I woke up 15 minutes before my alarm so I was able to get up on time without ‘alarming’ my dorm-mates. I quietly shifted all of my gear outside the room and then proceeded to organise it all and prepare it for the bike. Just as I was nearly done, Stefan (a Dutch guy I’d met in a restaurant last night) emerged. We went together to a nearby restaurant that serves a buffet breakfast for 15y. Also there were Tim and Cassandra (an Australian couple I met at the hostel last night), filling up before their drive back to Kashgar. Breakfast eaten and bike ready, all I had to do was start pedalling.
I haven’t made it to Karakul Lake as I’d hoped. It was mostly because of a headwind, but also because of (1) the weight I am carrying, (2) the fact that it was uphill, and (3) possibly the effect of the thinning air. My legs tired quickly and I felt as if an invisible force was slowing me down. The scenery was nice, but nothing like the Pakistani side of the Karakoram Highway. I constantly battled with my jacket, needing it when the sun was behind clouds but getting too hot when the sunshine was on my back. The sky darkened into the afternoon and masses of dark clouds rapidly moved east across the sky. I started looking for a place to camp at around 65km and found one at 70km, walking my bike into the barren rocky hills towards a snow-covered mountain. I am within sight of a small section of the highway, but I don’t expect to be seen. My tent blends in perfectly with the landscape and the drivers should be focused on negotiating the bend from which I walked. It was mid-afternoon when I decided to make camp so I had plenty of time to take it easy. It’s been a while since I have camped and cooked in the wild, so I’m out of practice. All went well though. I cooked rice and vegetables (potato, tomato and capsicum). It was cold already but it started getting absolutely chilling at 6.30pm, just as I was finishing cleaning my cookware. I brushed my teeth and prepared my bed. I’m now snug in my sleeping bag and the light outside is fading. I’m curious to see how cold it will get.
|Distance ridden today||70.63km|
|Average cycling speed||11.7kph|
|Total distance ridden||19,234km|