Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bartang Valley

Camp 9 - Camp10
su 6 sep
Another day starting with serious headwind. It should be like that the next days ... for the whole valley. The views are just unbelievable and that valley is really unique. In the morning we passed a small house, where an old guy lived with his woman and 2 kids. It is in the middle of nowhere but we were not complaining coz it was a nice break for us. We continued and besides the headwind, the road was really in serious condition. Rough road, bolder stones and deep sand.
We arrived at a nice open area with amazing views at snow covered peaks ... and suddenly we found ourselves in a kind of moon valley ... a lot of big stones sqauttering around and we cycled through it ... it was just unbelievable ... in the evening we started to hallucinate ... we saw a yurt which turned out to be only a stone ... anyway we had enough food and decided to just have our rest. After our dinner (we cooked in the tent coz it was still very cold at night.

Camp 10 -Ghudara
mo 7 sep
Most probably this was the hardest day of our trip. We heard a lot of Kog Jar and we were eager to reach it ...but before that there was still some serious climbing. The road conditions got worst and some stretches where impossible to bike.
Finally we made it and the views into the valley were unique. We enjoyed the downhill, dropping down around 400 high meters but then the worst part of the day started. Crossing river dried beds with serious bolder stones got us to our limit. After we then cycled into a deep sand area ... we had to stop and recharge. Luckily we still have some muesli, which you can just mixed with cold water ...and that recharged us again. The rest of the day the conditons didn´t really change and we were just looking forward to Ghudara. Finally we reached it ... craving already for some chocolate bars and other stuff ... we had to learn there is no store. The next store is 2 day rides away. Luckily Boby, the only person in the village who spoke english gave us shelter and some delicious food. He offered us to sleep in his "winter house". The villages here in the Bartang valley are amazingliny nice (even though they don´t have stores), all old Pamiri houses with fields around each house.

Ghudara - camp 11
tue 8 sep
we had a nice breakfast with boby. after that we continued our ride. The last info we got was the road is going all the way down and the road is getting better. Straight after the start we had some climbing to do ... not serious but climbing, and the road got better. sus i think then we went the wrong road abd luckily we had no serious head wind .... the scenery got more and more impressive. The valley got narrower and road bended its way through the giant stones. Before we reached Savnob we had to climb up from 2400m up to 2700m. The climb was quite tough specially if you dont expect 1. But finally we reached Savnob. A nice small viallage laying in between the valley with amazing views of the revolution peak. We were looking for a "magazine" but all we found was a 2 hand shoe store. I almost freaked out ... everybody told us there is a magazine in Savnob ... which they were right with but nobody told us they sell only shoes.
That makes you once again aware, how we take things for granted. If you want to have something in civilization ... you just buy it. But here ... there is nothing to buy
We found a nice guy, neighbor of a homestay, who made us tea and some potatoes.
After that we continued cycling and climbing again. We had to climb up to 3000 m before finally it really went down. 2 km later we found ourselves in a river bed ... seeing the track going all the way inside the valley to come back out on the other side after going over a bridge. we tried several times to cross the river ...not to cycle around 2km detour on copple stone ... Finally we made it over the bridge, back on track to find out 1 km later that the official road has gone, taken away by the current ... so we have to cross the river. The scenery became at every bend more impressive ... our goal for today was to cycle to Basid, but after i had a flat tire close to dusk? we knew we can not make it. After repairing the tire we continued another 5 km, to find out at a road side house, that Basid is still 14 km to go. We actually realized that this house at the road side was a very nice spot for staying overnight. the owners, a couple with here son, living here to go ibex hunting once in a while brought us some tea and bread and we cooked on of our outdoor meals. The place was great, right at the greek with a terrace kind of thing, where we sleped packed in our sleeping bags. Thanks to my flat tire otherwise we might never have stayed overnight here.

we 9 Sep
After breakfast and a tea we continued our ride. The scenery was amazing like the days before and so was the headwind. Also the road was not really improving ... but we were already used to it and the scenery made up for it. At least the amount of villages was improving. We stopped several times, in villages got invited for tea and bread. At 5 pm before we decided to make the final strtch for today we asked in a village for hot water , to make some coffee. After we made ourself understand with the villagers a man brought us to his place. His mother, an old lady, spoke very good english and she was proud of it. She was a teacher when she was young. They provided us with the hot water and also offered us bread. We actually only wanted the coffee and she got really upset, that we refuse her offer. She insisted that we try her bread and so we finally did. The hospitality is just amazing. We in the western world can definitely learn a lot from that.
After another 20km we reached our homestay for today. We arrived at dusk and the last 2 km was paved. A fact, after 7 days in that rough valley with its serious roads wich we really enjoyed.

thrsdy 10sep
Cycling was like flying today. For sure we knew its the last day and we were looking forward to some good food but it was more the fact that we cycled on paved road without headwind.
We were trained the last days with serious rough road and headwinds. The 1st 17 km out of the valley were immediatly done and our focus was Khorog. After two short stops and 6 hours we saw the bridge to Afghanistan and we already got the smell of a cold beer in our nose.We stopped at the market in Khorog and bought some beers, a sausage and some bread and went to the homestay we stayed before. Our "house" was still free. We took the well deserved bucket shower and washed the sand of the 7 days Bartang Valley away. Sittng in front of the house with a cold beer made us realize what an awesome ride we just finished. 1511km on rough roads wild countryside with awesome people everywhere.

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