I went to Ala Archa National Park, just south of Bishkek, back in March with Male A, Male K, and Old B. While the scenery was spectacular, the day was overcast, dreary and cold. In contrast, this past Sunday was warm, sunny and gorgeous. The school decided to take whichever students and teachers were interested to Ala Archa for the day. This wasn’t an English studying excursion, simply a fun in the wilderness kind of day. We chartered a bus for the event, although our bus was... interesting. About halfway to Ala Archa, before we even started to climb in the mountains, some of the students sitting in the back of the bus began to panic and run to the front. Smoke was billowing up into the bus from underneath. The driver pulled over and went and fiddled around under the back of the bus for a while, then we continued on. As our road started to climb, he had to repeat this several times. Luckily, we did make it to our destination.
The last time I went to Ala Archa, we followed the road/trail which leads straight in. This time, we ventured to the right, following a smaller river along a valley for a while, and later climbing up the side of a mountain until we reached a cemetery for fallen mountaineers. We picnicked on a small bench on the mountainside, then descended to spend an hour or so relaxing by the main river while the students played card games and that scary game that involves hurling a volleyball at people.