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Climbing "Roof of the world"
Day 5. "True delight"


Before the dawn I have been woken up by everyday-light-dawn household "rustling" of Muzaffar aka and Hursheda opa. It was easy to get up - first, wishing to start moving to Chimtarga (or better to say "under Chimtarga"), secondly - sleep under stars - a real one!

Lake Kulikalon There were three people who went on trekking - Leonid, Bahodur and me. At first the track wagged on a narrow mountain valley among small farms then it began to rise abruptly upwards. An hour and a half of a way, the most beautiful sights of mountains, a dawn and we are on top of a huge collapse, which like platinum partitioned off deep gorge and the natural boundary Chimtarga which formed a valley. Here you can see peculiar sights one after another: at first you see Lake Kulikalon - the biggest one, with green-turquoise and a little turbid water, and also other four small lakes of smaller size. And they are all surrounded by an amphitheatre of delightful and majestic mountains covered with caps of snowfields sparkling in the sun, one of them is Chimtarga mountain (5489 m.) - the highest top of Fann Mountains.

Choughs - mountain daws Also here I have seen a big range of birds and high-mountainous ones as well. The first were choughs (also known as mountain daws), then ravens, Red-fronted Serins similar to canaries, some of other "little brown things" and I exulted for not being too lazy to take my telelens with me. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time and especially for making hunting photos, however we took several successful ones.

Local tourists While I was enjoying running on a high-mountainous valley, between lakes and juniper bonsais, taking photos of everything around, my companions have reasonably gone to way back and I went down by myself. On my way I met three young locals - a Tadjik guy in chapan and two giggling girls. During our short (in view of language barrier) conversation which took place near a spring where I have been treated with my favorite stale and dark rural flat cake, I found out that they were my tourist brothers and they came here for a night yesterday from one of nearby kishlaks. Apparently, the gentleman happened to be here earlier and ladies made this voyage for the first time and the same as me they were lost in admiration. Long live local tourism! Down with hope only on coming foreigners who are always insufficient to maintain infrastructure and initiatives at appropriate level on site! However, the last mentioned - foreign trekkers have been met much more here. They had small camps at Lake Kulikalon, and on roads we met them going in both directions and accompanied by local guides and porters.

Fann mountains There is a great variety of routes for trekking of average complexity here. It is also possible to have a camp near one of lakes and to go on one-day ascension to Chimtarga and other neighboring tops or to make following five-seven-day ascension through passes: to lakes Marguzor and Iskanderkul, through pass Allautdin to Fandarya. And from these final points you can continue the auto tour across Tajikistan. In a word, both for fans of trekking and for climbers these places are real Mecca!

Local children Service of porters and their four-footed assistants cost: donkey 10 US$ per day, owner of donkey - 5 US$ per day. These two costs given separately (typical marketing lure) are better to be summarized as the first and the second ones are inseparable and work effectively only as a team. There is safety in numbers.

Artuch camp Going down, I have almost caught up with Bahodur and Leo and having approached to camp we have found out that the lawn with our bivouac were already in primordial form - everything was cleaned, the tent was packed and already been put into the car. All was done by mighty hands of Muzaffar k who at that time was busy cleaning the car from the dust balling up in every corner.

Map of the Fann mountains The owner of the camp - Muhammad k, even tried to invite us to his house to dinner, but as at the moment of our acquaintance, Hursheda opa was already cooking her well-known palov in the evening, we have invited Muhammad k to join us, and the owner has agreed only on condition that we'll have breakfast at his place. To tell the truth he had to wait for us till afternoon, and before departure, with pleasure and deserved appetite we had brunch at the camp "Artuch" in the light dining room covered with horns and hand-made articles of climbers. After breakfast hospitable Muhammad k has presented to each of us a detailed map of Fann Mountains - really valuable and necessary gift and we went further - for a long detour on Lake Iskanderkul where we planned to spend the night.

Nature of the Fann mountains The way to Iskanderkul is 150 km. In the place of Dar-dar we stopped to enjoy cold airan which was served in bowls, and vessels with airan stood in icy and crystal-clear water of the spring beating in this place from the mountain. Having been convinced once again and agreed in opinion that there is no better drink for the summer, we continued our way.

The following stop was in a small town of Ayni - it has appeared to be native land for the majority of Tadjik poets.

Iskanderdarya river Further the road went along abrupt river banks of Fanndarya, before it flew into the river of Iskanderdarya which went by the huge similar to termitaries bas-reliefs cut within the precincts of rocks steep and going on another side of the gorge. We turned in the direction of Iskanderdarya and as a result reached Lake Iskanderkul - the biggest lake of Fann Mountains located at the height of 2200 m above sea-level. The lake has the depth of 73 m and the length of 7 km.

Dinner at the bank of Iskanderkul Having registered at a post and having passed the bridge over rough Iskanderdarya flowing from the lake we drove into the territory of a former climbers' camp which revives as well nowadays, but sooner as a modern recreation center. Here, on the fenced territory, there are ten-fifteen small cottages members of our expedition accommodated in one of these cottages, except three of us - Leonid k, Muzaffar k and me who never got off a trestle bed on a fine coast of the lake. We went to the lake right on arrival. Here we cooked, then had dinner, talked to the young managing director and stayed for a night in the open air, blown by a cool breeze. The manager of the centre told us that in a full moon, from our trestle bed, aside big blackening mountain growing from the opposite coast we could see the silhouette of Bucephalus - Alexander the Great's favorite and unique horse. This is what actually happened to me that night. And it couldn't be a dream, late at night I just woke up and saw

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