Above Mirtob between the rain

 

I am sitting on the 2nd floor of my office with views across the valley as a massive thunderstorm moves in.  A strong wind bends trees over and lightning flashes all around.  The black edge of the clouds moves slowly eastward over Garm, bringing an early darkness.  Heavy raindrops start pelting the windows.

 

The day started with rain and ended with rain, but in between a colleague and I managed to get in a hike to the hills above Mirtob Village about 50 km east of Garm.  It is one of the many valleys that branch off from the main Suhrob River.  An assortment of goats, sheep and cows were scattered over the green hills with a small clutch of children keeping an eye on them.  Higher up, a reddish brown marmot bounced from rock to rock and whistled in warning to his fellow marmots.  Above an eagle was gliding on the rising currents of air.  On the way up we passed through a wet field where three different springs bubble up from the ground and flow clear and cold down towards the village.  Higher still, we find a rainbow of blooming wildflowers, many in the shape of tall bottles.  On the hilltop, we came across a large pile of rocks that was made many years ago by soldiers in training and has since been remodeled by a local bear.

 

We lounged on the hilltop with our very generous host and guide, taking in the views across the valley to snow covered mountains in the distance.  Then we descended, through the goats, cows and sheep, past the curious childen, and through a shady forest of mulberry trees which were loaded with ripe fruit.  Finally we passed the homestead of our guide’s brother, met his youngest child and were invited in for tea, which we had to decline since we knew we had another meal waiting for us at the guide’s house.  A beautiful afternoon in a very peaceful mountain valley.

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