Posts Tagged ‘Safedoron’


The road was steep. And rocky. The sun was shining, and the air was clear. And, man, it was beautiful. We bumped down along a stunning valley with sheer vertical walls. Little white ribbons of water slipping down the grass faces from the snow patches above. We made it all the way down to the vertical wall of rock – the Afghanistan border.

On the way down

On the way down

I have always been afraid of technical things. Getting your hands dirty. Fixing things that break. I see this bike trip as kind of like being in a relationship. Sometimes one is confronted with one’s fears. (Being single, you can just avoid the fears.) My fear is fixing the bike. Working out how devices I am carrying work. Adjusting everything properly. What if I do it wrongly and everything goes pear-shaped?
I am now proud to say that I have readjusted my panniers, tightened all the screws, and swapped my front and back tyre. I have also been frustrated and embarrassed at the eons I take to filter water. Something is wrong, and I need to work out what it is.

Tightening the screws

Tightening the screws

Today every screw was tested on the bike for tightness. It was a ragged old road. Rocks. Sand. Mud. Big holes. And, it was really fun, jiggling down the mountain in the warm sun. Every turn brought a new cry of joy. What an amazing view.

Pamir Highway 2015

Pamir Highway 2015

Ribbon of water

Ribbon of water

Switch-backs

Switch-backs


‘It’s a big switchback – just skirting around a stream – probably not very steep.’ We chuckled later as we gazed towards the heavens, admiring the switchback from below. We climbed very high, and are in awe at the beauty of this valley.

Looking down at our climb

Looking down at our climb

I am the pupil and this terrain is my teacher. I have not cycled along such roads – my bike and myself are rattled to the bones. I lost a pannier screw, and had to use a less crucial screw from another pannier as a replacement. The muddy sludge wedged its way between the tyre and the mud-guards and break pads. I had to regularly squirt them down to keep the wheel turning. Stream crossings also helped in dislodging the mud.
I have not cycled past such remote villages where the shops are bare – the people grow and make their own food. My food stocks are dwindling as the shops only have lollies and biscuits (and soap, fluffy teddy bears and Barbie dolls). Lucky we bought pasta earlier.
People don’t drink bottled water (which is good). I feel bad about having used bottled water up to now. So many plastic bottles (even if I always disposed of them correctly). I now filter the stream water – with my very very slow filter. You realise the importance of water when you have to squeeze every drop you drink through a ceramic filter. And scaling mountains is thirsty work.

On the way

On the way

Outside the shop

Outside the shop

We are staying in an abandoned hut high above the valley. What a spectacular place to have dinner and sleep. We are truly blessed.

Our dinner view

Our dinner view