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Thread: IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond.

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    Smile IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond.

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - filephp?id8736

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - filephp?id8748


    Firstly a brief background to the trip………….….

    I will never forget my first ever trip to Saiful-Maluk, back in 1986, it was late June, and when we reached the lake our jaws just dropped by the sheer beauty of it. A very spectacular lake with surrounding mountains all covered in snow and maybe only in the lower 1/4th of the mountains the snow had melted. In all my subsequent visits, varying dates between mid June to mid august, I never saw the same image of the lake that I had carried over from 1986. Somehow the snow around on the surrounding mountains has never been the same, maybe its global warming, maybe 1986 was a particularly cold year and snow hadn’t melted when I visited. In recent years the visit during peak season the lake had almost seemed devoid of its serenity. All the shops, the temporary hut n all have taken that extra special thing out of Saiful-Maluk.

    So after this years summer visit, I had been thinking about a visit to the lake when it would not be busy with locals + tourist + a million K2 Jeeps parked on the side, and have plenty snow around. This would either have to be late October onwards till the road is open or an attempt in early May next year. It was too tempting and I couldn’t wait till next May. So I started planning a re-visit initially for end October. Going for a long or even regular weekend was difficult with so many on-going commitments, eventually I made up my mind that it will be a day trip.

    I asked around other IJCian and found several like minded mad men! With short days of winter, maximizing the use of day light was importance. Our plan was to leave Islamabad at 5am. Despite my telling all others to make sure they get ample sleep before departure, the excitement of the trip got the better of me and I hardly slept 30 min in total. Nomi arrived at 04.30 on the dot. Minutes later we left, I called Redbull on the way and he was ready, after picking him we headed for spidy’s place and spidy was at the gate waiting for us at 4.40am, Ghuncha arrived few minutes late but still we left by 04.50 from spidy’s. We picked up his brother in law Fouad on the way and around 05.05 we were at motorway junction.

    We moved at a steady pace, staying well within speed limit. Our progress was reasonably brisk as there was almost negligible vehicular movement on early Sunday morning. We drove non-stop and were at balakot just before 8am. After topping up fuel, we decided to stop over at PTDC for hot breakfast + some of us needed toilet break. Our stop proved much longer than anticipated, and we were on the move again at 8.45am. Again, we progressed un-hindered as because of off-season there were hardly any vehicles on the road.

    Somewhere along the way, we got a puncture, luckily we realized before it fully deflated and caused any damage. The tyre change was also quick due to teamwork and we were off within 15minute. As we got closer to Naran the outside temp shown was 2 degrees, all the water spillways close to Naran had ice/frozen sludge, which was rather deceptive and we had few awkward wheel spins / tail slide exits on 2WD despite driving fairly cautiously. We reached Naran by 11am, total journey 6 hours including an hour’s break. First stop was tyre puncture repair shop.

    After the puncture repair and brief toilet break we headed straight towards Saiful-Maluk our main destination. The path to the lake was rough as usual, probably more compared to what I encountered in summer, likely due to the rains in the recent weeks. In the later half of the journey there was plenty ice / and sludge in the shaded sides of the mountain. A few hairpin turns were quite tricky because of steep incline and the icy slush combo. Took 45-50 minutes to get to the lake.

    The lake was just stunningly amazing, it was almost just like I had remembered. I took just few snaps, but mostly just soaked up the atmosphere, the stunning surrounding, the amazing colour and serenity of the lake, the pure blue skies with crisp sunshine, it was just perfect. For me it was totally worth it………..forget about the sleepless night and the long drive too and back.

    There were just a few jeeps parked near the lake which had brought 2-3 groups of tourists, maybe 10-15 locals with their horses n two small tea stalls. Everyone just relaxed, took pics and after 45-50 minutes we left the lake. On the way down we decided we won’t stop at Naran but head straight towards Jalkhad. Return descent again took the same time. The road between Naran n Jalkhad is arguably one of the most scenic in Pakistan. This winding section along the river could probably compete with the best anywhere in the world.

    Unfortunately the drive itself was not as satisfying this time because of frequent small landslide like areas with plenty vast spread of rock and stones every few hundred meters. And than there was the frozen water/ ice / snow sections on all spillways and also in some hill shadow areas. The frozen waterfalls were absolutely amazing. The pics just couldn’t capture the beauty of it! To our surprise we only encountered a single jeep returning on the way and absolutely no people in any of the villages on the way, except a lone baba jee on the way.

    Jalkhad was absolutely deserted. So we moved further towards Lulu Sir Lake, as we gained altitude the snow and frozen slush areas became frequent. It was tricky terrain. Although I was carrying my snow chains with me, but half the track getting sunshine was dusty/ bone dry/rocky and the shaded areas were all icy/ snowy, it was not possible to put on and remove chains again and again. And I didn’t want to risk driving on rocky roads with snow chains on. And keeping in mind the remaining sun-light duration we decided to turn back only a couple of km shy from lulu sir. If we had a second vehicle we could have definitely gone there, but with absolutely no help available nearby, (Naran almost 45-50km) it was wise to return in one piece.

    It’s almost obligatory to do a high speed run on a flatter section of Naran Jalkhad road and we managed to hit just over 160kmph. At Naran we had some lovely Chappal Kebab, which were cooked in (by everyone’s consensus) in used Delo 4000. Juicy hot kebabs + Nan and Karak doodh patti to top it off was all that was needed to freshen up everyone.

