Across Continents

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To the lake

"Always be a little unexpected" – Oscar Wilde

The ascent to Lake Sayram Hu. Penetrating dust. Thick, black choking fumes of ascending lorries. Billowing, acrid smoke pouring from the brakes of those in descent. Pristine dual carriageway ends as abruptly as the mountains start east of the frontier town of Khorgas. Rough, stony track, a strong headwind channelled down the steep sided narrow valley makes progress very slow. Demanding. Struggling to control the bike at such slow speed amongst the ruts and loose stones. Lorries crawling past unnervingly close. Neatly cultivated fields, sunflowers, small villages on the plain below soon forgotten.

It is that steep - web version

The pass rises to almost seven thousand feet, the summit col overlooking the wide expanse of the lake. A centuries old trading route from Kazakhstan in the west towards Beijing in the east. An ancient Silk Road. Today, a vast construction site, perhaps thirty or more miles in length. New road tunnels being dug, wide carriageways being built, a vast suspension bridge close to completion. Workers encampments dotted along the route. Not so much an upgrade as a bold re-design.

Mountain montage


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