I first heard of Paltau waterfall last winter and decided to go there. However, I had to wait for more than a month, as each week something would happen and I managed to get there only in April. Although the site is very far from Tashkent, I liked it so much that I went back there this winter.
My winter trip there this year was one of the memorable and unique hiking experiences I have had. I usually hike with a tour company “Maro Cup Adventures” and this time again it was with them. On the eve of the upcoming hike a guide called me and told that I will be going in the car with the head of the company and people from one of the local TV channels. They were going to make a special program. We left more than an hour later than the rest of the group. On the way we stopped at Charvak Lake to enjoy the view of the misty lake.
When we were approaching our destination, suddenly the car stopped and it would not start. We even got off and tried to push it first forward, then backwards, but without any progress. After some time the leader of the group called to his colleague and asked to send one of the other cars to pick us up. While we were waiting I even managed to make a small snowman.
This waterfall is situated in the premises of Ugam-Chatkal National Park, in the border of Uzbekistan and Kirghistan. Due to this reason having special permission and your passport with you is essential, as all the visitors get registered by the border guards. By the time we reached the border post, the rest of the group had already started and there was only one of the guides waiting for us.
Luckily we quickly got registered and started our trekking. It was not very easy to walk as there was knee-high snow. By the time I climbed the first hill, I had been sweating, so I took off my warm jacket and sweater and put on a vest over a shirt. I remembered the hill from my first time, as it was so windy then, that it seemed to blow us away then. But this time it was calm.
We were almost approaching the rest of the group when we saw a couple searching for something in front of us. Upon reaching them we learnt that Anya, a Ukrainian expat living in Tashkent, lost her phone and together with her husband were trying to find it. We all started looking for it, but after spending some time we considered it was impossible to find it in such snow and we have to continue on our way. The couple decided to spend some more time there and while we were waiting I suddenly noticed something in the snow just in front of me. When I reached for it, it turned out to be the phone. Anya was to happy that she ran towards me and hugged me. By the end of our day we actually became good friends.
I had to put on all my warm clothes when we approached the waterfall, as it was freezing there. The water was still falling, but there was a wall of ice there and it looked stunning. Just being there and looking at the waterfall made me feel happy and mesmerized by the beauty and wonder created by nature.
As it was already around 3 pm, we did not go any further this time. During my first visit though, before we approached this waterfall from top, we first went to the cave which local people consider as a sacred place. There are even two animal skulls next to the cave, and beautiful birch trees. I was surprised to see a blossoming cherry tree growing from the stone.
When we came to the waterfall from the top, we saw the beginning of the magnificent waterfall surrounded by huge wall. The view was both frightening and breathtaking. As an extreme lover I could not resist approaching the edge, but the guide allowed me only to sit half a meter further from the edge.
Although in winter we could not climb up to the top and to the sacred cave, on the way back we went inside the abandoned mine.
This trek is for sure one of my favorite treks and I highly recommend trying to visit this place if you have a chance. You will not regret it.