I took Obi a couple of weeks ago to the Sukok Forest Reserve, which is located in the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains, near the city of Parkent. It is the closest the mountains get to Tashkent and only about an hour’s drive away. The US Forest Service and Uzbek government are working on developing the idea of reserves/parks in Uzbekistan and this is one of the first projects. I went late on a Sunday afternoon and parked my car in a village close by to the entrance. I didn’t realize that the entrance to the reserve had a gate and thought it was a private farm, so walked around the reserve through an adjacent ravine. It was still super beautiful and with the setting sun, it was a refreshing way to end my weekend. I like this development of reserves/parks. I think livestock over graze in the mountains and it will be good to see eliminating this in some areas to see what becomes of it.
On my way back to my car, I took a different way and was looking for a shortcut path to the village creek. I ended up at a rancher’s house and just to show the friendliness of the locals, when I asked them for directions to the path, they sent their daughter, who was probably age 10 with me to show me where it started. They trusted a total stranger and she escorted me about 50-75 meters away from them and she pointed down a narrow, steep path. We were quite a distance from the parents. I thanked her and carefully made my way down the windy path. I guess the lack of serious crime in the culture puts people at ease.