Today, we started the day with a bath in the hot springs of Yamchun. The spring is located 600 m above the valley floor on a steep and rough road, so for once we moved there with the car of last night’s host. Only after that we started cycling towards Langar, the last village in the Tajik Wakhan Valley.
Typical Pamir houses
The family where we spent last night was living in a typical Pamir house. This means that the house is basically one story high and has a big living room (where we as guests usually sleep) with an opening in the ceiling so when making fire inside, the smoke can escape. I am not sure however if people still make fire inside their homes and hence this hole in the ceiling is still useful.
Usually there is a small garden around the house were people plant vegetables, and a place where the goats and cows stay overnight. All in all, these houses are usually very simple places, just like the lives of those people.
Hot Springs and Fortress
High above the valley floor at Yamchun, there are the “Bibi Fatima” hot springs as well as the Yamchun Fortress, a more or less preserved fortress. The hot springs of Bibi Fatima were nice, however they cannot keep up with Garmchashma, which we visited 3 days ago. From outside it does not look inviting at all, but once you enter the building, you get to a cave where hot water is coming out of the rock walls. In the end it was still a good start in the day.
On the way down to the valley, we also visited the ruins of Yamchun fortress. The remaining stones however were not that impressive, however, from up there one can overlook the wide Wakhan valley with the snowy peaks on the Afghan and Pakistani side.
Starting to cycle – or not
Because of our morning program, we only were ready to start cycling shortly before 11:00. At least we thought so. When I took my bike and wanted to load it with the bags, I noticed that I had a puncture in the front wheel. So this had to be fixed, which delayed us by another 30 minutes.
The road to Langar
The road presented itself from the worst side yesterday afternoon. Luckily, on today’s 40 km segment, the road was much more suitable for bicycles, only a few kilometers were still either deep sand or big rocks. So we reached Langar in less than 4 hours. Tonight we will stay in a homestay, which in contrast to staying with a family is a commercial offer. But we still stay at a local family’s home.
Tough day tomorrow
Tomorrow we start the steep climb towards Khargush Pass. We will have to climb 1400 m over a distance of roughly 80 km, which does not seems like much, but given the elevation of 4344 m, the thin air will slow us down a lot. We plan to reach the pass only on day 3 of our climb.
As this part of Tajikistan is not covered by a cell phone network, the journals for those days will follow with a few days of delay, depending on when we will have network again.
Max elevation: 2867 m
Min elevation: 2765 m
Total climbing: 709 m
Total descent: -618 m
Total time: 05:39:15