It is really cold here and the wind seems almost constant. Our hostess served milk rice kasha for breakfast which hit the spot. Then we ventured out into the cold wind to hike to Yeshil Kul (Green Lake). The sun was bright but its warmth couldn't penetrate the coldness of the wind. We tried to cut straight across the jailoo to get to the road which led up a mountain to the lake. A bit too late, we realized what we thought was mostly dry pasture, was swamp. We leaped from grassy island to island trying to avoid the muddy channels between. What we thought would be a shortcut was a snaking path which finally got us to dry land at the base of the hill.
From there everything became desert-like sandy dirt with pin-cushion cacti or scrubby brush only able to grow a few inches due to the harsh environment: wind, lack of water, freezing weather, and salt filled soil.
Climbing up the hill was a slow feat since the wind was against us and we are at a rather high altitude. Finally we reached the top and were able to look down at the lake. It was a slightly greenish blue with white caps stirred up by the wind.
At the base of the lake was a small warm pool-- clear with lots of water grasses growing in it. The wind didn't let up next to the lake so, after sitting a little, we returned back over the hill to Bulunkul.
The mountains around Bulunkul seem to have been marbled with red and orange pigments. Even without the warm evening light of yesterday, the colors still retained their richness.