    We left Naran just after 5pm and drove almost non-stop, apart from a brief drinks break at Balakot, reaching back Islamabad around 10pm, with similar driving time of 5 hours again.

    Without a doubt the accompanying mad men were all excellent company. To keep us entertained we had our personal Marasi / Phand (he likes to call himself a Fankar) accompany us. To most Pakwheeleres he is known by the ID of Nomi1234. Everyone was a true sport, Spidy probably had the most mickey taken out. I probably was saved mostly because of my seniority and partly from my veiled and some not so veiled threats to chuck them out of TLC. My thnx to all of them for making this memorable trip possible. There were many pics taken by all, hopefully you will enjoy them all, As usual there will be plenty repeats, but I am sure they will still be worth watching again n again.

    God Bless Pakistan and its most gorgeous lands and the lovely people.





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    Quote Originally Posted by asadsethi View Post
    @ poster

    We r also going there in coming days. How's snow condition in Naran and beyond. Can we drive Prado till lake now
    Asad, the road till Naran is perfectly fine and dry, apart from some dirt patches where road work is being done. In Naran, about 5-6 hotels were open, about 5-6 restaurants were open and acouple of stores were also open. total of about 15-20 people altogether in the bazar. one tireshop was also opened, which saved our lives since we had a puncture near naran.

    The track up till lake is fine and dry about 90% of the way. the last 10% is icy conditions, with dirt thrown over by the locals to help with traction. we did see a couple of jeeps there and locals drive tourists there daily so you should find jeep tracks that you can follow, but be very careful on icy patches.

    Road beyond Naran was littered with small rocks and dirt from land slides. we encountered about 50 instances of landslides till jalkhad, nothing serious though, you can easily navigate through them. just need to be careful not to over speed.
    there were also icy patches about 10 or so where you have to really slow down, shift into 4x4 and drive slowly. we did the naran-Jalkhad in about 1 hour. the best part was that we only saw 1 person the whole way. there was nobody in the remote villages of batakundi, burwai, jalkhad etc. not a single person or car...kinda eerie.
    we wanted to go to Lulusar but was getting late so turned around about 2-3 kms before the lake. the track seemed ok, a bit Icy though..

    have fun. take snow chains with you if possible.
    I may get Lost But I don't get stuck!

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    It was a lovely experience being on this trip with some veteran offroaders i.e., Dr. Nadeem and Noman! This trip, I must say, has compelled me to materialize the decision to get a 4x4 and join the IJC.. inshaAllah real soon! special thanks to Dr. Nadeem, Noman, Nashit & Aimen for being a wonderful company and to my dear spidy for letting me accompany the IJC guys!

    Some of the pictures from HX1 (the only non-DSLR in the team I guess)

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332272 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332273 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - 332274 IJC   MadMax Day Trip from Islamabd to Saif ul Malook and beyond    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332275 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332276 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332277 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332278 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332279 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - 332280 IJC   MadMax Day Trip from Islamabd to Saif ul Malook and beyond    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332281 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - 332282 IJC   MadMax Day Trip from Islamabd to Saif ul Malook and beyond    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - 332283 IJC   MadMax Day Trip from Islamabd to Saif ul Malook and beyond    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - 332284 IJC   MadMax Day Trip from Islamabd to Saif ul Malook and beyond    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332298 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332299 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332300 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332301 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332302 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332303 IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332304

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    NN's Land Cruiser which took us on this trip
    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond -332363

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    Wow. Excellent trip and photography


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    Please take care of your near and dear ones. Drive safely.
    https://www.facebook.com/naumansheikhpictography

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    Thanks guys for sharing an amazing trip. Looks like day trip are getting more and more popular. FANTASTIC.
    Nothing to see here.

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    nyce.............................
    Sir,I am using NiKon D3100 wd 18-55mm VR kit lens and........... powered by 2NZ

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    Masha Allah; beautiful snow cover

    Very nice photography everyone! Real teasers i must say.

    Any upcoming events planned for non-members?

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    Very nice thread name by nn

    I am sure u must have enjoyed a lot
    Kindly upload more pictures cas YEH DIL MANGE MOREEEEEEEEE
    -It is always Man behind the Machine.

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    firstly heartiest thank you to NN for making trips like these possible for me/4x4Less

    now some pics
    Alpha Romeo 156

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    4:42am : Five IJCians, and yet we started on time!, well almost on time; waiting for nashit

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7110 web
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    7:55am : 3 hours later, we are at PTDC and had to wake the staff up to make us some breakfast


    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7111 web
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    7:57am

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7113 web
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    8:20am : omelets and parathas are served


    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7115 web
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    9: 02am : on road again but held up by bakras

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7121 web
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    9:21am

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7122 web
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    9:21am : lots of road work going on

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7123 web
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    10:12am : land slides

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7124 web
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    10:12am : more road work, more breaks

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7125 web
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    10:12am : All good so far, or maybe not!


    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7127 web
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    10:15am : for some reason, i really dig these kinda houses

    IJC - MadMax Day Trip from Islamabad to Saif-ul-Malook and beyond. - IMG 7128 web
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