We woke up in Khorog to sunny weather and clear skies. Our original plan was to go to Ishkoshim, but the hostel owner said the road to Ishkoshim and the Wakhan Valley was still closed, now shut for the fifth day. The boulders were so big that they need to dynamite the rocks in order to move it. So we settled on going to Murghab.
Kids were still getting ready to go to school in the breakfast area, so they told us to eat in the family kitchen. There, we met the hostel’s mother. She saw our nuts bag (almonds, walnuts and raisins) and grabbed some without asking. But we were ok with it. She offered us bread in return.
With help of Google Translate, we managed to have a conversation. She’s 65 years old and a retired teacher. Her average salary was 250TJS ($29.49) /month. She has four children, three are in Khorog and the fourth is living in the UK.
After a quick fill-up of petrol from a tank in the back (Dushanbe gas is good. Khorog gas is not.), we said our goodbyes and left at around 09:00.
We left the Panj River and the Afghan border and started following the Southern Toguzulok River (южный тогузбулок). Officially, we were finally on the Pamir Highway. I could feel my ears popping as we started going higher in altitude.
At around 10:45, we encountered a part of the road that had been covered by an avalanche. It was massive.
We were told a tractor was coming soon, so we decided to have an early lunch.
The tractor came at 14:45. As it started to work, we could clearly see the scope of the avalanche. It was at least 2m high and 10 car lengths wide.
Taalay said it should take an hour or so. At around 16:00, people started trekking over the snow carrying their luggage with them. Shared taxis on either side of the avalanche was willing to turn around and go back to their starting point as long as the passengers brought their stuff over themselves. It was funny to watch a guy try to carry a boy bicycle while balancing his backpack on it while going over snow. From the other side, parts of a cow were slowly brought over.
By 18:45, the tractor ran out of diesel. The clear blue skies had turned into whiteness with a downfall of slushy rain. Many had already given up for the day and returned to Khorog. We still stayed.
Our drivers donated some of the petrol in the back of the Land Cruiser. At around 19:45, we saw bright lights coming from the other side. People honked and cheered. We drove by the tractor driver who worked nonstop for five hours and gave him a thumbs up.
Determined to make some progression, we drove until Jelondy, a hot springs area. It was 21:00 when we arrived. We drank some salty milk tea, a typical Pamir breakfast, and crashed.
A stay at the Jelondy hotel costs 60TJS ($7.07) for the both of us, no meals. We also had access to the hot springs in the hotel, but we left our swim stuff in the car.
- Number of kilometers driven: 91
- Number of checkpoints: 1
- Number of roadblocks: 1
- Number of bribes: 0