels of crystal clear mountain water separated with channels of stone. Then more of that, then we are across the other side.
Eva and Falco have been here for a few days, albeit in another yurt camp and so have already done a couple of horse treks. They well and truly have their cowboy legs on. As we wander through the valley they try and race each other – though that only means trying g to encourage their horses into a trot rather than the slow walk we are on.
I’m much more comfortable on Peri’s saddle so for once it is not me wanting to go faster, higher….I am quite happy with a slow walk.
Nazar is regularly looking back and asking if I’m okay – which I am – though the nervousness has not subsided it is o my just a little bit worse. By the time we stop after about an hour, Adrienne has settled into the saddle well. She has quite literally sat with her intial (quite significant) apprehension and got past it.
I haven’t managed that – and say I’m a bit terrified- though the word feels a little strong. We start off again, more river crossings, and thin goat tracks on the edge of the valley. I can’t understand how great big muscly four legged animals can fits on these tiny tracks!
I am the last in the line. Ahead the track starts going steeply up the side of the hill. Everyone else is plodding along going up with apparent ease. I make the mistake of looking down to my left and decide that is not the best strategy and instead look straight ahead.
My horse doesn’t seem keen on the goat track either – and pulls away just before we go up. Nazar comes around and takes the rope back, gives her a firm talking to and we head up.
We are about 3/4 of the way to be first bend where Adrienne and Samar are stopped when my horse rears. It isn’t happy. It seems to stay on hind feet for a while – wavering left to right. Both the horse and I know we are on a hillside so wavering is not the best of ideas.
Then time stops and time fast forwards. I am off the horse. Somehow my feet came out of the stirrups and I am free of the horse. Luck part one.
I’ve hit the ground with a thud, left trunk, shoulder then head. Luckily the ground slopes away and so even though I’ve hit the ground the fact that I land and roll is no doubt very good. Luck part two.
Though the ground is stony and rocky there are no big rocks underneath me. Just earth – though now a little more compacted. Luck part three.
Horse has also tumbled. We are both tumbling – it is not elegant. The horse are I are both tumbling down but we are nowhere near each other. Luck part four.
After what seems like an age and a just a moment I stop. The horse does not. Luck part five.
I am on the hill. Samar comes running down to check on me. Am I okay? It’s all happened so fast. Am I ? I pat my body down – yes, yes I think I am okay. Dazed but still very much with wits about me. Luck part six.
I right myself and take stock. Samar and Nazar have headed to the horse. I want to move – where I am feels a little precarious. I move tentatively checking myself out, but all limbs, head, back seem to be in working order. Luck part seven
I clamber back up the hill to where the others are on the track. Eva reaches out a hand to help me up the last bit. We are all shocked and also elated that all is okay. We are also shaken and don’t feel like going any further.
There is no easy way back. It’s by horse or by foot. One guess what chose!
Of course it’s been a big shock. And now the weather has cooled off and the clouds are rolling in. I’m dusty and dirty and scraped but I am not cold. But with the risk of shock, and impending rain I have on my puffer jacket and Eva’s raincoat (though Adrienne has also volunteered hers). I am warm and stay dry even when the rain starts. Luck part 8.
It’s a long slow walk back but I think it stops my body from stiffening up. Luck part 9. There are river crossings. I have the choice – walk across get wet and risk slipping over or risk getting back on a horse. I choose the horse. Three times I chose the horse (not my horse). Then I get down as soon as possible and walk.
It takes perhaps an hour and a half or maybe two before we get back. We stopped briefly to shelter from the rain but mostly we have just been slowly and steadily walking back to our respective yurt camps.
Bolot is duely concerned – having heard about the events long before we arrive. Nazar has ridden back to camp to advise the family and others.
Once we’re back I revert to my English roots knowing everything will feel better after a cup of tea.
The drive out could be bumpy but Bolot is the best driver you could imagine- he goes slowly and carefully and the road feels much smoother than it is. Luck part 10.
We stop along the way – after a couple of hours for a break, and some food. Everyone is keen for me to get more thoroughly checked out but all I want to get back to Good hostel and rest.
Good hostel is like home. Adrienne is looking after me very well and they are doing whatever they can. They organise to take me to the hospital in the morning. Erbol will be my translator. Luck part 11.
Erbol’s uncle comes around to drive us to the hospital Luck part 12.
The assessment is very unusual and if laughing didn’t hurt we both would’ve been in fits of laughter. Still I get the all clear. No broken bones. Luck part 13.
Of course I need to let insurance know but I dont have the energy. Between them my darling sister Susie and Adrienne manage what is needed.
Rest is good. Of course I am stiff and sore but that is all.
Insurance want a more thorough assessment. There is a small part of me that is glad about that though mostly I am feeling fine. Luck part 14.
Despite the homesickness Adrienne has said she’s not going anywhere till she knows I am well. Luck part 15.
So despite being well enough to wander the streets, go to a cafe for dinner, shower etc – insurance decide I need to be transported by ambulance to Bishkek.
It feels completely over the top. So I lay down and chalk up my first ambulance ride. It’s a bugger not to be able to see the view but Adrienne generously does running commentary.
I am check out more thoroughly more xrays and scans and they all conclude I am made of rubber. Luck part 16. Nothing is broken. I am given more meds – which thankfully I check out with the home medical team and decide which ones to take.
They are keen for me to stay in hospital but only so I can have IV and IM meds and plenty of rest. I can also have meds as an outpatient and better rest at home. So I don’t stay in. And I rest well. And I get a corset – to ease the discomfort and tiredness – and to make sure the next slinky black dress fits well. 😁
It’s now a week. I am feeling good. I won’t be going on any more horse rides for some time if at all. I managed a star jump yesterday 😊.
I will be having the next week or more sans bike – it’s staying here – with a lovely Warm showers host (people who offer accommodation and assistance to cycle tourers). So for now I can wander Bishkek freely without bike or much gear.
I’m heading back to Kochkor and going to Song Kol. I had hoped to ride but have let that go. Instead I’ll go by car and enjoy the ride in a different way. So back here (Bishkek) next weekend and then will see what the final couple of weeks bring.
There’s a lot of kilometres to cover and not much time so there’ll be more car, bus and train than usual but however it goes I’ve no doubt it will continue to be amazing!