Murghab, Lake Karakol, & Return to Osh: Pamir Highway Day 9 & 10

Video Summary of Day 9 & 10 can be found here.

This is Day 9 & 10 of our Pamir Highway trip, read about the whole trip here.

We left Murgab that morning for Karakol, a small town by the border with China and not far from the border with Kyrgyzstan on the edge of Lake Karakol, which is13,000 feet above sea level and the highest navigable lake in the world even higher than Lake Titicaca in Peru. Lake Karakol is a turquoise lake surrounded by huge snow capped peaks one of the most majestic lakes we have ever seen.
We arrived at Karakol around lunchtime and when we pulled in we saw our friend Shane the Travel Camel and his group of travers. Because of the elevation and the soil in Karakol, nothing really grows in there so the food is all brought in, which was why Abdi brought a large sack of potatoes with us in the car to bring to Karakol.
After lunch we walked around the perimeter of part of the lake and met a group children who wanted us to take pictures of them so they could see the photos on our phones. It was a windy cold day and the winds produced waves in the lake that made it feel like a turquoise ocean surrounded by majestic peaks.


We then went inside and had tea with Shane’s group which included people mainly in their 50’s and 60’s from Australia, Germany, the US and Bulgaria. All were travel bloggers who were photographers or videographers, all had traveled extensively and all were avid followers of Shane. After talking with them for a couple of hours we went outside with Dave from Australia and Nadia from Bulgaria to take sunset photos of the lake. On the way to the lake we got this shadow photo of us kissing by a mosque in town:


It was refreshing to spend time with these travelers as we rarely encounter western travelers so enthusiastic about their surroundings, as Nadia and Dave were chanting “Go Go Go” as the sun was setting and the colors around the lake were changing.

After sunset we had dinner and played cards with an Italian family that lived in Luxembourg that was traveling, including the father that had actually lived in Denver 20 years earlier in an apartment building across an alley from Jesse’s Uptown apartment development.
The next morning we left to cross the border and return to Osh. Thankfully this time the border crossing was easy and uneventful. Both crossings (out of Tajikistan and into Kyrgyzstan) only took about 20 minutes as there was no one in front of us. Upon entering Kyrgyzstan the border guard said “welcome back to Kyrgyzstan) as he was the same guard we had seen a week earlier. He remembered Jesse and told him to say hi to Jon Bob Jovi for him.


The rest of the ride back to Osh was uneventful. We arrived in the early afternoon and had a long “hug” goodbye with Abdi.


We were both relieved to be staying in a regular hotel with hot water. However we were both very grateful for the incredible journey, villages and people we saw along the way. Both of us had never done a journey like our 10 days on the Pamir Highway and knew it was an experience we would talk about for years and remember forever.

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