Trade routes change for a range of reasons (economics, politics, seasons, etc.), and our intended route is no different.
The above map shows a few options that may help us accommodate the world around us as we head west.
"Having spent more time away from our trailers than we ever anticipated or intended to, we arrived back in Hami in a weird place. As a group, we had isolated ourselves before coming back and tensions were felt in every direction. We were not in a good place having left much unsaid; festering for the last two weeks..."
"Our final section of China brought us from Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, to the massively vital trade hub of Khorgos, the port between China and Kazakhstan. When I say, “brought us from Urumqi to Khorgos,” it’s not that much of a stretch considering the number of times we were detained by police..."
This is a guest blog by Conner Keeffe who walked with us through southern Gansu Province from Day 19 to Day 39. Conner is our friend from the states who has been a strong supporter of the walk, helping us organize the 'telling the story' portion of this adventure. For a fresh perspective on this expedition from Conner, read more here.
This is a guest blog by Marta Nowak. Although Marta only walked with us for a day, we spent a lot of time together, traveling around southern Xinjiang and leap-frogging our way through a few towns north of the Heavenly Mountains. This entry is from Marta's perspective during a layover day that ended up being a very eventful day of Yurt Building.
"We were pretty bored as we waited, but, eventually, the lawyers came and then it got a bit more interesting again. They separated us and interviewed/interrogated us for about 20-30 minutes each. They asked us about our religion, jobs, family, and how we found out about the Silk Road."
After cutting the corner of this country, we headed south through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan before returning to Kazakhstan to cross the south-western tail.
We should be here early 2020!
"The trail was sloped again, and any semblance of road vanished as we hit a scree and talus field that seemed to have destroyed all but the corners of the road. We navigated down about a kilometer of scree with the trailers. With no good paths, we each chose our own adventure. I got tired of taking fake, crappy switch-backs and went for the controlled slide method for a small section. Each time we made it down to where it seemed the road would begin, we would again watch it disappear from in front of us. It was challenging, but a fun sort of adventure."
"Paul and Timb waved down a truck that could accommodate us and our trailers while I continued to feel dizzy and confused sitting in the shade. We loaded the trailers into the back with the three preexisting inhabitants, a little goat, an average-sized sheep, and a large male sheep with a territorial disposition (luckily, this was aimed at the other animals and not us). We climbed up into the, thankfully dry, manure-filled back end, and held on for dear life as we were driven up and over a windy mountain pass and down an equally windy and bumpy valley to Jalal-Abad."
Artisans of the Ferghana Valley
Hi there! You may have noticed these journals aren't clickable. Don't panic! We're still writing, it's just really cold right now! We've been focusing on walking lately in order to keep the story rolling. These writings and more are coming soon. Thanks again for following along!
After the Ferghana Valley, we cut through Tajikistan before continuing through the rest of Uzbekistan.
Gems of the Silk Road: Samarkand & Bukhara
Tajikistan's regional summary is tucked in front of this region.
The Kyzyl-Kum Desert & Ancient Khiva
The Ustyurt Plateau & The Aral Sea
Hey! I know that place, we're here now! Wahooo!! Writings coming sooooooooooooooooooon.
Northwest Tajikistan: Khujand (Where the heck are we?)
This section took place AFTER [The Ferghana Valley] and BEFORE [Samarkand].