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Thread: Bike Tour 4,000 KMS - Karachi - Naran - Astor (Gilgit Balistan) and Back to Karachi

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    Default Bike Tour 4,000 KMS - Karachi - Naran - Astor (Gilgit Balistan) and Back to Karachi

    My Travel Itinerary:

    Day 01: Wed - Aug 21st --> Karachi to Uch Sharif (Punjab)

    Day 02: Thur- Aug 22nd --> Uch Sharif to D.I. Khan (KPK)

    Day 03: Fri - Aug 23rd --> Stayed in D.I. Khan (KPK)

    Day 04: Sat - Aug 24th --> DI Khan to Islamabad

    Day 05: Sun - Aug 25th --> Stayed in Islamabad

    Day 06: Mon - Aug 26th --> Islamabad to Naran

    Day 07: Tue - Aug 27th --> Naran to Astor (Gilgit Balistan)

    Day 08: Wed - Aug 28th --> Astor to Rama Lake and Back to Naran

    Day 09: Thur - Aug 29th --> Naran to Islamabad

    Day 10: Fri - Aug 30th --> Islamabad to Karachi

    Day 11: Sat - Aug 31st --> Traveling to Karachi

    Day 12: Sun - Sep 01st --> Early Morning Arrived in Karachi



    I have lived abroad most of my life and only returned to Pakistan some three years back. I now live in Karachi and have driven to Islamabad many times by car and its been an exhilarating experience every time.

    My Bike Adventure plans began more than two years back when I was visiting Northern Areas (Naran) with Cousins from Islamabad. I drove my car alone from Karachi to Islamabad and got together with 9 others in two cars and explored the Northern areas for the very first time in my life and was struck by its shear beauty. Along the way I saw many people on motorcycles whom I thought were locals at first, or perhaps from Islamabad area. However, upon discovering Pakwheels I was amazed to see that so many people were driving their bikes in groups from various parts of Punjab as were as a few courageous souls who also traveled from other places and posted their step by step travel experiences, both on bikes and cars.

    So I began to think what it would be like to drive a bike across the country since I had already done that by car many times. I should point out that where I had lived my entire life one could not imagine driving a bike, at least not an entire year due to heavy snow during winters and many wet days of rain throughout summer. So to put it plainly, I had never driven a bike nor did I know how to drive one. Although I sad on a few bikes in Pakistan as a passenger but never really driven one.

    So now I was becoming more and more bold in researching bikes both on Pakwheels as well as on olx. I came to a realization that most long distance riders who posted on Pakwheels chose either a Honda 125 or a Suzuki GS 150. I took many months researching both the pros and cons of both bikes to see which was better for longer drives, fuel economy, accessible spare parts, durability and so on. And although I was leaning more towards purchasing a Honda, I was told that in Karachi it would not be wise to buy a new Honda and instead to go for a new Suzuki GS 150 due to the high demand of Hondas and the high likelihood of a new 125 being stolen.

    So a year back (Nov 2012) after doing plenty of research I finally purchased my first ever Bike, GS 150 and asked the seller to deliver it to my office since I didn't want anyone at home to know had I purchased a bike since I didn't know how to ride one just yet. At my office I used the help of my guard to teach me how to turn it on, how to put it in gear, how to break and all the basics which were totally a new experience for me. After some three weeks of learning to ride in our large office parking lot after hours when there was no traffic I finally gained the confidence of driving it home. I began to drive it from home to office daily after everyone came to know I had purchased a bike but due to the fact I could comfortably ride it not too many objected to me purchasing a bike as I had originally thought.


    A month later I took my first ever 'Long Distance Test Drive' experience to Hyderabad which took me close to 3 hours with a brief 5 min stop at two places to adjust my ever so aching bum. I had a relative in the Army who was posted in Hyd Cantt. After a two night stay and a professional Champi I returned back to Karachi and realized just how painful and exhausting a long drive can be. Nothing could be done I thought, to resolve the issue of an aching bum from such a long drive.

    Upon reading many of the threads on this site I finally realized I needed a cushion to sit on for a longer drive as well as some basic necessities I would need for a longer drive.

    So this year from Feb/March I began my plan to ride to Islamabad and then up to Naran if I can. I did post on here asking for people's advice as to whether it was safe to drive to Naran from Karachi in March-April and most responded that Naran will not be approachable till late May due to snow which has not yet melted. So the next possible time I had was holidays just after Eid in August.

