A Kazakh camping trip with a local delicacy

This past September, I joined Travis on what I thought was a common hunting trip where I hike and ride horses in the mountains looking for wildlife to photograph, while the guys adventure off to hunt. Let’s just say this trip was a little different.

For starters, we usually drive ourselves to the mountains, but this time we jumped in an old Soviet helicopter (itself a bit frightening) for a long ride to an unfamiliar destination. We touched down at 11,500 feet (well above the tree line) in a mountain range full of elk. As I am sure you can tell, the scenery was spectacular!

I should mention that while I accompanied Travis I was the only one doing any accompanying. In other words it was me, the only girl, and 12 Kazakh men. For the next four days I experienced Kazakhstan through the eyes of a local. A nomadic culture that hunts for survival and consumes any and all parts of the animal.  For the next four days we feasted on yak and elk and I observed some serious card playing and vodka drinking. And what was the delicacy of the trip? (This is not for the faint-hearted). Elk testicles, of course! I eat a lot of foods I don’t like or want to, but elk testicles? Forget it! Travis didn’t even dare me to try that.

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