Murghab, Tajikistan: Roof of the World

Trip Start Jul 28, 2013
Trip End Feb 06, 2014

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Flag of Tajikistan  , Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Pr,
Sunday, November 10, 2013

A strange phenomenon is occurring - for the third day running I have woken naturally before 0630. What's going on?! This morning I was awake at 0530 creating an assortment of canapés in my head. Starting to make myself hungry I then switched to my book at 0600. All this mountain air must be getting to me.

Upon leaving Langar we started our ascent up into the sky where we passed the tree line and were greeted by vistas appearing more superimposed than real. Vicious peaks jackknifed into the sky then dropped away to form glaciers and gullies to the valley far below. Having left the Pyanj River we joined another border river to Afghanistan, The Pamir, which was less ferocious but equally splendid. At one stage whilst watching icicles cling to rocks and sheets of ice flow down stream we spotted a horse and camel caravan meandering along the opposite bank.

Our journey from Langar to Murghab took some 250km and over three passes above 4,300m. The town of Murghab it situated at 3,576m. Possibly enough to feel the effects of altitude but with my banging head cold it's much of a muchness. After leaving the Pamir River we passed through a police check point and bid farewell to the beautiful landscapes of Afghanistan. Now surrounded completely by Tajikistan we rejoined the Pamir Highway and drove through barren plateaus towards burnt orange and red mountains.

We stopped off for a lunch of yak steaks at a place called Alichur. A nondescript small town rising from the moonscape and disappearing equally as quick. A stop gap for Chinese truckers and the home of possibly the cutest little bear puppy I've ever seen. After lunch we continued to spot yaks grazing in fields and a salt lake which Sam insisted getting out of the car to walk down to. I made it about half way before calling it quits. It was far too cold and windy to risk frostbite. As cameraman for this here blog it was Sam's duty to soldier on and secure some Kodak moments.

With minimal snow on the ground we made Murghab in good time. I think we left around 0930 and arrived by 1500. With not an awful lot to see I chose to stay inside by the fire whilst Sam went in search of some necessities - toilet paper, water and a Swiss Roll which apparently makes the cut.

Ergash has disappeared to a friends house. We have dinner at 6pm - noodles with fried potato. We've both discovered we're meat snobs and choose to eat vegetarian rather than gnash our jowls over gristly pieces of meat which have been hanging god knows where for god knows how long. Funny thing is it's probably a lot fresher than anything we eat at home.

Our original plan for tomorrow was to stop overnight in Karakul but with clear roads that's only a few hours drive away. So now we are probably going to stop there for late breakfast/early lunch, cross the border into Kyrgyzstan and continue all the way to Osh. 400+ km - simples. Having not showered since Khorog and there being no sign of a shower tonight, I think it's a wise decision.

Distance travelled (Langar - Murghab): 250km

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