The theme of this past week has been incessant stepping. The first effect of this walking was the development of an actual hole in the sole of my shoe.
Fortunately, there are cobblers here in Dushanbe. A day after dropping my dying shoes off, I picked them up as good as new, the refreshed soles as layered as a sedimentary rock and the streets here that had scraped them bare.
Although I have never gone to a cobbler before in the States, I think I might be hooked. It’s much more cost efficient than buying a nice new pair of shoes and it breathes a second life into a favorite pair. It’s also made me question again the effectiveness of TOMS. While a nice pair of summer shoes, it’s silly to expect those shoes to last if worn everyday, as evidenced by my current pair here, which I doubt even the cobbler will be able to salvage.
The second part of this week involves an overnight hike. While a gorgeous mountain expedition, on a scale of one to Boy Scout, we were fairly unprepared.
A few of the many things that could have gone better include:
-There was a failure to realize the beautiful weather we had been enjoying down in the city was still snowy and cold on top of mountains.
-Due to a communication mishap, my sleeping bag never made the adventure, something that would have been nice when we camped in the snowy valley.
-My friend’s shoes almost floated away during one of the nineteen or so river crossings. Not a good thing when in a valley of snow.
-Our guide forgot switchbacks existed and measured our path as the crow flies. Meaning that we ended up hiking over 33 k the second day, for fourteen hours, over mountains and semi-existent trails, with not enough food or water.
Aside from the issues that developed along the way, there were some highlights:
-I saw bear tracks and mountain toads.
-Our guide hid chocolate Easter eggs for us on top of the summit and brought squeezable jam, meaning we could make snow cone-esque snowballs to munch on.
-The views were amazing. Hands down one of the most beautiful hikes I have been on:
-Sometime after ten, we stumbled upon a kind family in a small neighborhood, next to the village where we were headed. Conveniently, they had just celebrated a wedding so they were still awake to offer us all the foods and more importantly, agree to take us back to Dushanbe. The best ending the day could possibly have. (Aside from the fact that Rudaki Plaza was open when I finally arrived in the city, meaning I could buy myself a thing of peach juice before stumbling into bed.)