Getting down to the point where we leave the main road to get to Iskanderkul is easy enough. One man even invites us to his brother’s wedding for when we get back to Dushanbe. But as we approach the intersection it starts to rain and when we leave the car it’s absolutely pouring. We hesitantly enter an old factory to ask if we can shelter there. There are not many workers around but after a few minutes we find one. He takes us to an empty office, brings us some tea and leaves us alone for the remainder of the rainstorm.
Once the weather clears we continue down the road. Hitchhiking now is a bit more difficult just because of the sheer lack of cars. Our progress is slow and by the evening we get to a fork in the road. There are some houses around so we figure we’ll wait and if all else fails we’ll just ask if we can pitch a tent in somebody’s yard.
As evening approaches we hesitantly walk towards the closest house as the threatening barks of a dog ring out. I really hope it’s on a chain like most dogs are around here. We knock on the door and as my travel companion doesn’t speak Russian it’s up to me to explain our situation and ask if we can stay close to their house. The guy answers in English that of course we can stay, but why stay outside, come indoors, and by the way have you eaten? It turns out the guy studied petroleum engineering and has worked in the Gulf. Luckily for us he is visiting his parents.
By next afternoon we’ve reached the lake. The scenery is so beautiful it’s hard to put into words and since it’s a mountain lake it’s also too cold to swim in, so all we can do is stare at it. After a walk around the lake and a visit to the waterfall we eat dinner on a restaurant’s pier and pitch the tent. Further to the west in the Fann mountains there are supposedly even more beautiful lakes but there are no roads and we have neither the time nor the supplies to cover the distance on foot. So we head back down to Dushanbe.