Monday, May 15, 2006

Near Robat-e Posht-e Badam

In the morning, along the way to Kharanaq I noticed a couple more tight clusters of greenery, like the one that hosted me during the night. I wondered whether finding water in the desert might be easier than I had thought earlier. For the rest of the day I didn't see any others. I formed a theory that such springs are only likely to be found where there is a mountain above to hold the water & accessible when there is a town around to enable the spring to be developed. In fact it wasn't that hard to get water from other sources, from towns, houses & even passing motorists. Even so I carried a lot of water, always having enough that I didn't touch my last couple of litres. At one point I was carrying over 10 litres, but that included enough for cooking as well as a day's drinking supply.

There were a couple of interesting towns, Kharanaq & Saghand, along the way, both had old centres that had been completely abandoned for more modern dwellings built next to the old town. Both old towns were built like castles. Houses in them were more like suites of rooms rather than separate dwellings. There weren't any streets, just passages. Kharanaq is already on the tourist map & parts of it are being done up.

The heat was quite bearable. Only at midday when I dropped into a trough between 2 ridges was it strong. For most of the day I had a breeze to keep me cool.

I passed by an interesting looking abandoned settlement. Clearly it had been populated not too long ago as there were recognisably ploughed fields. It was hard to see where the necessary water would have come from, presumably a qanat or underground chanel from a spring. It had been important enough that it had a pair of castles, one built within the last 150 years & another much older.

As the afternoon progressed it clouded over, which was nice as the temperature dropped to a reasonable 34° C. It threatened to rain, a few drops fell but not enough to be refreshing. After I set up camp a thunderstorm developed. With the temperature inside the tent at around 30° C I hoped for cooling rain. Instead I got very strong gusts of wind. Earlier when the wind was lower I had set up the tent across the wind to provide shelter for cooking. This turned out to be a very foolish move as the gusts tore the tent apart. It didn't help that the pegs didn't hold well in the stony sandy earth. Only when I reinforced the pegs with rocks was I able to relax & sleep.

I cycled 125 km in 7 hours & 30 minutes
Total so far 4781 km in 67 days
GPS Coordinates of end point - N 32°49.950, E 55°26.926

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