    So on Aug 21st I began my road trip to Islamabad. But I had only 10 days since I had to be back to work on Monday Sept 2nd and that meant I would have to be back in Karachi by Sat Aug 30th or Sun Aug 31st and allow myself to rest for a day on Sunday.

    I did the following very basic modifications;
    - HID Headlight for high beam, low beam was regular headlight
    - Installed a Car Lighter Adapter in order to keep my mobile charged while I listened to music during my drive
    - Installed a new wider and larger Tire in rear
    - Purchased new tubes for the front and back
    - Wasn't sure of the tools so left that since I have never changed a tire but was certain I would find a puncture shop on the road
    - Purchased an extra Clutch Cable and a Break Cable
    - Installed saddle bags for each side for my Water Supply and other heavy items
    - Installed two Heavy Horns to sound like a Corolla which really really helped throughout the trip
    - After getting a Fresh Oil Change two days before leaving, Also purchased an extra liter of oil for the road

    What I forgot was to purchase a pump, someone might help me change a tube but how would we pump air into the tire? That was something I realized much later after returning back to Karachi.

    I guess these are all the items I got done to the Bike before leaving. Now I should point out once again that all these ideas I got on this website from reading many other postings except for the lighter adapter which was my idea since I could not go an entire day without being certain I had a mobile which was charged for security situations in case I needed to call someone.

    I had a Thermos with ice cubes and frozen cold water along with frozen water bottles for the road.

    I began my trip exactly at 3:30 AM on Wed Aug 21st in order to do most of my drive in cool temperatures and avoid the summer heat. My plan was to clear Sindh in Day time and enter Punjab before sun set and take a hotel in Rahim Yar Khan. Now I had no idea just how long it would take me to reach Rahim Yar Khan so I planned a stop at RY Khan for the first night. My relative who lived in Hyderabad the year before had been re-posted to Dera Ismail Khan so now the plan was to stop there on my way to Islamabad, which meant a new route I had never been on.

    So my second night stay would have to be DI Khan if I could reach it.

    I left Karachi with a half tank of Fuel (Rs 500) in order to keep the weight light so I could easily cope with the steep hills I had to climb on my way to Hyderabad knowing full well that I would find many petrol pumps along the way. The plan was to fill up just after crossing Hyderabad as it would be a more flatter and smoother ride. I cleared Hyd just after 6:30 AM and filled up to the top. I drove past many farming communities and realized that although I had driven this route many times over the past 3 years, I never saw this view from the car which I was enjoying now on my bike trip. I kept a steady speed of 80 and sometimes even touched 90 on clear roads but had to slow back down 70 near heavy traffic.

    I stopped somewhere at a Truck Stop (Charpai Hotel) for breakfast at around 9 AM, not sure if I can remember the place but it may be close to Moro. I am certain that the very first 3 pics should remind some of the readers as to the location if they have traveled this route.


    After a 45 Minute stop for nashta which I had on a Charpai I got back on my bike and head further into Sindh. Now I should also mention that I had my relatives believe I would go by Bus and book my Bike on top all the way to Islamabad and then do my road trip from Isb to Naran. No one would believe it was possible or even safe to travel by bike this long route. This is why you will notice I had most all of my pics with my bike in order to later convince people that I in fact drove my bike and did not just stop the bus to take pics along the way.

    Most of the readers will automatically recognize these areas of interior Sindh along Kherpur, Gotki and other areas where I stopped to take pics.
    As it got closer and closer to the afternoon, it got hotter and hotter. I would stop periodically to open the water bottle in my saddle bag on the side which was already warm, so I would take a cup which I carried and mix the ice cold water with the warm water so as to not to have a very cold drink and at the same time make the water cold enough to drink and keep myself hydrated in the heat of August.

    I was expecting to reach the border of Punjab and cross Sadiqqabad and catch a hotel in RY Khan sometime in the evening knowing full well that I would have to stop within Sindh to take rest under the shade of a tree during the afternoon, but to my surprise I kept riding without tiring and by 2:30 pm I was already at RY Khan. I wondered what I would do all day in RY Khan and rather than sleeping it off at the hotel all day I decided to keep on going and pushed further ahead and improvise on my night stay along the way.

