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March 2012
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Issyk Ata

The trip to Issyk Ata is a nice day trip, with possibilities for hiking or soaking in the hot springs. It’s also another curious relic of Soviet days with lots of old symbols of the Union still scattered about.

I won’t go into the route details, since the route, including links to gps information, is fully described in the post on the Burana Tower, with which this trip can be combined.

The Issyk Ata (Warm Father) hot springs and health resort lie in the next major canyon east of Alamedin Canyon (12 Chimneys). As with the Burana Tower, you can get there either via the highway, or over the foothills. However, Issyk Ata is clearly closer over the foothills, and if you are not going to Burana, you might both go and come back by the foothill road. Not so sure about that road if it’s been snowing, though.

Anyway, the highlights of the Issyk Ata resort and canyon are:

The hike above the resort to the waterfall. It’s about a mile and a half, and a climb of only about 750 feet, which makes it an easy hike for almost anyone.

The famed ancient Budda carved into a stone.

The outdoor swimming pool, open even in the snowy winter (expect Soviet-style facilities)

Father Lenin’s statue standing at the top of the resort.

The drinking fountains, with their health-promoting warm water flowing (both smelling and tasting as though eggs had been boiled in it)

Other scattered leftovers from Soviet days.

You can make arrangements to stay overnight at the resort, though the idea does not attract me, personally.  I will note that Chris Hattayer (for those who don’t know Chris, he was the HR/FMO officer before George arrived) used to go camping in the mountains up Issyk Ata canyon.  I’m sure once you get beyond the waterfall you will find few people.

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