This week’s photo challenge (or in my case, back to back photo challenge since I finally got my act together for the last’s week’s… yesterday) is “horizon” and I’ve been meaning to post about Charyn Canyon and thought it was a nice fit.
In terms of square mileage, Kazakhstan is a huge country. In fact, it is the 9th largest country (in terms of land mass) in the world. Because of this, there is more topographical diversity than what one might think (if you think about Kazakhstan at all, that is). After I moved here, I read about Charyn Canyon in my guide book, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Kazakhstan. So when a colleague invited me on a day trip out there with her class, I jumped at the chance.
I was expecting this huge walls of rock and boulders to appear alongside us so when there seemed to be no change in the scenery, I asked myself “Are we there yet?” 🙂 The bus finally stopped, we got out and walked a few meters towards some direction, and then, voila. Something was different up ahead. And as we got closer to the edge, all of a sudden there was this drop-off leading to paths that meandered between the different walls of rock and boulder formations.
In general, Charyn Canyon is a nice place to hike and walk around, scramble over piles of rocks and just enjoy being outside. There is a river that runs through the section where a lot of people picnic . We went during the springtime and that was great because I would imagine in summer that area just becomes a fiery inferno.
If you like being outside and scaling rock formations (and happen to be in Kazakhstan), Charyn Canyon is a nice day trip. But if you’ve seen the Grand Canyon, Wadi Rum, or Petra, and have a limited amount of time in Kazakhstan, I would say you’re ok. Charyn Canyon is like the Grand Canyon meets Wadi Rum and then is compressed into a fraction of the size (although to be fair, we only hiked one section of it so I’m not sure how big the area actually is).