In this sizzling heat, let us enjoy a trip to the mountains!
Lets go along with Waliya Najib and her friend Amal Iqbal on their trip to the mountains this April, 2017. Yes, we are in this time machine now….
Most of us have travelled abroad. We have been to Europe, States, or the Far East. Yet, to travel to places in Northern areas in Pakistan is a must. Thank goodness my husband and I loved travelling in Pakistan as well as abroad. We even walked up the steepest track from Naran to Lake Saiful Maluk. On the way, we decided to come next time with our children (we hadn’t even started our family yet!)
We never took our children to lake Saiful ul Maluk, but we did plenty of travelling with them; almost every summer there was the trip to Nathiagali or Lower Topa. Driving through thousands of kilometers in Saudi Arabia and then travelling through ten countries in twenty days in Europe was another thing my husband and I did. In 2008 when the girls had grown up, we had a family holiday in several cities of USA. Yet, I felt sad that our girls hadn’t seen much of the Northern areas of Pakistan.
It was last April when my daughter Waliya announced, “Amal and I want to go to Hunza and Fairy Meadows.” I was a bit worried, about the dynamics of it. In Pakistan, even a Pakistani has to think twice, especially when it is a matter of girls travelling alone. I had to do a lot of self-talk to convince myself to let her go….
Having visited Hunza at a younger age than her, I knew it was important for her to see her own country’s spectacular beauty. Being such a wonderful photographer, it was even more important.This is the best time in life to enjoy these places, and then one must continue giving oneself an injection of this sort several times in one’s life. You see, during such trips you build lifetime memories.
Those five or six days will be stamped sharply in your memory for years to come. The distance from so-called ‘civilization’, turns you into a better human being.
The meeting with locals living in these remote areas, changes your perspective about whats really important for healthy living.
After all, people of Hunza have the longest lifespans in the world.
You find your own innermost self there as you travel through those huge gigantic mountains.
The sight of that Rakaposhi mountain early in the morning with its misty surroundings is a never-to-be-forgotten-sight.
The gushing river Indus and many other springs and valleys are spectacular. Now, I’m finding it hard to find the right words to describe the heights and depths that you see there. All these experiences are spell binding.
You literally see and feel everything so sharply, it is because you are so alive and so alert and fresh. So, I’ll leave you to the fantastic pictures taken by Waliya just a few weeks ago.
I’m also very proud of the fact that she and her friend took all the hardships which went with such a trip. The ride and walk up some of the most treacherous tracks to Fairy Meadows was worth it.
Though it was tiring and freezing cold, as they had gone rather early in the season, their clothes were not warm enough due to having to leave bags behind. So, in spite of unexpected adventures the spirit of it was taken well by ‘roughing things out’.
They laughingly bore the dilemmas of not-so-clean washrooms and having shared accommodations in parts due to freezing cold.
A shop on the way.
Having no signals and Wi-Fi in places was not a surprise, as they had been informed earlier. They also enjoyed the food which was cooked up by the organizers under such tough conditions.
This is the quality which is to be admired in travelers. Those who come from their comfortable homes to conditions that are a bit difficult sometimes. The ability to take it all with a smile and not letting such things mar the thrill and adventure of the trip is important. Of course, they also had the benefit of staying in very comfortable conditions in Hunza also.
I have flash backs of my husband and myself having to sleep under a dining table once in the Naran rest house, as there weren’t enough rooms! Then using the thin mattress underneath over myself due to the cold!!! Later, having a bath in freezing cold water, were all part of the fun. Drinking water in which there were ‘things’ swimming around…. (there were no nestle bottles then.) But we all had so much fun. We loved every bit of it, especially with the whole squadron being with us. Thanks to Zahoor bhai’s ‘links’ with fishermen, we had trout fish for breakfast lunch and dinner. My husband and I would explore the surrounding mountains where one saw huge chameleons sitting on top of most rocks sunning themselves … eeeek!
Such trips are a must for everyone on this earth. This world of ours is too beautiful to leave it without witnessing the splendors made for us. No, none of the pictures or the videos can make up for the reality. You’ve got to feel it all for yourself. But till you can, here is a taste of what you will see there….
This is what Waliya had to say about her trip to Hunza and Fairy Meadows:
“Eating daal at random roadside dhaabas, waking up to snow capped mountains, sitting next to the fire at -10°, riding horses in breath-taking valleys, talking to the locals, listening to their life stories, eating biriyani with them, sleeping with 5 layers and two blankets, the chai, star gazing, clear skies, sunsets, fresh air, no signals and no wifi, but the best week of my life. Words and pictures cant do justice to just how beautiful it was, but you should all go up North, I know I cant stop now. Pakistan is so beautiful”
Stay blessed and travel far and fulfil your dreams in this dreamy world of ours. 🙂
Note: All photographs provided by Waliya Najib Khan.