Travelogue

Written by;
Saad Ahmed

The Kaghan valley as we know of it may not stand shoulder to shoulder to the beauty and grandeur of Skardu and Gilgit, but its lakes and pastures that still remain hidden from the eye of the camera, are no less than a heaven on earth. Not many who might just have been able to reach these places would most certainly speak of the criminal negligence of our tourism department for there is not a single snap shot of these hidden places available anywhere- places beautiful enough to leave one speechless at first sight.
. 28th of June, I reached Naran in an attempt to relish the magnificence of three assorted lakes namely lake Dodipit, lake Lulusar, lake Saral located some 40kms from Naran down the Kaghan road.  Supplies enough for a week, my gear comprising of dried meat, beans, food supplements, tea, sugar, a small pot and a stove, a water proof tent, rain coat, warm clothing and sleeping bag, complete and as trustable as it always had been.

Started off from Islamabad in the morning at 6 and commuting through local transport, I reached Naran at 4 in the evening amidst slight drizzle.
Kaghan valley is also engulfed by the newly born hindukush range which stretches all the way up to north to meet the other two giants, Karakorum and Himalayas.Great continental ice sheet covered much of the temperate latitudes. The warmer  climate that followed caused the ice sheets to retreat. The features of highland and lowland glaciations are more than evident all across the valley. Boulders of the size of small truck can be found lying near the base of the mountains, brought only by a travelling and retreating glacier.

The infamous Saif-ul-malook is also a glacial lake formed by the rise in temperatures and melting glaciers. Kaghan valley presents an ideal opportunity for the students of geography to witness the effects of lowland and highland glaciations, the glacial lakes and their impact on human lives.

To help myself with the long journey ahead, I decided to go as far possible as the daylight would allow reaching the famous mountain resorts within 4 days.I quickly made friends with the commuters, who helped me locate a shortcut to Lalazar, a rather difficult and steep one. It was my first strong hike up after a year and was an excruciatingly tough one, for I also had my lunch and the load on my back was also a heavy one. It took me 2 hours for an otherwise short hike. I reached the top at around seven in the evening.  Put on my jacket as the air was getting colder and the sun had already begun to set in the west. Had few cups of “dodhpatti” (milk tea) from one of the two or three hotels that served the tourist and set off to locate a campsite, which itself, a difficult process and require much care. The campsite has  to have three basic requirements other than being at a safer place. Care must be taken that the site must not be in the path of water in case of heavy rains or in an area of possible land sliding. While as for the comfort level, it’s certainly more convenient that the ground is grassy and free of stones n pebbles. Soon night stepped in quietly but surely. The air smelt of pine and the ground was carpeted with the needles of twisted and wizened trees, their exposed roots, acting as a formidable trap for the unweary. After unloading and closely inspecting the area, I decided to hit the sack. It did not take me too long to realise that the gear i had was not even  a substitute to what i needed. Thus i had to abandon the plan and wait for guides to arrive with better accessories before starting my week long expedition through nights..
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