© 2012 expatmonkey. All rights reserved.

Solo Soleless in the Rocky Fans

1,001 miraculous uses for duct tape and all of them temporary.

Eleven not-awful hours over two days of shared taxis and minivans to get to Artush alplager / alpinist’s camp in western Tajikistan’s Fan mountains. Once some heavy rain let up, I began my four-day trek to loop up and over a couple of passes and visit Alauddin Lake, where genies go to die.

But by the time I’d ascended about 800m up to Kulikalon Lake at 2800m, my decaying sole was flapping off my left boot like an exhausted dog’s tongue. I’d wrapped it in duct tape earlier in the day, after first noticing the deteriorating relationship between rubber and leather. But as I ought to know better than anyone, that’s a delicate relationship.. And the sharp rocks chewed right through my solution in a couple hours.

So I rewrote my plan to three relaxing nights in my tent by the lake. Just me, the occasional passing herdsman, and a shy dude now and then collecting firewood with a donkey. The second day rain began around 1pm and kept up through the night, so I squeezed in long hours of reading and listened to many TED Talks.

I also tried to think of the number of fictional characters referred to as “the man.” The man with one red shoe, the man of La Mancha, the man who would be king, the man inside me, Hollow Man, and the man who wrecked the buffet at the Harrow Club this morning, to name a few. It was much harder to think of all their specific character names.

Despite the disruption it was a great few solitary days of coffee at dawn by an alpine lake, fried potatoes and onions on an open fire, and no access to anything or anyone outside a chilled mountain bowl.

On Day 4 I decided to give the duct tape another go and take a stab at the long way round over a 3150m pass back to the alplager, which was somethin’. And my next entry.

One Comment

  1. Claire Walden

    This is awesome – I can’t believe you do this for a living! The car I used to drive in high school had duct tape keeping parts of the engine together. I never knew who decided to use the duct tape and exactly what it was being used for . . . but the car still got around.

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