    Although I would stop from time to time to drink plenty of water along the way I noticed now that I was not perspiring, I was not passing urine, and so I was wondering where all that water was going. I mean I had possible drank almost 3 liters of water, two full Nestle bottles which are at least a liter and a half each. But soon I came head on with my worst fears. I began to feel a light headache which got worst as I drove, I was feeling the heat radiating from the asphalt on the road below me and I felt hotter and hotter with my forehead beginning to sweat.

    I was come down with a heat stroke. I quickly started searching for any shade I could find but to my surprise, after passing RY Khan I really didn't see any tree but rather just fields and fields of vegetation. Soon I began to see trees in a distance and now I began to wish for a tree I could just drive my bike across the field and park under the tree to rest it off and cool down.

    There was a small dirt road cutting of the highway into some village in a distance but that road was enough for me to have access to the tree line and I just drove into the field of grass and parked my bike under the rich green trees. I pulled out a plastic sheet which I had carried with me for such occasions and laid it on the uneven dried mud field and then took out the plain which sheet to lay on top of the plastic sheet and then used the cushion I was carrying to sit on as a pillow and just laid down to sleep. I don?t know when I dosed off to sleep but could hear people walking in the distance on that dirt road hardly 50 feet from where I was sleeping. From time to time I would open my eyes and see the people walk by or on bikes who were locals and they would look at me but carried on without stopping.

    When I finally woke it was past 5:30 pm and I slowly got up, took out some much needed cold water and mixed it with the water from the bottle and drank a good three glasses down. I sat simply lay for another 10 mins or so and then folded the bed sheet and the plastic sheet and put them back in place.
    I got back on the road and although I could still feel the heat readiating from the road beneath me, it was nothing as before and I also knew it would cool down now that the sun was at an angle and would set in another two to three hours.

    From my map I knew I had to get off the main N5 highway and go towards Uch Sharif and then onward towards DI Khan and stop for night stay somewhere at a Hotel. When I reached Uch it was almost Maghrib time so I stopped at the most beautiful Charpai Hotel that I had ever seen. It was beautifully built with paved parking lot, a nice small mosque next to it which was glittering in marble and glass designs and kalima written all around it in colorful tiles. It was so well lit with dozens of bulbs. So I stopped for Maghrib and then decided to have dinner. As usual I asked the waiter for a nice meal and then they asked where I was coming from and where I was heading upon seeing the luggage on my bike. I told them and they were shocked, that I had driven all the far from Karachi. I asked how far Ali Pur was since that was on route, they said it would be another 2 hours so I asked if there were any hotels to stay at in Ali Pur. They one by one along with other customers who heard of my trip and where I planned on going came to me and requested I not drive further due to bad security conditions during the night as well as there are no services along the way until Ali Pur in case I got a tire puncture or other problems. They all recommended I stay the night at the charpai hotel.

    So after dinner and isha I asked where I could sleep since my bike had luggage which was difficult for me to undo and then again it took a while for me to tie it and didn't want to waste time in the morning putting it on once again. So they suggested they would set up a charpai for me in the veranda (baranda) where I could park my bike next to me and they too had armed guards who would also watch out for my luggage and bike so not to worry. And the best part was the stay overnight was absolutely FREE. So I did just that and was fast asleep by 9:30 pm and had set my mobile alarm for 4 am in order to be on the road early to beat the summer heat and not face another day of heat stroke on my way to DI Khan.

    When I woke up in the morning at 4 am I shut the alarm and went back to sleep since it was such a restful sleep with a cool breeze thinking I would just rest for another 10 mins before getting up. It was the morning azan which I woke up to at around 5: 00 AM. I quickly told the waiter to prepare nashta for me (Chai Paratha) while I go to offer namaz. After nashta at 5:30 I was about to leave but was requested to wait till the sun came out for safety and so I did just that. There are a few pics of my morning nashta in that charpai hotel at Uch.

    I filled up at their pump and by 6 AM I was on the road again passing through many rivers along the road which were so pretty seeing the reflection in the water early in the morning.

    I drove to DG Khan, and then to DI Khan where I reached at 1:30 PM and stayed with my relative Major Hasan for two days. Enjoyed his family?s hospitality and wonderful food. And on Sat Aug, 24th at 6 Am after breakfast Major Hasan arranged for his Driver and Guard to escort me for a safe passage to the city limits and they put me on the road leading to Chashma.



