10-11-2013, 06:30 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
On foot to the end of the Road.
57km's. It doesn't sound like much but when you're on foot it suddenly changes from less than an hours ride to multiple days to your destination. I Pack just the essentials; Tent, sleeping pad/Bag, Stove, food and some clothing for the constantly changing weather conditions. I set out back the way I had ridden the day before. On the right side of the river as the left had fewer villages and the river was running a good 5ft over the road. It was 2-3 km upto where I had taken the ural to the washed out road and bridge. The first crossing was just more of an inconvenience having to walk up and down the rocky river banks to find a safe crossing. The 2nd the swollen stream was just 3-4 wide but was immensely powerful with the noise of aggregate and rocks being washed down making an impression. Here i met locals on both sides of the bank, they both making hand gestures that I should stay in the nearby village for the night and wait for the water to drop by the following morning, but having only come 2-3km i really felt i needed to make some progress for day 1. We walk up stream towards the mountains hoping for a narrow section with large enough boulders to jump from one to another in order to cross. Every couple of minutes the locals would be yelling at me, its not possible!, turn back! this would only give me motivation for continuing and finding a way, perhaps after an hour of clambering over boulders one boy shouts and points out that I can cross here, I follow his finger to only see a suicide crossing, we continue on, he points out more and more "crossings" he must be getting tired as they are more and more unlikely. we start to enter the canyon after one more hour we all point out to one another a possible crossing worthy of closer inspection. it comprises of a series of large boulders in the river with the white water breaking over the tops of the rocks. the locals are so excited they take off their shoes and jump from one to another and after 5 jumps they have crossed with big smiles and looking back at me as if to say "common! it's easy!" I climb down the bank to the waters edge. its a different perspective here with the massive volume of water passing dominating all thoughts in my head. One of the local boys offers to take my pack, i reluctantly pass it on, but he's passed already in his bare feet. my turn. From boulder to boulder i have both a local pushing me off and one other catching me and pulling me onto the next. once I pass to the other side, the coldness of the water catches up with me, I take a minute to empty my boots, ring my socks and give my numb feet a quick rub before i continue.
Over the course of the next 2.5 days (25hrs) of walking I mostly stick to single track as the road quickly vanishes after a bridge spanning the Amu to the left banks established road. I could have made better time as every village I walked through I was offered tea, bread and yogurt and a place to sleep if i so choose. The first night I camped close to one with villagers coming to my tent in a constant stream delivering food and inquisitive stares. The second night a pleasant home stay with few words communicated between us. By the 3rd day my shoulders and back ached while my feet were raw with blisters thanks to my US commando boots that I picked up back in bishkek. As i closed in on sarhad, it seemed like the more river crossings i had, I became too tired to even bother taking my boots off and crossed with them on knowing sarhad had to be less than 30minutes away. I arrived in Sarhad feeling like i had just crossed an imaginary finish line, The bed i lay down in being my prize, for 2 days I just ate, rested my feet, read and slept. Glorious.
Camping in the Wakhan.
Little Bo Peeps.
In Nepal kids ask for pens, In India everyone asks for money, But here the oldies ask for Ibuprofen.
Collecting fuel for making the Tea.
I was walking though the village of Chel khan, just before Sarhad where I had sat down on what I thought was some rubble, Then a lady named Barrt comes out of it and invites me inside, She makes me a place to rest and is not happy until I eat all of her bread and yoghurt that she gives me, She disappears for 15minutes and brings back numerous villagers, one being an english teacher. He asks me why i am staying in the poorest house in the village? I tell him because its the most interesting. He tells me Barrt has been yelling throught he village "I've got a foreigner in my house!" "I've got a..." He asks if I have a camera and once Barrt see's that I do, she springs up and tells me through the English teacher "Take a photo of me!" and she proceeds to show off her wool spinning skills, I show her - her photo on my camera screen and she is super happy. I give a donation for her food and hospitality as they will never ask for one, before I struggle onto Sarhad.
Coming into Sarhad-e-Broghil, end of the road.