Photo of the week: Russian Altai, July 2013
We left Kazakhstan and crossed into the Russian Altai region on our way to Mongolia. Rather than head north to Barnaul and following the main road, we decided to cut east across the mountains by Sentelek and join the road south of Gorno-Altaysk. The routes on the map were dirt tracks and the locals were unsure whether the roads were even open, so we planned to stop for lunch to discuss what to do. As we approached a bridge that looked like a good lunch spot, who should we bump into? Our good friend Adam (shortwayround.co.uk), who we had last seen in Bishkek! So Adam joined us, as he too was debating the mountain pass.
We decided to follow a road that another traveller had previously highlighted as a possible route. Unfortunately it came to a halt at a farm, with no way through. Instead the farmer pointed us to another track, which we eventually found, leading us over gorgeous green pastures and meadows bursting with life. The luscious region of the Altai home to diverse fauna, such as bears, argali, snow leopards and Siberian Ibex to name a few. We had kites circling above us while on this track, and insects were abundant amongst the wildflowers.
As beautiful as it was, the track got narrower and narrower, eventually reaching a near-vertical slope that we were unable to climb safely with the trailer. So we turned back, resignation setting in that we would have to head back to the main roads in the morning. Even so, it was a lovely detour, and we had a lovely couple of nights camping by the river with Adam.