Alabama to Ala-tau

So in route back to the PNW there is a quick pit stop in the country of Kyrgyzstan. Nothing too fancy but still an enchanting place. The people are nice and the local soviet bloc architecture is interesting. But one event really brought it all home...literally.

At my current duty station there is a constant backdrop that serves as a reminder of the beauty and lifestyle unique to the PNW, that is Mt. Rainer.

mt. rainer, washington
At 13,211ft the pearl of Washington is simply massive. The best part of Mt. Rainer is the fact that it sits almost alone. With what is called topographic prominence, or the distance you must climb from the bottom to the top, "the mountain" seemingly rises from almost nothing. In fact, Mt. Rainer juts up more quickly then K2, the second highest peak in the world.  This puts Mt. Rainer as number 21 on the list of longest climbs to the top in the world. Only Mt. McKinley and Mauna Kea can say better for US peaks.

And while the total elevation is not even half of that of K2 (28,251ft) the climb is seen as a great starting point for beginners and new guides. It is a beautiful and deadly mountain of volcano, capable of the same destructive force of that Mt. St. Helens showed us in 1980. And is an awesome sight to behold, that is, when the weather is cooperating.

It is from this natural instinct of looking through the clouds for the top of my favorite mountain that I came across a wonderful surprise here in this foreign and much unknown land, the Kyrgyz Ala-tau range of the Tian Shan.  The mountain rage here is actually higher then Mt. Rainer at 16,059ft and span the whole skyline. Since the mountains of my last home (Afghanistan) barely eked out a grand in elevation I guess I wasn't expecting much as I searched the clouds.
kyrgyz ala-tau range of the tian shan, Kyrgyzstan
So you can imagine my joy and surprise to see snow capped peaks spying on me from miles away. Their ruggedness and expanse really brought out the awe of mother nature, something I rarely get to experience anymore due to all my travel. That moment, standing there in the middle of the road in some 'other-stan' clutching my shopping bag from the PX, I wanted to go home. My journey was officially over.

I felt like my mountain was trying to Skype me via the eco-net. And as I continued my walk back to my cot I listened to my mountain, "Come home" she said, "Come home."