This essay documents surviving attempted murder and gunshot wounds incurred during 1992 geographical f ieldwork in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. Our project goal was to assess the potential for a Pamir National Park in this Central Asian terra incognita where the southernmost Soviet Union met the unruly frontier with Afghanistan and China. Our personnel included geographers and government officials from the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Tajik Academy of Sciences, Goscomproda (Tajik Ministry of Environment), and the NGO Tajik Socio-Ecological Union. The initial 1991 field season involved living in Moscow through the coup attempt that ultimately disbanded the Soviet Union. While the ensuing Tajik independence granted us unfettered access to long-forbidden terrain in the Pamir Mountains, the freedom from Moscow also launched Tajikistan’s clan-based civil war. This led to a violent assault in the Western Pamir that sent one bullet through my shoulder blade and another into my hip socket. Following a night of extreme physical and mental suffering, the actions of heroic mountain farmers, a geologist colleague, and a surgeon saved my life. The Postscript presents lessons learned that apply to field work everywhere.

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