Up at 6:45, lv at 8 am...great hot shower/bath, first in 4 days altho the hot springs yesterday did a fine job on the bod as well.
Just out of town we pass the bridge to Afghan where they have a Sat market on the bridge, we miss it by a day...on down the road, now paved and a bit wider, the river valley widens considerable and we see much more agric on Afghan side across the valley, especially on the alluvial fans formed by rivers coming out of the Hindu Kush. The wide valley also makes for incr agric on the Tajik side, even pasture w/ many cows in/near one village. Hundreds of goats as well. Then we get to a place where river is very narrow & we can almost toss a stone over to Afghan side, we see people & can wave to them(they do not wave back) also they turn their back - purposefully? - when they realize we are taking photos.
Abch village...came to a very narrow canyon w/ huge boulders, water rushing thru class 6 + great standing waves!! Supposedly near where ruby mine is odometer 42499 to 5 now widens & shallow rapids, then great open area w/ many tall Lombardy-type poplar, village at end of huge canyon joining river from Tajik side...lots of newly planted willow along the road. Very fine, gray sand sediment in/along river the whole way. 42510 - huge rapids & narrow gorge.
Just realized NO LITTER of any kind, the whole way!!
Bogz - village, another great one!
Houses are stone covered w/ stucco, rectangular w/ flat roof & skylight, put the hay etc on flat roof to store/dry. Ladder up to roof. Stopped near ruby mine 'traded' for bottle opener.
42519 MORE FANTASTIC RAPIDS to 42527 back to intermittant gravel/rough road.
Now very beautiful, high waterfall(vetapot in Russian?)
We turn up a side canyon(10 am) at Anderob & drive 7 km to Garam Chashma hot springs. At the hotspring, water spirts out the top of a giant mushroom shaped calcium deposited rock and flows down the sides to where they channel it to rooms. Much more developed w/ sep. rooms so no waiting for women alternating w/ men...altho the other was much more natural setting right below rock where water comes directly out. Here it is channelled into rooms - not communal, more private. It is nonetheless an exhilarating experience. The drive up is another of the seemingly endless wonders of the natural world, here rushing creek/stream, poplar & willow trees, greenery and just footseps away cliff rock talis on both sides. Altho small patches of flat areas up high where no doubt springs provide water for small plots of wheat/potato??!!
Odometer 42549...on to Khorugh, 46 km from here...actually, 42590.
42551 THE MOST INCREDIBLE RAPIDS I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! +Afghan path to house of rock high in cliffs above on opposite side from Tajik.
Just 10 km from Khorugh, road becomes 2 1/2 lanes, fully paved in decent shape.
Arr 2:30...start in Margab,42020 end 22592