This year IJCians went to Kalam and beyond for the annual summer camp.
First a bit of background for choosing this destination for our summer camp. Most of you may already be aware of all the work carried out by IJC and its friends in post flood rehabilitation in Kalam region. Desert devil has made nearly 6-7 trips to make sure everything was done properly. One has to understand the effort time and patience required to visit Kalam, its not a run to local shopping mall, it still takes almost 10 hours from ISB to Kalam one way. Kalam had been a thriving tourist destination for many years, until the circumstances in Swat region changed. The final straw was the devastating flood last year, which has completely washed away almost 20+ km of road between Kalam and <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com</st1:country-region><st1:place w:st="on">Behrain</st1:place>.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com</st1:place>Maodand Lake, which was supposedly further 6 km and due to land slide had to be done on foot. Needless to say, out of 9 (who said yes the night before) only 5 of us eventually got up and left at 7ish for the trek towards the lake. The trek was simply amazing…………..but the distance eventually proved to be much longer. In fact it was 9km from our camp. Obviously I was the slowest coach on that trek, but Mani and Ahsan kept in good company and we managed to reach the lake after 3 hours. The view was magnificent, Ahsan was the first one to jump in the chilling lake, followed by Faheem and later Bilal also had a full dip. Mani and I just dipped ourselves upto the knees only, after relaxing for an hour or so and having the snacks, we started the return journey. The timing was not the best, 11:30, peak sun and another 9km, my feet still have plenty blisters to show the pounding they got. The rest of the gang had already started return journey around noon, they camped near the river side under the tree shades next to the water crossing. Everyone just chilled there and eventually we also joined them there for our lunch. Then it was time for further water dipping and chilling.
Finally we started the return journey to Kalam, stopped over for tea break at Matiltan and group photo in pine forest. Due to road repair work being carried out during day time of 9am to 6pm including road stoppages for 2 hours at a time for rock blasting, it was decided that we will cover the most treacherous part same evening and stop over at Behrain. The return journey was just as slow and we covered the 30 km in 4 hours 15 minutes. Both my tow ropes have not been used as much in last two years, compared to their usage during this trip. Paisay pooray ho gaye nay!
Due to long tiring day, I was off to sleep in our hotel in Behrain almost immediately. Consequently was up the earliest as well………..05:30am!!!!! Yaar yeh Jawani kee neendain <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">bari</st1:City></st1:place> yaad aati hain. Despite my best effort, could not get the younger generation out of the hotel till after 10.00am
Due to the long trekking in intense heat, I had the most intense craving for chilled mango milkshake and boy did I enjoy them………………all 5 glasses of them……………well 5 and a half if you counts Ahsan’s offering of his half glass left over, to be fair these were in two sittings few hours apart.
Finally we reached Mardan where we picked up Nomi’s Wrangler for the return 130km towing journey. Alhamdolillah we all made it back home safely.
I am sure I have missed out on many interesting parts of our journey and am hopeful the rest of the gang would fill you all in. Many thnx to Nomi for his wonderful company during the trip, otherwise I would have ended up driving alone all the time. Am sure everyone’s aware of Nomi’s wicked sense of humour. I call him Maraseee………………but he prefers the word Fankar or Artist!
The usual IJC radio banter was at its best during trip………bura haal ho giya tha hass hass kay…………..hopefully none of the new comers during the trip got offended by constant joking, hilarious comments and ‘taking’.
A special thanks to Gulzada for his extreme hospitality and also for accompanying us during the camping part and his help in facilitating all the necessary camping stuff. Thnx again to the entire group for their excellent company during the trip. God bless you all!
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