Despite the strong tail blowing us to Murghab, we were not quite so lucky heading away from Murghab. It was the first time I considered putting music on to deal with the long straights climbing ever so slightly and with the tedious head wind. Alan was struggling with the day until after a restful lunch by a clear creek.
We were aiming for the last known water source about 20km before the highest pass of the trip, Akbitail Pass at 4600m. When the river we were following dried up we turned back a km to where we last had running water. A Swiss couple, Katrin and Sven camped at the same spot and by the end of the day we were joined by a Spanish cyclist and 2 young Danish lads. Busy spot!
We had another early start to avoid the potential of wind and had a beautiful ride up to the pass – the last 4km had us puffing and panting and our tortoise approach saw us at the top before the Spanish hare.
The descent was stunning but a rough 20km of bad road, corrugations galore.
Below the road I spotted the ruin of a caravanserai and suggested we stop early. It was a beautiful spot and there was good shelter within the ruin to get out of the building wind. We looked out over a wide river bed that initially we thought was salt plains but then realised it was snow. Katrin and Sven thought it was a good call when they turned up a bit later.
A caravanserai is an inn/staging post with a central courtyard for the Silk Road travellers way back when – pity they weren’t still selling beers today!
Even though we were still at 4200m we had a warm night and enjoyed a sweet ride the next morning through to the beautiful Kara Kul (Kul meaning lake) – no wind and good early morning light. We treated ourselves to the Homestay Atgerin and a relaxing afternoon.
We have only a day and a little bit to get to the Kyrgyzstan border…