25 May. Kalikhum - hot springs Garmchashma. 320km
Kalikhum. Morning in the guest house.
A classical guest house breakfast. Fried eggs, tea, bread and nuts
The great Tajik Tetris. Fence without a drop of cement. Takes a bulldozer and not collapse it
Kalikhum. Gas re-fill from buckets – normal local practice (USD2 for 1 liter of A-80)
Kalikhumb’s shopping small
In the morning, Adri complained about aching in his left leg. He had his surae sore and feet scarcely able to move making it tough to switch gears. He must have caught cold on the muscle in one of those mountain rivers. “I can make it” – Adri said and off we went.
Finally, we reached the Pamir road running parallel to Piandj River and Afghanistan.
Abridged by “Pamir” book:
“Pamir tract has a long history. In the 30-s, the road only connected Osh and Khorog and ended in near Piandj River. One would have to take walking tours or caravan trails to reach the capital and other urban communites and that could last for months”.
Pamir Road. 30-s of the 20th Century.
In the 40-s the construction of the new road quaked the whole Tajikistan. Construction was planned to take five years. There was nothing in the world to challenge its complexity and heights, as well as rock solidity. The 567km road was built in 104 days – five kilos a day and those were some kilos! Peasants were making fires high in the mountains. When rocks heated, they would pour cold water and the rocks would go in fractures. Peasants would put sticks in those fractures and make brushwood flooring. Thus, they fought off each meter of upright cliffs, where they would also have to lift boxes with explosives.
Construction of Newpamirsky Tract to Tajikistan Capital. 1940.
Unbelievable , but then, communists of Tajikistan organized a bicycle journey in celebration of the road construction fulfillment!!! 29 Sep. Stalinobad, the present Dushanbe – Horog – Stalinobad – 1,090 kilos in 181 hrs and 11 mins!!
Afghan settlements on the other side of Piandj River. They do not have vehicle roads running parallel to river to connect villages, only ovring, so they really live at the edge of the world”.
Afghan ovring on the other side. Its width varies from 0.5 to 2 meters. No transports. So, you can take a tour on the donkey, in the best case.
Afghanis refurbishing their overings (Rarmchamshy Area)
Along Piandj River.
Different Piandj River some 60 kilos before Khorog. River bed expands to several hundred meters and water looks almost still.
Coasts now are all flat and broad, so villages follow one another and the biggest is Rushan. All villages are located along one main alley – the Pamir Tract M41. You gotta be very attentive while driving through those villages, especially in the evening when people come outdoors to chat with neighbors and stay on the road
We reached Khorog by night and decided not to stay and proceed onwards to Gamrchashma. It is a unique hot springs place 40 kilos away from Khorog. Locals advise to take a hot bath and go to sleep before going to highlands - for faster acclimatization. We went up early and postponed the bath until morning. Spent a night in a good guest house.
to be continued