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    Default Last Few Pics of the Day

    I was on the road to Chillas, well not exactly because you never really reach Chillas. Chillas is another few kms ahead but you have to make a left turn to get onto the mountain to head up to Babusar Top.

    Actually, from the map it shows that in the past we would have had to go to Chillas and then go up the mountain but that would add another 20 kms to the trip aside from the fact that you would also have to go through the traffic of Chillas in order to get to the mountain. Whereas now they have a cut from the main KK Highway directly to where the mountain begins so you can avoid going further up the road to Chillas only to come back from Chillas on the other road to get onto the mountain.

    Now this cut from the KK Highway was still not paved and was gravel and dirt road still under construction. When I got off the KK Highway and onto the dirt road I was faced with a bulldozer moving dirt off the road as they were still building that road.

    It was a bit of a weight because although there was space for me to pass the dirt was so high that I was sure I would get stuck in deep soil and rocks which the bulldozer was trying to shift around. So I waited a good 10 minutes for the bulldozer to shift and balance the road to a point I saw the tracks of the bulldozer which I decided to drive over since under the weight of the bulldozer the soil had hardened and safe to travel on.

    There was another old corolla waiting behind me and as I crossed that track I looked behind in my mirror and saw the car was struggling to cross that patch since he went on the soft part of the soil but eventually made it over.

    Now the mountain had begun but not really any substantial climb. It was just a combination of valleys and small hills surrounded by beautiful mountains on either side. Surprisingly, it was a completely paved road most of the drive.

    As I drove on I found that it was getting darker now, mainly due to the heavy cloud cover. But more importantly, it was getting kind of cold which was very pleasant at first but got colder and colder soon enough.

    I passed beautiful little villages in the mountains which I decided to capture while driving in order to save time. I finally reached a point of no return and had no other alternative but to stop and take out my jacket from my backpack as it was getting extremely cold now.

    I waited until I reached a leveled road to stop on and then parked the bike. I first took out my helmet clear visor for the night and put away my dark shaded day visor, but I always had a habit of wiping it clean before i put it away. So I pulled out the wet wipes and cleaned the shade from the inside and outside and then pulled out the paper towel roll to dry it clean. Then I had a cloth I would wrap the shade in and pack in the bag pack so it would not be crushed from the weight and when I tied it down.

    Then I pulled out my jacket, and extra pair of gloves. The gloves were not very heavy, just your regular cotton riding gloves which I put on top of the other riding gloves I had on. I used the warm hood of the jacket to cover my head, then squeezed my helmet on. The jacket was lined and warm and now I felt comfortable and ready for the cold climb up the mountain.

    While I was unpacking and getting ready I had an old man from the village pass me by as he walked across the road and stopped to ask if everything was fine because he saw me open my back pack and unload some stuff (jacket, visor, cleaning paper).

    I said everything is fine, I was just getting cold so I am bundling up. He asked where I was going, and I responded with Naran. He said, "but it will be dark by the time you reach Babusar Top". I said I have no choice and must keep on going.

    He said please stop here the night and leave early in the morning. I asked where is there a place to stay here, as it was a village. He said you can stay at my home and you are my guest so please come and rest tonight and leave in the morning.

    I was humbled by the man's simplicity, kindness and generosity. I have never seen so much hospitality anywhere as much in KPK, it was surprising and at the same time very moving to see that people cared so much. In Karachi first of all you cannot expect this kind of hospitality, and if you do get it somehow people think there must be a hidden agenda.

    Anyways, I thanked him and shook his had for the wonderful hospitality and the offer but I really had to move on. What he said next surprised me. He said his name (I am bad with names and forgetting now) and after saying his name he said if you go further and after some time feel you can't go any longer just come back down and stay with us tonight. That was the ultimate in hospitality if you ask me.

    Again I accepted that offer and agreed that if I came to the point I could not go any further in the dark I would return and stay with him for the night.

