August 31, 2007 – Crossing the Bridge to Civilization

Beautifulview of breathtaking Tajik Lake

After we reached that lake down at the bottom of the moraine fields, surrounded by mountain walls even in the darkness we knew that we had reached the spot of one of the very most beautiful lakes in all the Fan mountains and that’s saying a lot. We had seen a lot of photographs of it before we came here.

Sophie and the staff have established a beautiful little camp right on the lakeshore. We got filled in after one of her excellent meals and slept another one of our great deep sleeps in the mountains. The next morning we got up and spent a long time just photographing the lake and the scenery around us and we set out walking on our last day of trekking in the Fan Mountains.                  

Our cook, Sophia, celebrates arriving at the top of Chimtarga passI can tell you that this group would not have been able to do the walking that they did when they began this trip only less than a week ago but on this last day, we were quite the experienced trekking group as we went up and down and over a glacial moraine and later down a long, long beautiful valley enjoying the scenery all around us.

We finally got down to the road head after about nine hours of walking. Linda turned to me and said, “It had been a perfect trip.” It was hard to imagine how great this trek would be and we can think back to the tour of the Silk Road at the beginning of this adventure and it seems like another trip at another time.

As we walked across the last bridge over to the road, Fyodor said just as he had done when we began our trip said, “This is symbolic, we’re walking across this bridge and we’re leaving the Fan Mountains and the beautiful wilderness and returning to civilization.

Civilization was a dirt road, a 9km ride down a dirt road in a rickety old vehicle but it was beautiful and we are still very much in the mountains. Tajikistan is about mountains, it is mountain culture and people live in the mountains here. So, now we’re staying at a family’s home in a village not far from the trail head. I’m calling you from a beautiful grove of apple trees. We were very welcomed last night as they took us into their home. We had a big party with all our staff, our last night in Tajikistan.

The traditional Tajik taxis

Today, we’re heading back to Samarkand, the five of us as well as our eight Russian and Uzbek staff. Samarkand seems like a long ways from here, a gleaming city compared to a simple rustic mountain village. We are still in Central Asia and having a great time and we are going to report to you in our final days of this adventure.

My congratulations to this group on completing a very rigorous and demanding, but also a very rewarding and beautiful trek through the Fan Mountains.

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