10th August 2013
Departure from Gujranwala = 12 Midnight
Muzaffarabad = 08:15am
Dowarian = 4: 00pm
Trekking Start from Dowarian = 5: 00pm
End Trekking : 7: 00 pm
Night Stay in our Camp
11th August 2013
Start Trek towards Lake= 5:30am
reached Jhuggian = 10:30am
Start trek from Jhuggian = 11:45am
Reached Domail = 1:50pm
Reached Lake = 4:20pm
Back from Lake for Jhuggian = 4:35pm
Reached Jhuggian = 6:15pm
Night Stay in our Camp at Jhuggian
12th August 2013
Start Trekking from Jhuggian = 5:30am
Reached Dowarian = 10:30am
Departure from Dowarian = 11: 00am
Reached Gujranwala = 12: 00 Midnight
Total Travelling Time ( Gujranwala-Dowarian-Gujranwala)= 30 Hours
Total Trekking Time (Dowarian-Ratti Gali Lake-Dowarian)= 19-20 hours
Cost per Head = 5000/-
Our Ride was Suzuki Bolan on Petrol
this is my another thread on PW of Neelum Valley trip in July 2013
Trip to "Shounter Valley, AJK", Where Heaven Meets Earth !!
Tour Review: (Written by Shiraz Ahmad)
We (three friends Shiraz, Abbas and Salman) had plan to reach Dowarian (a small town in Neelum Valley, AJK) on 2nd day of Eid (Saturday,3rd August) by maximum 1pm... but torrential rains (from Gujrat to Keran, Neelum $Valley) caused Landsliding at different areas. Finally we reached Dowarian around 4pm...but owing to Eid holidays, this small town was all empty and the shops were closed. No porter was ready to offer his services on Eid Holiday but luckily we found Saddam, an amateur Porter (it was his first trek as a porter). We were in a real hurry now so we rushed to the trek around 5: 00pm without wasting time to arrange donkey (dropped extra luggage at dowarian) and without having lunch ... the Dark Clouds stopped us in middle of the JEEP TRACK @ around 7: 00pm (Jeep Trek is almost 8km long and it takes u upto Jhuggian in 1 n Half to 2 hours). if you are not a passinate trekker, must hire this jeep in 4-5k, it can carry almost 15 people with their lugggage (but not available in Eid Holidays).
Next morning (sunday, 4th August) we started our trek @ 5:30. The sky was covered with thick dark clouds and the water stream (coming from the lake) was all filled with mud (revealing overnight rain ahead). Just after 30 minutes, we decided to stay for breakfast (6: 00am to 7:15am). At this stage, we were planning to reach the lake maximum by noon and reach back dowarian by 4: 00pm (wanted to stay in Kutton Resorts at night). We dropped our sleeping bags, mattresses and extra food here and took the camp for emergecy (heavy rain). After a hard trek (opposite to the jeep track) we reached Jhuggian (almost the final settelement before lake) @10:30am. We had Makaee ki rooti (Corn Bread) with Yogurt *** goat milk (could not swallow it). We dropped our camp and some extra food here. Every minute we 3 wanted to cancel this EXPEDITION and go back to
Dowarian at earliest but no one could dare to speak out and demoralise others. Anyhow... we left Jhuggian @ 11:45am and after crossing 2 glaciers, found some meadows. This was the best patch of the trek (Domail
to Ratti Gali). Clouds and the sun were busy in Hide n Seek. Marmots and Birds were crying with joy and the flowers were swimming with breeze in the lush green meadows but we had to move on for the lake.... finally we reached the Small lake (locally: Chota sir/pass) at around 2:20pm.... we could see the waterfall coming out of the Ratti Gali lake here. and here i asked Salman , Abbas n porter to go back... the clouds were going dark
and thick, altitude was much higher for us and our energy level was zero at this stage... my friends Salman Asif , Abbas Zaheer and the porter refused to go back from this level :| this was jus the FINAL STRETCH and then it took us almost an hour to climb that small hill..... as soon as we reached the lake, the clouds flew away from surface of the lake and allowed us to caputre few photos... hardly 10 minutes after we reach the lake, Weather pushed us to climb down...the visibility was ZERO now and we were hours away from the first settelement (Jhuggian). We had to cross again those small water streams (of the lake) and unluckily i got slipped in the first one... it was like an Ultimate Survival (Official) stage. we collected our strength and kept on moving... the worst thing was that we forgot our water bottles at jhuggian and our day packs were empty now... in anyhow, we had to reach back jhuggian before dusk... and donno how but we reached back jhuggian with darkest blue sky.... A little before the Village, i met some friends Haris Javed, Muhammad Nafees Chouhdrey etc on the trek. They offered me to stay overnight in their camps near Domail but my friends were waiting for me down @
Jhuggian. Now we had no other option but to stay overnight at Jhuggian. But could not fight the altitude without sleeping bags and mattresses (which we had dropped on the jeep track). Saddam (the porter) arranged all the blankets $and etc from locals.
Next Morning we left Jhuggian @ 5:30am and reached Dowarian at 10:30am....Again we found rain and land sliding @ different areas of Neelum Valley. The Journey ended @ 3:30am (August 13, 2013).
Overall, the trek was hectic (and not that beautiful upto Domail). If Someone is interested to visit it, i wont recommend to go without jeep in a short trip. Otherwise spare atleast 3-4 days for trek to enjoy it. The lake is HUGE and Beautiful too! but i would not recommend to choose THIS TREK (dowarian side). i guess the OTHER TREK (Noori Top / Kaghan Valley) is much more beautiful than that.
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