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Published: November 21st 2021
Chukurak Lake (2350m) to Kulikalon Lake (2980m). High point for day 3190 m- elevation gain 840m, loss 210 m
Slept really well in between waking for the donkey calling then walking for Max (the dog)- consensus is that there was probably a wolf around. By final morning wake up Max is gone. I'm up at 0527, no one else is, it's very peaceful, and for the first time in days I feel like food. Pack up my tent- try to do it surreptitiously but there is no escape the helping hands. I will have to try pack up even earlier tomorrow. Pack my pack while Mohammed is whipping up b/f- he's made porridge with condensed milk and apples- damn good. We also have bread and jam and instant coffee. Excellent start. At 0845 we are off and immediately climbing. I am immediately puffing and panting, hard to believe that not a massive hill can make you (me) so breathless. My heart is also pounding and my legs absolutely heavy... I am SO slow. We make the first of today's lakes- The Stink Lake, for obvious reasons, in 11 minutes. Reach a pasture like area
at the "top" of the hill at 0948 and are "greeted " by 1 dog (not placid Max) and then 5 aggressively barking dogs. Instinctively I pick up a rock. Sharaf gets the shepherds attention who resolves the situation. The shepherd is looking after 1000 brown sheep and a bunch of goats. Ascending that part of the hill is much quicker, I swear I nearly die, but the dogs come back and have a second crack at us which brings me back to life. They withdraw, we take off and have a 5min rest under a tree before they are back for a 3rd time! With leaden legs I press on but notice that Mohammed is now up front with the donkeys and Sharaf has assumed the rear- this is a definite change of positioning for our trio- I think Sharaf is watching my back and shepherding me up that hill. We reach the "very top" of the hill, minus the attack dogs, at 1053. We drop our stones. You know, I have read accounts of people solo or couple trekking here- OMG, apart from my inability to get from a to b without getting lost, I can't imagine having
to deal with a pack of angry, salivating dogs as well. I am grateful for my companions.
Well... the top of the hill... Seriously, yet another scene of amazingness. I take a pano shot behind of how far we have come... quite a way by my estimation. In front of me are peaks, snowy mountains and the big lake. Stunning. At 3190m ASL I take too many more photos. Mohammed is keen for me to hand over my phone and take some pics. Quick observation- Mary (from previous travels) is a better photographer than Mohammed (he takes lots of selfies with my phone, not so many of me). So, phone away, we cross a windy saddle (?Govkhona Pass) before descending to the big lake. Rapid descent, easier to run than walk actually. We reach the bank at 1147, picnic time, coffee. My all purpose sarong becomes the table cloth. Watermelon, cucumber, cheese, bread and crackers. So good. The cows are grazing, the donkeys are fighting before being pacified with watermelon rind. Everyone takes a nap, including the cows, between 1 and 2. As we head off we pass and Afghan camp.
The afternoon is a more gently paced
climb (or is this the Govkhona Pass- I am utterly confused with what has been written on the travel itinerary and what later Mohammed is telling me we have done- I should have had a map!), it's easier to keep up. The glacier in the distance looms larger and eventually we hit a river with 5 criss cross streams. We are at Kulikalon Lake. The decision to camp where we do seems to be related to a conveniently stacked pile of firewood (????), I am very pleased with the spot- clear blue water, massive glacier, AWESOME. I decide to pitch my tent to the view- WOW. Once again there are 3 of us trying to pitch my tent. I surrender... 83 photos later and a solo walk.... what an afternoon. In awe.
Dinner is once again in the big tent. Tonight Sharaf has made a noodle/onion/cabbage/potato concoction that is very delicious. The chill sets in - layer up with 2 tshirts, LS merino, long johns, pants, fleece, goretex, socks and sandals. We enjoy an excellent fire with the glacier as the back drop. The smell of juniper is in the air. The donkeys get tied up near the fire
and we wash up the dishes in the stagnantish section of water (I suspect the same spot as our kettle gets refilled from).
Sleep with the fly open on a bright night. It's a big moon on that glacier view.
Tot: 0.05s; Tpl: 0.022s; cc: 14; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0084s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb