Distance: 1141 km
Daily Average: 36 km
Days in TJ: 28
Days cycling: 23
Altitude covered: 12357 m
Daily Average: 458 m
Nights in the Tent: 18
Nights in Houses: 10
Breakdowns: 1 flat Tyre
Daily costs: 18,14 € (2 Persons)
a truly breathtaking Story
I didn´t know anything about Tajikistan five years ago. Someday i read something about the Pamir and short after about the Road that leads through this Area. Next to the Karakoram Highway (China/Pakistan) it´s the highest paved Road on this Planet. Sounds like an Adventure….
Now the road leads us into this country. In the tiny Capital Dushanbe we sit together and plan the Trip. Three weeks away from the civilization as we know it, a few opportunities to buy food, rough climate and cause we are the most of the time in high altitude thin Air. A real challenge.
We need a permit to cycle through this, GBAO called, Area. Cause of the closeness to Afghanistan there is a lot of smuggling of Drugs and the Government tries to get more control through installing a lot of checkpoints on the Roads. We can get the Permit in Dushanbe and short after that we leave the city.
Cause of a flue it was a false start for Katharina and so i did the first part of the trip alone. A wild Mountain Valley and a 3325m high Pass separates me from the Meetingpoint with her in Kalaikhum.
Bad Roads were compensated up here from a beautiful and wild Scenery and amazing People. The warmness i can feel here does good and motivates. But the Sickness also got me. I had do take a one day break and forced me to quit the Pass and to take a transport to the top. The Trip with a Military truck up to the Pass took away the worst part and so i could enjoy the descend, a rough road sparesly paved leads me to the Valley. At the End of the Road there is Kalaikhum and also 20.000km on my Speedometer.
Wow. I never could even dream about getting to this amazing Region and even to reach a distance like this on my bike. Very nice…
On the next day the way leads along the Panj-River towards the Mountains. On the other Riverside there is Afghanistan and it´s a strange feeling being so close to this lost country and also so endlessly far away. The houses in the villages there are from mud, the people seem to live from agriculturure. The most part of the Valley is just connected with a Path and you can watch the people walking or riding a donkey, sometimes you see a Motorcycle coming along. It looks very peaceful over there.
After Five Days in Khorog where we took a rest after the hard work down in the Valley. Sleeping in a Bed and to leave all one´s cares behind does good. After stocking up our food we cycled upwards. Not like the most through the Wakhan-Valley, but over the M41 the original Pamir Highway.
A Landslide weeks ago blocked the road, but as we reach the constructionsite where they build a new road we didn´t have to take a boat to cross the new lake, we can sneak through the Machines… After that point a Cyclists paradise is waiting for us.
Along a green valley, along tiny little villages we cycled up the Valley surrounded by glacier topped Mountains. After three days we reached an Altitude of 4000m and the Scenery changed. The Landscape gets rougher and colder. Short before the Pass we got a Snowstorm and after that we climbed up to the Gate to the Highplateau in bright Sunshine.
We really could feel the Altitude and so we breathed hard and used the smallest gear on our way to the top. Up there we got a wonderful Mountain panorama and took a deep breath, 4272m over Sealevel, Puh!
The next days lead us over moonlike Plateaus speckled with Saltlakes, but also through green Rivervalleys surrounded by hurts and grazing animals. There is almost no Traffic up here and so we can enjoy the surprisingly not really hard cycling. The Nights in the Tent were cold but not uncomfortable and so we reached Murghab, the Main settlement of the Region after one week.
We again stocked up and the reduced offer on the Bazar limits our cooking plan again… Murghab is the last real settlement on the Road and so we start into the loneliness of the mountains the next day.
Next big goal is Karakul-Lake, but there is a high pass on our way there. Partly totally silence with only the sound of the rolling Tyre in our Ears are very special moments that gave us Happiness. Special and a big gift!
As the Passroad starts climbing the contemplation stops immediately and Breath and Pulse starts going faster. As we reached the top, after a (just caused by the thin Air) hard climb, we were totally speechless. 4655m over Sealevel, almost the hight of Mont Blanc, and we cycled there… It felt unreal but also wonderful. Truly the peak of our Trip. Probably i will never get that high with my bicycle.
We couldn´t enjoy the descent at all. Rough road with a lot of Washboard killed the Joy and so we felt off the bikes totally tired in the Evening. The next day leads us to Lake Karakul. A totally straight road and Tailwind let us fly down there. The View over the Lake surrounded by gigantic and 7000m high Mountains is amazing.
In Karakul, a village on the shore of the Lake, we stayed for the night. The Food there is not enough for cyclists but we stole a little bit from every table around and got repleted after that…
The next stage brought us over another pass out of the Pan of the Lake that was caused by a Meteorite Impact long ago. After the 4272m high Pass we entered a windy valley that was totally exhausting. Headwind, Sandstorms and Washboard gave us work for the rest of the Day. At the End we reached the Bordercontrol and short after the Kyzyl Art pass up on 4290m we entered Kyrgiztan. There we had our coldest and highest night on the Trip. From there we had a long descent down to the kyrgiz Bordercontrol that is situated 20km down the Valley.
But this is another Story…
Four Weeks in a fascinating Country and a surrounding Landscape that have no rival, excited us but also were totally exhausting. After 3 more Passes we stopped in Osh and took a rest to recover from this.
Really the Queen´s Stage of this Trip!