There were several places under consideration for a short spring outing, and Pir Chinasi wasn’t even among the places considered initially. But when it finally came into consideration it was an instant click for me and proved a perfect destination for a short spring break!
Unfortunately due to various commitments, not many IJCians could make the trip. However we didn’t let that dampen our enthusiasm for the trip. As usual Desert Devil took charge of arrangements. Fahad (President MJC) very kindly arranged the Saran Guest House booking for the night. It’s located very close to the Pir Chinasi Top with breath taking views all-round.
As we were only 7 people, we decided not to take all our rides. I joined Asad on his 5 door Jero V6 3000 for the journey there and part of the way back. Later on for the final leg of the return journey, I joined Nomi n his cousin on the Safari.
Ishtiaq, Juma Khan and Waqar joined us from Peshawar on the morning of travel in the mighty Pajero 3500V6 DOHC. We proceeded at good pace via Murree Expressway. On the way we had a quick tea stop and then kept moving beyond Murree through Lower Topa route towards Muzaffarabad. This route proved to be longer in distance, but the weather was nice n the chit chat on the radio + few short breaks for snaps made the journey enjoyable none the less.
Somewhere along the way, I took over the driving, as Asad wanted to rest, However that resting part did not materialize for long, as just after 20-25 minutes journey the Pajero just died on me. Everything completely shut off. So we parked on the side, looking for clues. We figured that much that it was some electrical fault. As we were very close to Muzaffarabad, we called Fahad for help, and he very kindly came over to guide us to nearest electrician. The V6 3000 was towed by V6 3500. I do have a brief vdo while being towed, will post up in due course.
The electrician figured out the blown main fuse and it was all sorted promptly. Afterwards we were treated to a lovely Lunch by MJC (Fahad n Imran) at a nice river side hotel.
After lunch few more MJC members joined us and we headed off towards Pir Chinasi in a convoy of 6 vehicles. So far the weather had been cloudy but with no rain. Half way up towards Pir Chinasi the rain started and it was relentless. We headed straight upto the top. To our amazement, near the top there was plenty snow on the sides of the road as well as fresh snow on the road. When we stepped out of the car, we realized how chilly it was outside, the temps was barely above freezing. Our GPS showed at height of 9400 feet near the top. We paid our respects at the Pir’s Shrine and after few snaps we decided to return to the guest house as it was getting dark, and views were blocked by the clouds all round.
Luck wasn’t on our side, as due to rain the electricity is usually shut-off in that area. And so for the duration of our stay we were without lights. Luckily all of us were well prepared for that and had enough lights, torches etc to manage comfortably. Saran Guest house otherwise is a very comfortable place to stay. After settling in our stuff into the rooms we gathered together with MJC clan and had great fun with chit chat, storey telling, jokes n all. Juma Khan n his gang were busy cooking up some delicious chicken Karahi and Namkeen BBQ dinner for us while we got cosy over a nice hot cups of tea! The hot delicious food was thoroughly enjoyed by All IJC n MJC members.
The chit chat went on till well past 11 at night, after which MJC crew headed back to their homes and finally we also decided to hit the bed after mid-night. The rain was relentless and care taker at guest house told that it was snowing again at the top. The temperature of my room was 8 degree C, and seemed much lower without lights. However with our sleeping bags and the guest house blankets we had a very comfortable night.
The old man of the gang was up as usual before 6 in the morning. When I peaked outside it appeared fairly clear, so I stepped outside for some pics. It didn’t seem very cold initially, but after a while the chill started to penetrate and I was only in single layer clothing, so had to head back in quickly. It wasn’t too bright at the time so only captured few shots. Unfortunately the clouds started to gather soon and before long it was raining again. The whole valley and the beautiful curved river in Muzaffarabad city was providing surreal environment but not for long. The clouds reduced the visibility to less than 100 meters in any direction.
As the rest of the gang were still asleep, I also went back to bed and dozed intermittently till around 8:30. Finally everyone got up. After a hearty breakfast we packed up our stuff in car. After lengthy deliberation it was decided that as weather / persistent rain showed no signs of clearing up, we will head back downwards. Despite constant rain, we got some astonishing views of the valley when ever there was a break in cloud cover. We just relaxed our drive down admiring the amazing beauty created by the Almighty!
We stopped briefly at Fahad’s House and said our thanks and goodbyes to MJC team. The weather started clearing up once we got down to Muzaffarabad and it was much warmer as well, however the peaks near Pir Chinasi were still covered in heavy clouds. After getting the famous Kashmiri Kulcha’s for snacks from Muzaffarabad Bazaar we started the return journey. The return journey drive along the river was just as enjoyable. We had a lunch break on the way in a very nice river side hotel. The weather was perfect and we sat outside for the lunch.
We had decided to take the alternate route back towards Bhurban just after crossing Kohala Bridge. Later on we changed route yet again and decide to take another short cut towards Khanis Pur. The track towards Khanis Pur was amazing, fantastic inclines and declines, rapidly going up n down over 3000 feet in a matter of few km. The mighty Jero’s and Safari handle them like a piece of cake, letting us enjoy the extremely serene surrounding. With that much rain earlier, the greens were simply just too lush. Both Asad n I repeatedly mentioned how just looking at the fresh green colours made you feel fresher!
After a refreshing tea at Khanis Pur our return journey towards Islamabad started via Ayubia, Murree and back again via Expressway. The whole trip was an extremely pleasant and refreshing experience. The hospitality extended by MJC needs a special mention, many thanks to all MJC members! The company was brilliant; the usual radio banter was hilarious. The food (thank you Juma) the environment was just too good. Special thanks to Asad n Nomi for the home pickup and drop back service!
In the end a mighty big thnx to Allah for our gorgeous lands, and for providing us these awesome opportunities to explore his wonderful creations. May his blessing be upon us always n forever, Ameen!
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