Lashkerek Forest

This trip had been planned for a long time but had been postponed due to a variety of factors. Instead of hiring a guide, I opted to question other experienced hikers about the forest, its challenges, and scenic areas. I generally hike with the same group, but because everyone was busy this time, I asked some friends from my cross fit classes to join me. Three of them answered my calls and others joined us, so we were 7 in total. We split the responsibilities: the girls would buy food, and the boys would rent camping equipment, with the cost split later.

We left Tashkent at 10 a.m. in two vehicles, and it took us an hour to go to the national park. The majority of the road was OK, but after the decent asphalt was gone, we had to deal with soviet-built roads, there were stony sections where I was worried about my car’s wheels.

We eventually arrived at our starting point and began packing. It was the girls’ first two-day hike, and they bought so much food that we were able to stay even longer. To ensure that our cars were safe, we parked them in a private yard in a nearby house and paid a guard $15 to keep an eye on them.

Lyuba, Lola, and Otabek, our CrossFit Team

Autumn had arrived, and the leaves on the trees had begun to change color. We found a trail and followed it, ensuring that we did not become disoriented.

We were a very amusing company; we were laughing the entire time, and we didn’t even realize we had walked 8 kilometers deep into the mountains. It’s always nice to have a travel buddy.

On our way, we came upon a wild animal, a sweet but hazardous species.

We had to hurry due to our late departure from Tashkent in order to arrive at our destination and find a flat spot for our camp. It took us a long to find a place where we could set up camp, but we eventually did, it was on a rock. We didn’t have a choice but to stay here. We set up our camp and began preparing dinner.

It was not perfectly flat but still. Two of our friends walked down to the river to fetch water for our tea. We had enough food for ten people, so we decided to eat as much as we could to lose weight and make the trip back easier.

We built a bonfire, ate our dinner, and began drinking tea with mint leaves and sugar. We told each other stories, and observed the night sky, using an app called Identify Stars to study celestial objects in real time on our screens.

Hiking should be done more frequently so that people can appreciate nature and the beauty of our planet.

What a lovely night sky. The darkness allowed us to appreciate the stars.

I got up early in the morning and decided to do some yoga and snap a picture of our camping location by climbing a rock. As you can see, we placed our camp on real rock. We had to be cautious at night in order to avoid falling.

Before leaving, as is customary, we spent some time conversing and enjoying the morning sun until it becomes too hot.

Me enjoying the sun with a cup of hot mint tea.

On our way back to the village, we stopped at a few waterfalls. We opted to swim because the water was fresh and the weather was scorching.

Happy Lola.

We took our time walking back, taking in the landscape. I’d like to return here in the winter to view the snow-covered trees and mountains.

Lyuba, Lola, Oybek, Botir, Timur, and Fakhriddin.

We had a great time on our trip, and everyone was eager to share their beautiful photos with their friends and families. Our hike was overall quite interesting; we assisted one another and exchanged food, experience, and life stories. I had a great time hiking with these amazing people.

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