week 2:  kunlun mountains
6.25.01
43 km
5.5 hrs
Wanted to make it to Mazar in order to cross the checkpoint at night. Could not make it. Bad road, slow going. Could not reach top of pass and had to camp at 4000 m, wake up from shortness of breath. Fat marmots along the roadside, crazy truck drivers and huge military convoys.
6.26.01
82 km
7.3 hrs
Finished climbing pass in the AM (4900 m). Clouds obscured any K2 views we might have had. Nervous ride down into Mazar, rumors of a checkpoint. Stopped 1 km uphill out of town, not much happening at checkpoint, acted innocent and cycled through. Not stopped by PSB, lucky? Luck continued with huge tailwind, made 82 km. Shared camp with wild camels. Ate last of our cookies from Kashgar for dessert.
 
6.28.01
60 km
6 hrs
Huge meal in the military town of Xaldulla, last town for 300+ km (5 days). Bought $25 of food for the next days. Dirty town, but they had chocolate.  Next 50k of road is complete shit washboard.
 
6.29.01
60 km
7 hrs
20 km trip up a pass in the am.  More shit rocky road.  5 mph or less going downhill because of conditions.  Dry, hot, and beautiful, but am getting tired of it.
 
        
 
 
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6.30.01
47 km
5.5 hrs
Dry, hot, beautiful Kunlun mountains, but am tired of rocky roads and heat.  Flies almost drove me insane, wore a balaclava in this heat in order to keep them out of my eyes and ears.  Lunch at a dirty Chinese military base settlement. Camped high, 4600 m in preparation for Aksay Qin plateau.
route
Extending for more than 2,500 km the Kunlun Mountains are one of the longest and least know mountain ranges in Asia. Reaching heights greater than 7,000 m they form the boundary between Tibet and the Taklamakan Desert.  The landscape is dry, rocky, barren, and sparsely populated; after crossing through a few Uyger villages early on, we saw only Chinese military.
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