DAY FOURTEEN… 28 miles (45 km)

A sunny morning and a big spread for breakfast. The family returned to their home that they had vacated for us at great haste last night. And we set off, on the road again!

The ride was absolutely wonderful, through the Tang-e Boraq gorge, very leafy ancient woods ,(unusually), and so, lots of birds, eagles and vultures. Very little traffic. There were quite a few climbs, and around 12noon we noticed the weather changing. It started to cloud up and began to rain.

Beautiful quiet road through ancient oak woods

The road eventually ran out with still 8km to go. It became a rough mud track, but we began to cycle on it anyway….. Aggh !!!, within seconds, our bikes came to a halt with about 3 inches of clay all around the wheels, not to mention, everywhere else. The detour, on tarmac was aver 100km for the van, so Medhi, gallantly agreed to venture onto this treacherous surface. It was more like skating than driving, and considering how he loves his van to be super clean, this must have been his worst nightmare.

Anyhow, bikes were put in the back. We walked as it was too dangerous for our weight to be in the van, besides, sliding on tyres over mountains didn’t seem so much fun either.  So, we set out to trudge through clay for 8 km in the rain. After some time, the surface improved and there was a chance to get in the van.

Safer to walk, but only just

Mike and the young inexperienced ‘guide’ very kindly volunteered to run as we couldn’t fit everyone in!! Pick-up trucks, piled high with people and belongings were also attempting the road like us, literally skidding their way along.

4 Wheeled Mud Skating

We eventually arrived at our ecolodge with bikes laden with thick clay and our shoes covered with it too. The hosts did not bat an eyelid about the mess, but kindly let us in where we cleaned up and then set to with cleaning the clay-bound bikes. It’s been very rainy all afternoon and we’ve not wanted to go out at all.

Our ‘ecolodge guide’ is still with us. He’s smoking a shisha pipe downstairs with Medhi and Ali. After last night’s experience with the dead bird room and today’s encounter with the clay, I expect he will be seeking a career change. In his favour, I have to add that he was so, so sorry about what happened with last night’s accommodation and he was very attentive to all our needs ever since.