    I then kept on going faster and faster now to beat the oncoming darkness ahead. But it wasn't the darkness that I was fearful of ... As I began to ascend up the dirt road, unpaved road up the mountain you can see from the very last picture and it will give you the idea of what was to come.
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  3. #222
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    Default

    Excellent updates.
    Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity... ~ John Muir

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sulaiman75 View Post
    You don't need any advice on Suzuki 150 because its not only the long drive you have to think of because its extremely comfortable and smooth on a long drive on highways, but more importantly you will also be driving it here in Karachi. And in Karachi we all know that Honda is the one that is highly sought after or stolen. So Suzuki is the best option in the heavier bikes specially due to the Auto-Start option which is the best part.

    But any advice you need you are more than welcome and I am certain you will get a lot more people on this thread also giving you some wonderful tips and advice since I am very new to the bike scene and only have this trip and another one I took recently which I will start a threat on in the coming days once this is completed.

    So feel free to ask anything that you like, I will also advise you on things I could have done but realized after returning that could have been useful but we learn from experience, and you have all my experience you can learn from as well many other bloggers on PW.

    Sulaiman
    Sulaiman bhai, my email is atifmanzoorkhan@hotmail.com. if you don't mind, can you share ur contact detail on my email. I assure you that I would not bug you a lot. :-)

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    Default True adventure begins ......

    My speed up the mountain was frantic, at first there was no other traffic so I would rev the engine high to make the steep climbs and slow down to make the turn on the winding dirt road and even at times tilt the bike using gravity as a leverage to make the sharp turns without slowing down too much.

    I made some skids and slides in order to make quick turns knowing I would be safe as there was no edge in the direction I was making the turns. At times I would drive up long track of road with gravel and finely chopped rocks on the road where I had to choose the best place to go over in order to keep my tires from cutting though I had very little choice.

    As I kept climbing in high speeds I realized something .... I was warm but my face was cold. In fact I felt something that was a bit of a problem for me.

    My nose began running due to cold wind coming through my helmet onto my face. What was so difficult was I needed both hands on the handle bars with full attentiveness and had no chance of cleaning my nose so I kept sniffling for a while until it became uncontrollable so I pulled over on the side where I found a bit of balanced track of road. I got off the bike found the paper roll in my back pack and took out a whole lot of paper to use for the remaining part of my ride up the mountain.

    I mounted my bike and again started rushing up the mountain in high speed but it began to get darker and darker and colder and colder.

    It go real dark and my HID came one and was doing real well until I felt clouds all around me. I then realize my worst nightmare. How the heck will I see in the heavy clouds in the dark because as I drove further and further up the mountain the headlight although working extremely well, was beginning to bounce back from the clouds and I was hardly seeing anything but white cloud in front. The HID would reflect back and I would see nothing.

    Naturally, I had to slow down but that was not an option because in order to keep the momentum going I needed to keep moving or I may get to a point where the bike could roll back.

    I began to shiver and after so many years, and I do many may years, did I feel my teeth chatter from the cold.

    I WAS IN TROUBLE !!!


    I kept going on at a much slower speed now and gave full attention not to the road ahead, since I couldn't see any road. But I was looking maybe 3 to 5 feet in front of my front tire only. That was all I could see.

    My fear was missing a turn and going off the edge of the mountain.

    I was going zig zag now because the bike could not climb at such slow speeds up such a steep mountain so in order to keep the momentum going I would go from right to left to right to left and make sure bike kept moving.

    It was getting more and more colder, and less and less visible and I then realized I should have taken up the offer of the man in the last village or even stayed the night at Shinvari Restaurant.

    But at this stage I had no other choice but to carry one. I kept driving in the dark and then felt a smooth road beneath me. This was a shear signal that I was coming close to the Army Check Post at Babusar Top... And the first thought that crossed my mind was ......
    YES .... CHAI


    Well in that shivering condition I thought I approached the check post since but wasn't sure because I could not see anything but knew there was nothing other than a check post on the paved road.

    But the check post never came. Well it did come only I was driving so slow due to no visibility that it was taking me forever to get to it and I needed a hot cup of Tea when I got there.

    Soon I came to a spot where I could see a rope crossing the road five feet ahead of me so I stopped but could not see around me as to where all the officers were. I heard a voice from the right and suddenly a dim light appeared a few feet away from me. It was an army officer with a flashlight walking towards me and asking me to come with him to register.

