Kalaikum to Khorugh

Today we entered the Pamirs proper. We left our Home-Stay in Kalaikum at 8.30 this morning. They did look after us in this humble establishment. There is only one shower in the whole place and a communal toilet, but the water was hot (at least for some of us) and it was not a squat drop toilet. They served us dinner the night before, fruit, bread, salad, soup and french fries. Breakfast in the morning was fried egg and sausages, tea, bread jam. All up US$20 per person.

We were able to park our cars just opposite the gates to the Home-stay for security.

The road to Khorugh followed the Panj River, a 1200 km river that divides Tajikistan and Afghanistan.Sometimes there is only 50 meters between the 2 banks, but the river is a fast flowing torrent and no one could possibly cross it. It all looked so peaceful over the other side! There were visible along the way multiple watch towers and military encampments guarding the border. We also had to stop at 2 checkpoints where our passport and visa details were checked and transcribed by hand into that ever-present ledger!

The road at times is very narrow and, as usual, incredibly pot-holed and punishes the cars unmercifully. These Toyota Hilux’s are tough. Mind you the passengers suffer also. For the first four hours we averaged 25 to 35kph, in mostly second nd third gear.
This punishment however was more than set off by the awe inspiring scenery. The river, as I mentioned previously is in full flood. The brown churning waters are like an iron ore train roaring down the canyons.
In many places we meet trucks coming the other way and it can be a tight squeeze. C-YA met a bulldozer in one narrow section. That scoop at the front took up al most the width of the road. He had to raise the front bucket so we could just, with our wheels near the edge, scrape past.

On one section of the road, C-YA and the Quokkavan had stopped to admire a stream that was tumbling from above, onto the road. Coming up behind us was a BMW motorbike. On it were an Australian couple driving their motorbike across the country. They were all decked out in their leathers and enjoying the adventure. It is a small world

We finally arrived at our overnight destination in Khrough,sleeping at a comfortable, hotel like homestay.
The town of Khorugh is the capital of the Gorno-Badakhshan (Tajik: Kuhistoni Badakhshon, “Badakhshan Mountainous Region”) Autonomous Province (GBAO) in Tajikistan. It is also the capital of the Shughnon District of Gorno-Badakhshan. It has a population of 28,000 (2000 census). Khorugh is 2,200 metres (7,200 ft) above sea level in the Pamir Mountains (ancient Mount Imeon) at the confluence of the Ghund and Panj rivers. The city is bounded to the south (Nivodak) and to the north (Tem) by the deltas of the Shakhdara and Gunt, respectively. The two rivers merge in the eastern part of the city flow through the city, dividing it almost evenly until its delta in the Panj River, also being known as Amu Darya, or in antiquity the Oxus) on the border with Afghanistan. Khorugh is known for its beautiful poplar trees that dominate the flora of the city.
It was pizza and beer for dinner before we venture further South into the Wackan Valley to circumvent the blocked road to Murgrahb.
C-YA Andrew and Jeff

Andrew Bochenek.
Mongolia Charity Rally 2015

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