Day 73. 200k South East of Khorog in the Wakhan Valley. Tajikistan.

After last nights excitement, we managed to get some disturbed sleep by the roadside with a voluminous, noisy stream right beside us. Jen was anxious about being moved on again, so don’t think she got too much sleep.

On the road by 9am and for the rest of the day, just magnificent scenery. Snow capped mountains in the distance, the Hindu Kush being the most prominent and being the boundary of Pakistan and Afghanistan. But the terrain on both sides of the River Pyanj, a muddy, turbulent piece off water separating Afghanistan and Tajikistan with sometimes steep sided gorges and others, open valleys and fertile sedimentary fans at the bottom of ravines feeding into it. It’s interesting seeing the pristine snow melt water cascading into the muddy river, and being lost.

I have taken a movie on the movie to enable a better sense of the road and countryside we are passing through. lets hope I can find a way of incorporating it into this or another blog.

Currently we have parked up for an early end to the day, though looking at my watch it’s 5.45pm (25degC) and not a lot achieved since stopping at 4pm. I must have touched a rock with the nearside rear wheel when turning around in the dark last night, as I noticed the rear axle end cap was missing at lunch time and a fan of oil starting to spread out from the half shaft. An attempt to fix a seal from dirt ingress with insulation tape, was unsuccessful, so I have applied a mixture of gorilla tape over some contact adhesive after washing the oil off. We’ll know tomorrow how that works.

Not long before finding this small flat and remote area from the road, we climbed a further 500m off the main road up a zigzag track to see a 12th Century fortress. Amazingly still significantly intact. At lunch time we stopped to view another ruin but this one from the 3rd Century BC. It was pretty much just a few badly eroded mud walls. On trying to get a more elevated view of the site I climbed up a bank and thought, wow, I’m exhausted from such little exertion. Is it from doing so little these last couple of months, or is it the altitude? Who knows, probably both as at approx 3000m I note the Land Rover is struggling for air too.

An unfortunate experience just after visiting the fort we passed through a small settlement and three boys were walking towards us. The elder, about 14 tossed a handful of stones into the air in front of us chipping the new windscreen. I quickly stopped and tried to engage reverse but stalled it due to the thin air. Anyway, the little buggers climbed up a bank and disappeared. We explained what had happened to some menfolk sitting nearby, one of who, raced off to try and find the miscreants. Lets hope our reaction will dissuade them from doing it again. Valentine and Deedrah had experienced something similar, which surprised me as the people have been so very friendly. It was certainly a problem in Eastern Turkey in 1970 while passing through there. I seem to recall brother Ash having a like experience while cycling through Turkey, a couple of years ago.

Jen just informs me that we have now done over 10,000 miles, so we are about half way!!! That is, in terms of distance, certainly not time.

The furtherest east we go the daylight closes in sooner.

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