One of the most challenging things for me during this pandemic is dealing with my terrible wanderlust. I love to visit different places and see the amazingly unique sights. Life is an adventure, and I am determined to make the most of it. Much of my adventures have been long distance walks with groups, starting in 2008, with the Witness against War walk that started in Chicago, Ill., and ended in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Another walk took me from Savannah to King’s Bay, Georgia. (note: all of these photographs were taken in central Oregon)
But now, the only way to travel is through the imagination. Which I am doing, and I am happy to take you along for the adventure. In the “real world,” most of these places are closed to visitors for as long as is necessary, until the pandemic has ended. The tigers are roaming freely in their sanctuary. The arrival of the lions in their sanctuary has probably been put on hold.
That’s the cool thing about an imaginary adventure. You can travel anywhere in your mind. Or with your family. You can do group storytelling and talk about the places where you’d like to visit.
My imaginary journey takes me to Afghanistan, to the Wakhan Corridor National Park. It is high in the Pamir Mountains, and the terrain is very rugged. Hence, it gets very few visitors. It’s a great place to hike, but you’ve got to practice before you head off to hike in this mountain range. It is a strenuous experience. The views are well worth the effort of the hiking. The thing that makes the hiking strenuous isn’t the difficulty of the walk itself, but the altitude at which you’re hiking. It’s between 12,000 and 16,000 feet. So you’ve got to adjust to the altitude, which takes a few days.
At night, you can sleep in a yurt. And, before you sleep, you can watch the sun set over the River Oxus, which is also called Amu Darya. It is a major river in Central Asia, that traverses Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. Loosely translated, Oxus means the wild one. For many years, this river was completely unnavigable. It is part of the famed silk road, where people traveled to Tibet. The most famous good that was traded was tea. Among the people who traversed the silk road was Marco Polo, who traveled this route from Venice to China.
As you watch the sun set over your yurt, you eat kabobs, lamb chops, and spinach. Hiking in the mountains is exhausting, but the exhaustion is that good kind that you get after viewing such an increible, beautiful place as the River Oxus, up in the Pamir Mountains.
Tomorrow: On to Tajikistan