Local boy running his horses up the alpine meadow
High up in the mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan, not far from the mountain pass that leads into China, lies Tash Rabat. Precisely the kind of place I really love, it is an old stone fortified “caravanserai“, standing cold in the high, remote mountains, full of ghosts. Not all ghosts are bad, as I would discover. On a cold night, this place takes you back to the Silk Road five or ten centuries ago.
This is a story about the Great Wall, but even more than that it’s a story about a guy I know who’s really, really into the Great Wall. Yes, I know I’m into the Wall – every second entry on this blog is about it – but I am nothing more than a young, naive Luke Skywalker to this guy’s Yoda. In May 2013 I joined him on an expedition to explore obscure, remote parts of the wall out in Gansu Province, as far west as historical China extended during the Han and Ming dynasties. In a week with Yoda, I would climb a rockface, navigate by night, gather Han potsherds, thumb rides by the side of the freeway, and eat stir fried gizzards. I also learned a lot about the Great Wall, and made a good friend.