Reflections on the final push: Bittersweet beauty.

by seanyoneill

Nobody lives in the space between settlements, isolated wilderness stretching from Murghab to Karakul Lake, Tajikistan to Sary-Tash, Kyrgyzstan, the silence broken by an occasional motorbike or 4×4 along almost 250km of the most inhospitable terrain.

Kids in Murghab

There were positives, 1. the road vastly improved from just after the Kyrgyzstan border and 2. we had over 3000m in altitude to shed. At this point the wind decided to end our frayed relationship, turning it’s back on us for the remainder of the trip, canceling out those positives and blowing mightily in our face for the final five days.

Pretty rad switchbacks in Sary-Tash

Salt flats


Leaving Murghab knowing Ak-Baital at 4655m was coming occupied front and centre of my thoughts. But truthfully it wasn’t that bad, we stopped to camp a few hundred metres short of the pass and woke up with frozen water bottles.

Next was the final high pass taking us into Kyrgyzstan. The fiercest winds were saved for this pass. Moving at slightly less than 5km/h seemed almost pointless but progress is progress. As we descended down the other side the topography began to change. Suddenly there was grass appearing, fertile land, some wildlife finally and mountains with myriad colours.

That melancholic, bittersweet feeling. Excited to be finishing and returning to life in Vancouver but also knowing that it means experiencing this incredible beauty will also end.

Lots of Marmots

Crossed paths with two wolves

Colours of Kyrgyzstan


Kyrgyzstan scenery


We arrived in Osh on the final day accompanied by that special and all too rare feeling of accomplishment. Setting a goal like the Pamir highway and experiencing it coming to fruition is a feeling that’s difficult to relay in words. It’s a powerful thing to challenge and push yourself to do things you maybe thought were beyond you.

Arriving a little early we had a few days to spare, hired a driver and spent two days in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Shots from Tashkent

Shots from Tashkent

Shots from Tashkent

Shots from Tashkent

It was great the have Stu, of course we had our ups and downs which comes with living in each other’s shadow for a month. We were able to motivate each other whenever spirits were low, when I was ill he dragged me along and vice versa. Couldn’t have picked a better partner.

Thank you wherever you are for following along with us on this wonderful adventure.

The entrance to Osh – End of the Trip


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