    I kept the bike running and turned off the HID but kept the low lamp on to make sure I can find the bike in this pitch darkness. The first thing I said to him was, "Kal ap ne Chai ki offer di thi lekin me jaldi me tha to nahi pee. Aj pehle Chai pila do phir bat karte hen". He said, "Chai vala to ja chuka ha or abi ma akela hu sari rat". I was so disappointed.

    But what I wondered is why he would be alone an entire night? I asked and he said that at night no one really goes through here so no need for too many jawans. I asked is there no traffic at all during the night? He said there is the odd truck but due to the heavy cloud there will be no one coming or going until the morning.

    That troubled me even more. I asked if there was any place for me to stay the night here and he said no, its best you keep going and make it to the bottom since the cloud will lighten up as you go further down. He also said that due to security reasons we are not permitted to allow anyone staying here with us overnight.

    I accepted and after checking in I turned back to the bike and all I saw was a glow of dim light in the clouds and total darkness ..... as in BLACK ... REAL BLACK DARKNESS all around.

    I gathered my strength and walked to the bike and when I looked back I could not see the officer and as I mounted the bike I noticed the rope in front of my front tire move down and drop on the road which meant he was near the post and let down the rope for me to pass, but I still could not see him in this dense cloud.

    I began to drive again and had trouble determining the direction of the road but kept following the direction of the angle of the paved road and could tell by the contour of the road that it was about to turn so followed the turn all the wile shivery and teeth chattering.

    I was now extremely cold as the wind was going through two layers of gloves, my jacket was warm but I could feel a breeze go through the jacket somehow, my body core was getting cold and my cheeks felt as if they were stiff due to extreme cold. I am not sure if it was below zero but maybe it was, certainly with the windchill.

    I then came to a point where the clouds were so dense I just could not see anything, even an inch in front of me. In fact I could not see even the front tire and only the glow of light. This was a big problem now since I was back on the gravel road and knew very well I was very high up on the mountain since it was still a long drive down because I had driven past here the day before and knew how high I still was. The only positive thing was that since I was heading down the mountain I had no worry of the bike turning off and could easily drive in neutral using my breaks in first gear.

    Due to the fact I could not see the road any longer, let alone in which direction it was turning I decided to stop and kept the bike running. I was freezing, I was frustrated and didn't know what to do.

    At that moment I realized I had no other alternative but to stop. It was too cold, and nothing to see so I needed to first preserve my body heat and decided I needed to get the sleeping bag out and bundle up for the night and just sleep right here since there was nothing I could see and no one else would come this way as they also could not see a thing.

    But to be on the safe side I wanted to find the side of the mountain where I could sit against and park my bike next to in order to clear the middle of the road. Now how would I do that, I thought.

    I was still sitting on my bike and for a moment reached down to the right side and touched the hot silencer of the bike with my right hand (inside glove) but could not feel much other than a wee bit of warmth. I thought the glove might burn before I feel any heat on the inside. I just sat there thinking of my options. How much would I sleep I sleep?

    I looked at my watch and realized what the heck will I see in the dark, I leaned forward and reached my hand out in front of the headlight and saw it was only 8 pm. This was not good. If its this cold at 8 pm what will it be like at 1 am or 2 am?

    I then realized it was futile to stay here the night no matter how much I bundle up in the sleeping back as it may not protect me from the cold that is still yet to come at late night.

    I then decided I need to keep moving. While still sitting on the bike I reached behind me and felt for the emergency light I had on me which I knew was fully charged. I got off my bike, could not see a thing but was able to feel my bag and the opening zipper and had to take off my gloves to open the zipper and pull out the emergency light without dropping anything else out of the bad in the dark. I first went to the silencer and rubbed my hands in the moist air of the exhaust coming out, I didn't have a choice but to warm them up. Then I came to the back pack and with the rear red light I was able to see the edge of the bag and pull out the light and as soon as my hand touched the inside of the bag to feel the light I first felt for the on switch so the light was on even before it came out of the bag and I made sure nothing else dropped out.

    I put my gloves back on and with the light pointing to the ground in front of me I began to walk around my bike in small circles while the bike engine was still running and the head light on full beam. I gradually began to make larger circles as I walked farther around the bike looking for darkness in the road. When I saw the dark nothing in front of me I knew that was the edge of the mountain and then I walked back a bit and looked at the ground again to my right and left and by doing so I was able to figure out where NOT to Go.

