Plus Central Asia Onward travel blog

Petroglyphs 4652

Petroglyphs 4653

Up to the Pass 4654

Neatly Terraced Fields Going Up to the Pass 4655

View from Below of the Pass to Come 4656

Lake 4669

Another View From Below the Pass to Come 4657

Hut at the Top (w/ Tim Taking a Break) 4658

T & B and a Look at the Other Side + Road...

Looking Down at the Valley Where They Have Annual Festival in Aug...

Maqsood & Fidea & Tim (Looking at the Downside) 4661

Maqsood & Tim Dancing w/ Fidea Looking On 4662

A 'Run In Photo' 4662

A More Successful 'Run In Photo' - Tracy, Andrew, Mari, Tim &...

Andrew Entering the Jeep & Maqsood Himself 4665

The Village Just Beyond the Pass 4666

Another View of Village Just Down From the Pass 4667

Village Just Down From Pass 4668

The Lake & Near Perfect Reflection (Also Perfectly Clear) 4669

The Lake & It's Colorful Bottom 4670

Andrew & Lake 4671

The Lake Looking S. (the way we're heading) & Perfect Reflection (+...

The Lake Looking N.4674

Another Fine Reflection on the Lake (You Can Almost See the Blue...

Unloaded & Loading! 4676

Andrew & Tracy Locked & Loaded Just Before Parting 4677

Group Shot Just Before Departure - Andrew in front, Maqsood,Bon,Tracy,Fidea, & Mari...

New Roofs on Homes ie New Homes Rebuilt after 2005 Earthquake 4679

Up and breakfast of eggs, chapati, & tea...loaded the jeep - driver, Fidea, turns out to be the same fellow we met in Sost when we were trying to change $$ our first day in Pak!! Did not recognize him...very good driver & did a fine job securing bikes on the back for the journey up the mtn. Lft Chilas @ 10 am after a short stop at 'petroglyphs' - the road remained fully paved, new saphalt & width quite a distance up but then hit new construction. Again I must say this route goes thru some of the most spectacular mountain country, steep and snow covered peaks all around. I will not even attempt to describe it the photos will have to do even tho they don't really do it justice.

This will be the NEW KKH once complete and by the looks of it - they are working on it all the way - much should be done by next yr. if all goes well ie no more earthquakes! We reached top of the Babusar pass just before noon - fantastic sight all directions. Looking down into the valley we saw the polo grounds where they have an annual festival in Aug. We built a cairne as a memento of our visit - huge amt of slab rocks everywhere & lots of cairnes! Snow capped peaks in the distance all about! Mighty chilly tho...Andrew and Tracy decided that road was OK but the distance/cold (still 80 km to Naran) prohibited starting at the pass. Passed Lake Lulusar, clear green fantastic, we stopped to admire and try to toss stones into it. At 73 km from Chilas(32 more to Naran) 1:15 pm they decided to leave us for their bikes. We kind of felt lonely and a bit jealous...stopped in Naran from 2-3 for lunch, the road on this side was not as good as the up side as it turned out, probably because they have been working on the upside more(we saw machine shovels all along the way up). In case you may be interested in Andrew & Tracy's bicycle adventure check out their website:

Visit Andrew & Tracy

The road here was thru some of the most devasted parts of Pakistan from the 2005 earthquake. I counted 33 places where the road was either missing or completely covered by rockslides still and dozens of places where the road had been obviously cleared...road maakes detours around over thru these places. Houses on the slopes are most all new by the shiny metal roofs we see along the way. Lots of construction now on road, very rough some times, the road going up the pass to 14,000+_ feet was actually alot nicer than coming down the other side. They are working on this section of the highway very extensively and this will be the KKH in the future, no longer going the long way past the more iffy Swat valley. I would expect that w/in a year this will be mostly complete barring and unforseen ie earthquakes to cause delay or disruptions.

The road down thru Balakot was quite something - many/most of the houses were new(shiny metal roofs), the emphasis being on housing for the people first. I counted 33 places where the road was totally covered(asphalt disappeared under rock slides) or had just disappeared/fallen away completely. They had made a way around these places, plus dozens more where it looked like they had already cleared away rocks...road was very rough/pot holed. We saw lots of sheep/goat herds moving down for the winter and huge piles of hay for livestock - also, a stack on a roof which had spontaneously combusted. Nothing to do but contain it, 8-10 men were up there w/ rakes forks.

It was dark(7 pm) when we arrived in Mansehra & Hussein Hotel. Streets very narrow & filled w/ traffic, a real shock to my senses after 3 weeks in N. villages & little traffic. Found out Fidea & Maqsood were planning on heading back to Gilgit that night! We tried to get them to stay by offering to pay for a dbl room for them and they could take us to Ashoke Rocks in the morning but apparently Fidea felt he had to return, Maqsood was happy to stay, but alas they departed amidst wet eyes. They were genuinely sad to see us part as were we, it had been a very happy, enjoyable 5 days!!!

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