Day 21: From Green Fields into the Desert
After our rest day in Golestan, we started today our path towards Mashhad. And Golestan National Park remained tricky terrain for biking. It continued going up and down for the first 30 km through wonderful green fields and small canyons. And then suddenly the climate changes. Only a few km after the last pass in Golestan we found ourselves in desert climate again. Everything was dry, water was scarce (even in the toilets). It is impressive to see how the humid air that gets transported from the Caspian Sea gets rained out on the hills of Golestan and afterwards it is very dry climate.
Uphill through the Steppes
After another 30 km through steppes the region got a bit greener again, there was obviously water to be found. We cycled through a wide valley which was full of agriculture and a beauty to watch. The only problem was, we had head wind and the road was climbing steadily for at least 30-40 km, letting us advance at speeds of 15 km/h. Not optimal to reach our daily target Ashkhaney.
More Police Controls
Today did not pass without any police controls either. In Golestan, we were first contacted by a civil police car, who then called the police. They turned up in a pickup and ordered us to follow them. The only problem: the police post was on top of a hill, so we followed them with 5 km/h uphill. Apart from stealing us important time, it also stole some of our energy. This ascent was not planned. The control itself then was harmless and we were even offered some tea. Through the steppes then another civil policeman stopped us and accompanied us with 15 km/h for at least half an hour. I still don’t understand what the problem is, but also this was harmless.
Night on a Farm
Due to the tough conditions, we did not make it to Ashkhaney unfortunately, so we asked some local farmers if we could set up our tent on their fields. And while doing so, a customer of that farm who bought some eggs and a live chicken (that was meant for dinner), offered us to stay in a room in his own farm. This was very welcome after a very hard day of cycling.
Max elevation: 1226 m
Min elevation: 412 m
Total climbing: 1850 m
Total descent: -1575 m
Total Time: 10:32:19