Just in case you haven't noticed, we hike a lot. There's really not much in Dushanbe for a family with five young children once you've gone to the one park, visited the one indoor playground, and well, nothing else. I've heard that the national history museum isn't too bad so we're saving that for a rainy day. But after you've gone through that very small handful, then it's time to get out of the city.
Luckily there's a nearly endless supply of places to hike. When ninety-two percent of the country is mountainous that makes for a lot of hikes.
The children aren't exactly thrilled with hiking, but they are becoming resigned. Brandon and I made the mistake of once thinking out loud about hiring some donkeys from whatever local villager isn't using theirs and now the girls have fixated on the idea of donkey-hiking.
Every time we pass a donkey they make sure, loudly, that we know that there's yet another donkey that looks like a very likely riding animal. Brandon tries to ignore them.
Last Saturday we hiked up the gorge behind a small town, Varzob that is about twenty minutes outside Dushanbe. We never made it even close to the top - the range of a three year old is dishearteningly short - but enjoyed the lovely scenery and sunny day.
And rock throwing. Always rock throwing. It's really not a hike unless you have snacks and throw rocks into whatever body of water you're hiking along. There is something deeply satisfying about the sound large rocks make as they splash into swiftly running water. It's very meditative.
One day when the children are grown up and hopefully become closer to normal, they'll tell their children and friends and spouses about their crazy mother who made them hike every single Saturday for the entire time they lived in Tajikistan. Then they'll claim I've turned them off hiking for the rest of their lives.
But until that day when they've left my house and starting running their own schedules, we're hiking. Maybe some of them will come to enjoy it, probably some of them never will, but in the end I don't really care. I'll enjoy the hikes and they can enjoy the snacks. Everyone can be happy.