Friday, September 1, 2006

Near Karakul

Not long after we broke camp at the police checkpoint at Ghez the road started to rise. As we'd pushed ourselves rather hard the previous day we decided to take it slow. We had 1600m to gain & didn't want to blow out.

The scenery continued to be spectacular with Kongur Shan snow covered lower slopes coming into view from time to time. The Ghez canyon that we were ascending didn't make easy terrain to build a road in & was constantly trying to take the land back, with rock falls partially covering & the river undermining the road from time to time. I take my hat off to the Chinese for putting so much into keeping the road open & in such good condition.

Up to now I've been very impressed with the roads in China. That with the great food, interesting landscape & pretty friendly people makes the place a good choice for a tour.

At the top of the Ghez canyon, about 3300, the valley widened. We passed by a couple of isolated Kyrgyz settlements. In Kyrgyzstan at such places we'd be mobbed by smiling waving kids. The reception was much more muted. The only people who greeted us wanted to sell us something. At one we went to get some bread & drinking water. At the house we visited a hard bargaining session commenced. I made the mistake of taking out my money & accidentally letting the other party see how much money I had, a lesson learned for next time.

We camped at about 3400m between the Ghez river & the highway right under Kongur Shan & across from Mustagh Ata. Sunset dramatically lit both up. I hope for something equal or better at Sunrise.

I cycled 73 km in 6 hours & 46 minutes
Total so far 10442 km in 157 days
GPS Coordinates of end point - N 38°1.844, E 75°.937

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