    I came back to the bike, sat on it, turned off the light and put it back in my pocket, zipped up my pocket and began to drive in the direction I assumed the road to be. I drove ever so slowly in first gear trying to balance the bike and touching my feet on the ground due to very slow speed. As I began to drive I realized I was going up. I thought how can that be, but then I thought this may be a temporary climb in the road ahead so drove for another few feet until I saw the road turn to the left and a steep climb. I stopped. I realized I was heading back up the mountain and in the wrong direction.

    I turned the bike around very carefully and rolled down hill again and remembered where I had come up from a few feet ago.

    I kept praying and rolling down an inch at a time all the while looking down to the right and left for any dark patches which meant edge of the mountain. I had my head leaned forward as close as possible to the headlight to get a view of the tire and road below. I knew that if I even see an inch of darkness I will jam both breaks in order to prevent myself from rolling down the mountain.

    I kept this going for quite some time and soon noticed I was able to see a few inches ahead of my tire without leaning forward and realized I was coming down the mountain enough now that the clouds were gradually dissipating. Only then did I realize I wasn't as cold any more, well it was still very cold but my teeth were not chattering and I was not shivering as much.

    This gave me a bit of energy and hope and I carried on. I then came to a dirt road, no rocks or gravel, only dirt. I drove as much as I could then realized I was facing a dark patch in front of me and to my left as well as the right. I was very confused as the road suddenly vanished and I was at the edge of the cliff on three sides.

    I again got off my bike, made circles around my bike with the emergency light and and as I came close to the left side and the front, they were indeed very dark and certainly the edge of the mountain. So I checked the right side and saw that there was a road but it had a sudden dip in it which I could not see past the edge from my bike. I walked down that dip for a few yards to confirm that indeed it was the road and then came back up to the bike where the light was brightly lit. I mounted the bike and began towards the steep descent.

    This went on for quite some time and eventually it got a bit more clearer and I had more visibility although not perfectly clear. I then came to what looked like a bridge and uneven ground all around as if work was going on in that area. This meant i must be near a village though I could not see any light anywhere. When I came to getting on to the little wooden bridge, for some reason I could not recognize it from the day before but I knew there was only one road to Naran and I was on it. I parked my bike just before getting onto this small wooden bridge and then realized it was a broken bridge from the middle, there was no bridge. Now I knew I had not gone over this yesterday so there must be another bridge close by.

    As I walked around this uneven dry mud/dirt area to my left I saw a metal frame and as I came closer to it with my emergency light I could see a bridge but it was almost 4 feet higher than I was. So i traced the route and saw that there was a mud road at higher elevation that was leading to this bridge. I walked on the side of this road leading back to my bike in a distance.

    When I got on my bike I followed that uphill direction and reached the bridge. This was the third and last time I had to get off my bike to check out the surroundings for safety but I was glad I had that emergency light on me.

    Soon the clouds lightened up but still it was pitch dark and the road became paved in some areas and straight, I was off the mountain.

    As I sped up now on the clear road I felt cold again with the speed and wind but had no other choice but to drive on. I soon smelt a fragrance which meant there was someone burning wood but could not see anything.

    The road turned I think and in a distance I saw a small dim red light which meant FIRE !!! I kept driving and as I got closer I saw that it was a hut of some kind with Fire burning inside and the road got wider and I slowed down and saw trucks parked on the side and a few mini vans as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by atifkh74 View Post
    Sulaiman bhai, my email is atifmanzoorkhan@hotmail.com. if you don't mind, can you share ur contact detail on my email. I assure you that I would not bug you a lot. :-)
    Email has been sent as per request

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    Default A dream come true !!!

    Upon approaching this location I could think of nothing more than

    JUST STOP !!!


    I parked the bike to the side of the road, locked it and as I got off two men were walking to their truck and I asked them without hesitation .... Yahan Chai milegi? Their response was .... Han han, sab kuch milega ... and they kept walking.

    I ran inside and it was packed. People were huddled in close proximity and some near the only fireplace there which was the cooking area. People were eating, having chai, smoking, and just chit chatting in this warm large hut.

    I tried getting as close to the fire as possible and people generously made space enough for me to sit on the ledge while stretching out my hands onto the warm Fire which was now a Blessing for me. I took off my gloves, open my coat and was still shivering every now and then since the core of my body was still cold.

