We returned to our base in Rama and stayed up till late, sitting around the bonfire, listening to the melodious voice of Ansari and Maqsood. The younger lot lit a Sheesha and enjoyed it their own way. My son Abdullah was feverish as a result of over exertion from our trek to Rama lake so he crawled into the tent before too long and snored away till the next morning. This was going to be our last night in Rama so we decided to pack up as much as we could leaving that much less to do in the morning. The kitchen crew did their bit so we could have an early start.
Breakfast before we set for home. ‘Grey Matter’ all packed and ready to roll
the Forest department hut – by the time we left we had permission from the caretaker to use the wash rooms. Talk about good P.R.
Early the next morning the tech team busied themselves with checking all vehicles for any tweaking of timing, adjustment of fuel mixture, brakes etc etc. The kitchen crew prepared a breakfast of Parathas (fried bread) and eggs which was going to be good during the long day ahead. Everyone then grabbed garbage bags and collected every scrap of paper, bottle cap and cigarette butt that could be found and cleaned up the site.
We climbed down and reached the KKH by about mid day. Along the way we got to enjoy the scenery that we had missed the time we went up to Rama. (we traveled during the night with light rain keeping the drivers focused on the road ahead and the passengers saying a prayer under their breath)
View from Maqsood’s super. He had air-conditioning while the rest of us sweated…
one of the many rest stops along the way..
a beautiful waterfall
Cumin seed plant. They are found in abundance in Astore Valley.
my pot of gold…
The Nanga Parbat view point on the KKH. The kids as excited as in other places when they see a volkswagen
Arriving at the Islamabad exit M2 motorway
I had discussed with the group the possibility of making a dash for Islamabad as we had plenty of drivers between us and could take turns every few hours. However a few of the group members were keen to stay in Chilas for the night. I have lived in Chilas for about a year and it is not a very nice place to be in the summers. The day time temperatures rise to an uncomfortable 48*C and the nights are just a few degrees cooler. The barren treeless mountains surrounding the town radiate heat till the wee hours and then it starts to get hot once again. I have personally seen centipedes a foot in length and scorpions with their stings raised are plentiful as soon as it gets dark. It is S.O.P. to shake your shoes holding them upside down in the morning as scorpions are known to crawl into during the night and give a very painful surprise to the unsuspecting traveler. (the locals wear sandals)
Some of us did stay in Chilas (and were miserable) while others, taking advantage of the long daylight hours continued to Besham and checked into a hotel with running water and air-conditioning.
We met up the next day and drove together to Islamabad arriving at about 9 pm. We were met at the exit of the high speed motorway by Romano and a group of club members who had brought along big coolers of ice cold drinks. The temperature in Islamabad was 39*C…a sharp contrast to Rama where we used to huddle around a camp fire.
Before we went our own ways, it was decided to meet in a couple of days at my place to share pictures and for a debriefing session.
From start to finish we had clocked more than 2000 km in our humble air cooled VW’s without any serious problems and had made it back to base in good shape. We are already planning for the next year when we plan to go to Chitral and Kalash valley. Stay tuned, visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/vwcop) for our next adventure.
A special word of thanks for Bugbus.net for the brilliant idea of Bugcation..
To everyone who has been following my blog I say..
Keep safe. be well and be blessed…