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Published: December 5th 2021
Yamg to Langar to Bachor
Driving Distance- 270km
Sleeping altitude 3370m
Highest point altitude -4360m
Take a walk through the village this morning, first to the site of the stone pillar that the Sufi mystic, Muabara Kadam Wakhani (there are multiple spellings of everything here, you will see the K and Q are pretty interchangeable), fashioned into a solar calendar. We then reach the museum which is a reconstructed Wakhan house, each of the rooms displaying various artifacts, books, poems, letters and display boards. The usual TJS 10 admission (you should all know this is AUD $1.24 by now). It's a fascinating stop and the caretakers are proud of their heritage. I keep wishing I could spend a full day in each of these villages. I also really like the way the walls and gates are painted here- it is quite different to see pastel shades. The ibex and Marco Polo sheep horns decorate the gates, this becomes an increasingly common sight as my journey progresses. But no more wanderings... time to get back on the schedule.
Back in the car for the drive to Langar to see the Bronze Age petroglyphs. On the
way we stop to pick up 2 sets of old women, Mohammed asks me if it's ok as some tourists are not so keen. I think it's really interesting and we have an enormous car with just the three of us. The first set are elderly, one is 74. She offers us money when she gets out, we put it back in her apron. The second set are younger and speak only Wakhi, we drop them where they indicate. All the while the fields are being harvested by family groups. At Langar we park amongst the back lanes, there are many interesting old cars and assorted vehicles... and cats, lots of cats. The houses are predominantly flat roofed with hay being dried/stored on them. This is the town where the Wakhan and Pamir Rivers join to become the Pyanj River. The valley is very fertile, hence the position of the villages. The granite hill behind the village that we climb sits at about 3300m, it's not too big a killer. Lots of petroglyphs (reportedly around 6000), mainly ibex. There are also hunting scenes, goats and deers as well as arabic symbols. Shame about the more modern graffiti and damage to
the old ones. We find a fairly unusual green stone up there, no clue what it is but not one that I've seen before in the granite I am used to, I leave it there. Stellar views of the Pamirs.
Back in the car..... drive, drive, drive along the changing landscapes of the Pamir Highway. Marmots! Camels- specifically Bactrian Camels! Definitely a picnic spot here. We walk down towards the river to the group of camels, marmot mounds everywhere. The camels are in varying conditions, some with humps that have collapsed, regardless they are impressive beasts. Within waving distance of Afghanistan I boil my gas stove for tea (our only hot water source at the moment after the leaking gas bottle disaster) amongst the high pitched marmot squeaks. Lunch over, back in the car on the dusty, bumpy road which weirdly becomes paved for all of 2 km's (tops). Here we find 2 stranded Russians who have abandoned their malfunctioning motorbike (they leave it with the keys). Mohammed is on his phone within minutes- his cousin scores a bike! We hit another border post checkpoint followed by a couple of immense salt lakes. This is the drop point for
the Russians. There are 2 Australians here who are hitching around Central Asia, the guy is the same age as Callum and is from Dianella, there's every chance they have crossed paths given Mount Lawley Primary School and Dianella Primary competed at interschool athletic carnivals and chess games! We leave the 4 of them waiting for the next lift.
The afternoon is full of massive landscapes, dry and dusty. We take in Chukurkul Lake and 2 high passes- Khargush (4344m) and Koitezek (4271m), the vegetation changes as the air thins, it's a lunar landscape at times, I spot my first rabbit. We end up in Jelondy- an old Soviet resort "spa" where the waters are fed by the numerous hot springs in the area. This one is different again. It's like a recreation centre with halls and lockers and male and female bathing pools. I know the drill by now and am enjoying these opportunities. One of Bakaar's uncles possibly has a stake in the place, I don't know when it was first established but there is an old coloured glass dome visible from the outside, there has been a lot of building around it so you can't really
Yamg Observatoy Stone
Information stone for Sufi Mubarak Qadam -1843-1903, village atronomer, musician and mystic. The Wakhan House Museum is a reconstruction of his house.
appreciate it from inside. The only source of info that I have seen referring to it is on https://caravanistan.com/tajikistan/pamirs/jelondy/
(they have some great photos) -another fascinating side trip... We leave at 3:30- Bachor is still another 4 hours of driving away.
We turn off the Pamir Highway to finally arrive into Bachor at 7:30, Bachor is a small farming village, I'm looking forward to seeing more of it in the daylight. Tonight we are staying at Guisimo Homestay. Desperate for the loo I make my way to the nearest squat toilet only afterwards to be shown the brand new European style one that they have just built, it was amusing. We discuss plans for the next few trekking days- we are going to drop a day in order to spend extra time in Alichur (Mohammed's village). Not too sure how it'll all pan out but I'm not worried and I figure it'll give us all a day off - I tell Mohammed that I'm really happy for him and Bakaar to have some down time. A local fellow turns up- he is our donkey man for the Gunt Valley trek. We share an interesting dinner- thin potato soup with
Mubarak Qadam used this stone pillar and hole to observe the position of the sun and the moon to calculate the solar calender
spaghetti noodles and excellent bread, the usual biscuits, sweets, almonds and apricot kernels with tea are also served up in one of the Pamiri style rooms. My room for the night is on a carpeted platform in a communal sleeping room, Guisimo (the lady home stay owner) is very animated and friendly. She has me organised with a sleeping mat and thick quilt. She is keen for me to use her new bathroom complete with a running water flush... BYO toilet paper.
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