Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Another Riot First descent in Afghanistan!
I recently did another solo first descent of an Afghan river, this time ticking off the Daryo-i Ghorband (Ghorband River) which flows from the pass leading from Kabul to Bamiyan, the place where the massive Buddhas were blown up by the Taliban. Following my successful first decent (and first ever kayak descent of a river in Afghanistan) of the Panjshir River in September, 2005 (for an account of this descent, go to http://boatertalk.com/blog.php?userid=willvdb&blogid=52 ), I scoped out the Ghorband on the way back from a field mission with my work for the United Nations Environment Programme and decided that the time was right to get on it. Two days later, my wife Lelania, who shot the pics and vids of the descent, and I were back in the Ghorband Valley to hit it up.
The run was fun class 3 and 4, with about 7 solid class 4 rapids and the rest fun class 3 boogie water that was just a joy to get down given the perfect weather and awesome scenery surrounding the river. I boated the best 11 kilometers of the river, putting in at a village named Bagh-i Afghan (Garden of the Afghans) and taking out at the village of Pul-i Mattak (Mattak Bridge), which was alongside the main Salang Highway route going towards Kabul from the north of the country. Along the way, I passed blown up Soviet and taliban tanks and armored personnel carriers, as well as mine fields and mud homes that have changed little since the 16th century.
The locals were stoked to watch the action and whole villages would turn out to watch me boat by, with kids running down river trying to keep up and old men constantly calling out asking me to stop and have tea with them in the homes. The security situation in the valley was very good and made for an extremely pleasant trip and the river awaits other boaters that are willing to brave the travel to Afghanistan to check out the endless whitewater possibilities throughout the country.
For more info on Central Asian and Afghan Whitewater, check out my website: www.kayakistan.com
(it is new and material is being added daily, so check back frequently)
Posted by Willvdb at 12:16 AM