Today was a success. The rain that plagued me as I struggled with dinner and settled into bed disappeared in the night and I was greeted in the morning by a cloudless sky and warm sun. I was expecting a big descent today as I continued to move away from Kyzylart Pass, but there wasn’t one. In fact, I am now camped about 15m higher than I was last night and I never faced a big climb to get here. Instead, the road passed through rolling hills with some flat stretches. I can’t seem to ride very fast though. This might be partly because of the constant wind, but I think it’s mostly because the altitude is reducing the power in my body. I didn’t really feel like it, but I got my camera out for some filming and quickly settled back into the routine of stopping every now and then to film a ride past. I also filmed myself collecting and treating water from a stream. I topped up my water supply three times today with water running off the mountains. It’s probably clean enough to drink as is, but I steripen’d it all anyway. Having suffered Giardia in Nepal, I will forever be cautious about drinking directly from natural water sources.
The lake at Karakul was stunning. Parts of it were a bright blue colour, whereas other parts were colourless glassy sheet that reflected the snowy mountains in the distance. I rode through Karakul looking for a shop but the whole place was extremely quiet and there was no sign of one. Being Friday, I think everything was closed and people were keeping to themselves. While I knew I had enough food to get me through to Murghab, I was still hoping to get some tomatoes and cucumbers for lunch. I also wanted to change some money to get some Tajik Som, of which I have none.
I pushed on through the afternoon in an effort to put myself in good position from which to cross the Akbaikal Pass tomorrow. At 4,655m, this is the highest point I will reach along the Pamir Highway. Right now I am 25km away from the top of the Pass, having set up my tent in the ruins of a small building. The crumbling structure is providing some cover from the wind and I am completely hidden from the road. Dinner was a success tonight, thank god. It is warmer than last night and I got my stove working fine. The first thing I did was boil the eggs I have been carrying, five of which survived the journey from Sary Tash. On the dinner menu was pasta with vegetables (onion, capsicum, potato and some other kind of root vegetable), flavoured with a packet of mixed seasoning, plus one of the five eggs that cracked open while boiling. It’s now time to get some serious rest as tomorrow is set to be a massive physical challenge.
|Distance ridden today||81.52km|
|Average cycling speed||13.5kph|
|Total distance ridden||19,786km|