First Day Walking
Trip Start Mar 23, 2012
35Trip End Apr 22, 2012
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Where I stayed
The village had a school nestled in between the dwellings and animal paddocks. There were goats and camels penned next to the houses. Small gardens of firewood trees were planted in the lee of the walls. The way of life appeared not to have changed for centuries, if you ignored the satellite dishes stuck to the flat roofs and the motorbikes parked nearby.
The route followed the river Surukwat, which had limestone mountains rising on both sides. There was a small amount of ascent, which was enough to make me breathless. Come midday I was really feeling the heat, so I draped my silk scarf over my head to keep the sun off my neck. Charles and Chris pointed out I hadn't drunk more than half a litre of water in one of the driest places on Earth. Once they put it like that I got the idea and drinking more made me feel much better.
Eventually we caught up with the rest of the group, who were having a rest. The second we sat down Akbar blew a whistle for everyone to get up again and set off. A whistle? Seriously? I'm not a dog. I could see that the whistle was going to be inserted somewhere painful by the end of the trek if he kept blowing it. I studiously ignored the summons to keep going, as did Bishnu, Charles, Chris and Hira.
The descent to the river was several hundred metres down an awesome path along the side of the cliff face. It wound back and forth, clinging to the cliff. Opposite, the cliffs appeared to have great buttresses reaching down to the semi-frozen river.
As we were sitting by the river having lunch, the camel train caught us up
Actually it only took 20 minutes to get to camp, even at my slow plod. The gel insoles Nick and the kids had bought me before I left seemed to be working well. My feet were in pretty good shape and there was no return of the policeman's heel that had bugged my training for the trip.
We passed the remotest homes in the world, which we later discovered belonged to some of the camel herders. A woman with two small children followed us into camp and helped unload the camels. (She may have been Cosimo's wife - I never did find out for sure.) We put up the tents and sorted the kitbags.
Akbar had different expectations as to what the 'adventure' consisted of
Anyway, after a lie down, we were all summoned to dinner by the whistle. Akbar was really cruising for a bruising on that one. John W pointed out that the whistle would still continue to blow, even if I did insert it in the orifice I'd suggested.
Nominations for the panda and monkey went to David for miscounting something and Mo for having an unfortunate rugby incident. Simon, mad fool, had brought a rugby ball with him and several of the guys had spent about ten minutes chasing it around the campsite until the thin air caused them to wheeze to a halt. Mo had managed to half cripple himself in a groin-related mis-catch.
Mo was collecting data for a future presentation to some work colleagues. He had along a little bit of kit that measured blood oxygen saturation and heart rate. The first measurement showed that we were all fairly hypoxic. If we'd been in a hospital, they would have put us on oxygen.
Sarak height 3600m. My Sats 89% Heart Rate 111.