24

View from the Summit

Simon

Lanzhou – China

It’s crazy what can happen in 24 hours. Yesterday, Fearghal recieved news on a family matter in Ireland and immediately set about returning home for a couple of weeks. Fearghal going away put a cat among the pigeons and made us really re-think our plans. Up until yesterday, we were planning to go to the west of China into Kazakhstan, then down to Iran via Central Asia. But we both felt that since arriving in China the adventure had been lost from the expedition somewhat. If we were a shampoo bottle, we’d read: cycle, eat, sleep, repeat. While this is grand for putting down distances it’s not the most inspiring way to travel for us. It was a case of just spinning the pedals, and there was no doubt that we could both keep spinning for the next 8 months and thus there was little remaining challenge.

But now that Fearghal is away for two weeks, we’ve re-thought our strategy. We’d both read a great book recently called “3 Cups of Tea” that was set in the Karakoram mountain range in Northern Pakistan. The Karakoram Highway (KKH) runs through the Karakoram mountain range, which is home to the second highest mountain in the world, K2. The KKH runs from Kashgar in Western China, over the Khunjerab Pass at 4693m, then descends to Islamibad in Pakistan and is the highest paved road in the World. So now we’ve set our sights on cycling the KKH to Islamibad, then through Iran to Turkey. And for an added bit of adventure, we plan to cycle to Turkey independently. I will lead the way, then when Fearghal gets back from Ireland, he will follow the same route.

The prospect of cycling the KKH is really exciting, it may be a bit more risky, and time will be of the essence, as I’ll have to sort out my Pakistan visa and rush to get across China before my visa expires. But, if all goes to plan, it’ll be well worth it!

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3 thoughts on “24

  1. more like if you were a poem youd be gerard manley hopkins ‘no worst there is none’
    keep the head lads, its a hell of a challenge youve taken on and i know all too well how that region makes you doubt your abilities,your desire to finish the trip and your sanity. this is the hardest section of the trip as the landscape is so uninspiring and youre really running out of mental reserve and pushing your mental fitness to its limits.
    keep going and keep inspiring. remember the challenge youve taken on is epic, and if you do not finish it you’ve still achieved more than most can dream. ‘aim for the moon because even if you miss you still land among the stars’

  2. I came across Robert Lilwall’s book called ‘Cycling home from Siberia’ which may be of interest to you. Rob cycled through Pakistan and Afghanistan on his journey home- conveys interesting anecdotes and a good sense of atmosphere to say the least. A definite must if you can get your hands on it!

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