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26/02/2011 (julıan solo) – Kurtalan to Bitlis – testıng tımes

March 6, 2011
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The rain and grey sky is not a welcome addition to breakfast.  The muddy track I have to push my bike up has been soaked by the precipitation and the bike clogs yet again, making it a real endeavor to get the thing to the road.

My feet are soaked through and ive only been on the bike for an hour.  The road is soaked and I hear the rear tyre rolling along the floor deflated.  I find a drier spot beneath a balcony and fit a new tube, I had hoped the rear tyre might last the entire journey as I’ve heard many people traversing the globe without a single puncture on this brand but the rain has washed all sorts of debris onto the road.

I venture on full of anticipation for the beginning of the climbs, into Baykan a lively Saturday morning full of people staring.  I seek refuge in a petrol station and dry out my gloves whilst drinking tea and eating my lunch and chatting to the Kurdish attendant who talks about his desire for an independent Kurdish state, the capital Amed (Diyarbakir as the Turkish call it) is very close by.

Off into the hills after lunch and as I climb it gets noticeably colder, the scenery becomes covered in snow and takes on a very magical quality.  I stop off and buy some local honey and eggs.  I find one of the few places not covered in snow and set up, as it gets darker the temperature drops dramatically. Sitting in my tent I hear the rain begin to fall after a while it dies down yet I can still hear something softer falling, I think nothing of it and continue reading.  After an houri can hear the tent creaking, I touch the top sheet and its tort under the weight of something very heavy.  I open the tent and the surrounding area is completely covered in snow, its falling really heavily and has settled on my tent forming a think layer.

I am faced with 2 options – If the snow continues to fall this heavily the tent will collapse under the weight unless I clear it every hour or so meaning I will have to set me alarm continuously through the night or risk waking up under a lot of snow in a broken tent.  The othe option is to pack up and find somewhere, a house or something I can take refuge in.  Along the mountain road I have seen little to no evidence of people living up here.  I decide to stay put, clear the snow form the tent as often as possible and then spend the night clearing it off at hour intervals, yippee.

I cook dinner in the porch of the tent feeling pretty nervous, the steam created from cooking does a good job off melting any snow which falls and after a few hours its seems to have subsided, thank the lord.

Images of waking up under 1/2m of snow and possibly worse start to subside but I set my alarm for a few hours time to check and go to sleep.  The alarm sounds and a quick check yields no new snow.  I go back to sleep and hope for the best.

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