G-string Journey

One Wild Journey, One Crazy Couple, One Life to Live

Walk-on Juma!

I dejectedly turn to face the path in front of us and mentally calculate the estimated hours it will take for me to burn to a crisp. I figure I am good for about three hours. I have nothing in which I can carry my water, but have noticed lots of tributaries crossing the path along the way and know that Juma does not carry water, so I am not as worried about that. “Let’s go! I have three hours to enjoy”!

Juma smiles back at me once he realizes I am not going to push him over the edge in the same direction of my sunscreen, and heads off down the path, donkey in tow.

The plant life in the mountains is incredible. I can’t help but wonder how ANYTHING can grow in such a desolate place, but here are flowers, succulents, and little bushes (these are, of course, the technical names for the Wakhan flora). I stop to take a few photos of some flowers and catch a glimpse of what looks like a large stuffed animal. The gopher sees me out of the corner of his eye and skedaddles, followed by about six mini stuffed animals. It is rare to see any wildlife in Afghanistan, as any animal is hunted mercilessly. I am momentarily awestruck – by a gopher family. Of course most people who come to the Wakhan are secretly hoping to see a Great Marco Polo Sheep or the elusive snow leopard, but I am satisfied with my gopher-sighting.

As we walk the ever-escalating path, I even encounter some wild horses and feel like I am 8 again and reading Black Beauty, which was my (and many a little girl’s) favourite book.  The scene is reminiscent of the ‘pleasant meadow’ of Black Beauty’s life as a colt. In the midst of the wild horses, we stop for lunch. It’s picture-perfect. Juma starts a fire for tea and I unpack my nuts and raisins and a few raw food bars from my daypack. It turns out Juma loves the Trek bars and I have to dig in to my pack again to feed myself.

I decide to splash my face in the river and can already feel my skin tightening across my forehead. I ignore it and head back to camp. Juma is sleeping. I settle into my book (Hunger Games) and wake him up an hour and a half later. He does not seem the least bit concerned that we are sleeping the day away. The mountains continue to grow and the path continues to shrink as we walk on. It seems every time we reach a summit, the path plummets back down to the river. From my vantage point, I can see it also climbs back up again on the other side.

Finally, after over eight hours of trekking through some absolutely stunning mountains and valleys, we reach Borak. I look around and am sorely disappointed. There is only a trickle of a river and the view of the valley is obscured by some ugly scrub brush. There is an old holding pen and the ground is covered in sheep shit. I give Juma my best ‘really? Isn’t there somewhere better to stay’ look and amazingly, he understands. On we trek for another hour until we reach the river valley. Here the river rages past us and we are welcomed by a sandy flat area blanketed in trees and vegetation. There is a perfect clearing for my tent and the view of the river and mountains towering above us is beyond words. Sunscreen or no sunscreen, this man deserves a tip!

10 comments on “Walk-on Juma!

  1. Patricia
    August 16, 2012

    Only today I “found” your blog. Such a long time! What a wonderful, brave, well written, funtastic adventiure! I am so proud to be your friend! Thank you for sharing! Love you!

    • gstringjourney
      August 16, 2012

      Patricia! So good to see you here!
      Will have to plan another ‘meeting’ somewhere someday. Was just looking at my Brazil photos the other day…. xox

  2. Maureen Smith McGarrity
    August 16, 2012

    What beautiful scenery. Glad you saw wildlife–non threatening type too. It is still hard to believe what you have done on this journey, Thank you for sharing. How was the sunburn?

  3. Jen fry
    August 16, 2012

    Beautiful photos sheils! I have passed your blog link onto a few family members and some interested tassie friends. It is fascinating to read! But how was your sunburn??

  4. Dede Cummings
    August 16, 2012

    Love this blog…. Way better than mine 😉 but, seriously, Black Beauty was like my favorite book! What a tent spot!

  5. Sue Young
    August 17, 2012

    Things sound like they are getting much better except for the loss of sunscreen and water. What an amazing journey! How can you hike so far on Gerbers?

    • gstringjourney
      August 17, 2012

      Wait til you hear about dinner!
      Thanks for reading Sue. x

  6. Roger Perdomo
    August 17, 2012

    Awesome! I do love to read you blog, again and again…………

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This entry was posted on August 16, 2012 by in The Wakhan Corridor and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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