Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Nashville and Rochester. Our crew traveled halfway around the northern hemisphere this time to meet in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. We arrived at 4 a.m. and had time for a 1.5 hour nap at the hotel before we had to head to the airport for our trip to Khorog. Unfortunately, the weather wouldn’t permit any flights into Khorog…the approach is a long twisting approach up a river valley enclosed by steep slopes that are upwards of 1000 meters tall.
So instead, the team enjoyed the hospitality of our hosts in Dushanbe, had lunch at the local tea house and turned in at 5 p.m. after three long nights of travel.
Our next available option was the drive from Dushanbe to Khorog: a trip of roughly 700km. As we sat in the lobby Thursday night, we overheard a few of our fellow hotel guests talking about their trip back from Khorog as though it were some kind of accomplishment…little did we know that they were speaking the truth!
As fate would have it, the driver of our Toyota Forerunner was the father of one of our soon-to-be students. We’re pretty sure he’s also a hopeful for the Dakar rally. We spent about three hours traveling along a relatively smooth road from Dushanbe…then, suddenly, we were climbing a rugged 1.5-lane road up into the mountains. Once we passed the munitions practice range, it was game on. If you’ve ever been battered repeatedly by a car door or bounced off the ceiling of your vehicle, then ear-holed by the window crank or your own ankle, then you can appreciate what our drive was like…for nine of the 12 hours we were in the car. However, as you can tell from the photo, the scenery was massive and the scale of it all still continues to boggle my mind!