    I ordered a hot doodh patti and soon enough felt warm so I took off my jacket, undid my shoes and climbed up on this ledge and sat there close to the fire as the tea was served. I then thought of finally pulling out my camera to take shot of this scene but decided not to use flash that would catch the attention of all the people here. So I discretely managed to take a pic or two without flash.

    I noticed two guys with jackets and jeans and one came up to me and said Salam. We shook hands and they asked where I was going. I said Naran, they were surprised and asked why I was going back? I said I had a short trip and due to lack of time I had only one day here and now heading back to Naran. They were still confused.

    I then asked where they were coming from and they said Naran. I figured they had stopped due to cold and clouds up ahead but did not recall any private cars or bikes outside so what mode of transport were they on? I asked and they said they are in a van and the driver will not go further due to heavy clouds and we are staying here for the night.

    I told them I am on a bike, and they asked if I was going to Chillas at this time of night? Then I realized their confusion. They thought I had just come from Naran as they had done. I then told them I was coming from Gilgit direction and had just come from Chillas area and going towards Naran.

    They just looked at one another in disbelief. They said, how this could be possible as the drivers of all the trucks and vans are stopped here because they are saying no one is going up the mountain now due to heavy clouds. And I just laughed and said, no one knows it better than me. I just came through that hell of a ride and so I know first hand.

    We were speaking in urdu and as I mentioned above that every one was huddled close together in close proximity so a few men near us heard our conversation and they came to question me.

    Q: When did you leave Chillas?
    Ans: I didn't go to Chillas as I was coming from Astor.

    Q: When did you cross Babusar Top?
    Ans: Around 7 PM.

    Q: Why did you not stop?
    Ans: Where could I stop on the mountain in this cold?

    That was all and they then in a very surprised manner spoke in their own language amongst themselves, not sure if it was pushto or another language.

    The two guys in Jeans were from Karachi as well somewhere in N. Nazimabad. They asked when I left Naran to cross this mountain, and I said yesterday. Again they were confused. They said they too took a van to Gilgit yesterday but at Babusar Pas they were turned around as it was not safe on the road to Gilgit.

    I asked what time that was, they said around 4 pm. I am not sure but I think I may have passed the same spot on Babusar Top the day before only an hour or two before them and had no problems. I said they let me through without any issues and many of the other people coming and going never mentioned any trouble and the army officers also never mentioned anything. Perhaps something happened just after my crossing because I have no idea and never heard anything.

    They said they are attempting to go to Gilgit again today hoping for the safety issue to be cleared but the van will first go to Chillas where they will be under army protection to Gilgit.

    That was when I realized what I had seen earlier in the day with all those buses and vans traveling to Gilgit in a large caravan.

    Then I asked where in Gilgit will they go, they said no idea we will just go and explore. I then told the same what I was told the day before that Gilgit is too hot, go to Astor or to Skardu. They asked how they could get to both. I said, I am not sure about how a van would get there but I think you can get all that information at the bus station in Chillas since they would have transport heading to Gilgit and Astor although comes before Gilgit I doubt there is any van going from Chillas to Astor but perhaps from Gilgit to Astor.

    I told them it would be best to speak with the drivers since they knew the areas well as well as the method of getting there by way of local transport since I was on a bike and made my own routes.

    After a good 45 mins warm up session I got back on my bike and drove to Naran. I did manage to take a some pics of the shed from outside as I was leaving.

    It seemed to have rained a bit earlier since there were wet roads and small puddles of water along the way but did not rain as I drove to Naran.

    It was dark but comfortable drive since it wasn't as cold or cloudy, I had full visibility but due to wet roads had to drive carefully.

    I reached Naran at exactly 10:30 pm and went straight to the very same hotel where I had stayed the day before. (Naran Punjab Hotel). They recognized me and I got a room for the same rate (Rs 300).

    I unloaded my luggage, kept on eye on my red cushion this time and after unloading walked in the market to have dinner at the same hotel that I had food at the day before.

    In the evening they run generators in all hotels in Naran since there is no power supply there. The timings are from 7 pm to 11:30 or midnight depending on the hotel. I figured I only had an hour or so to charge my camera battery so I quickly put the camera on charge in order to be able to take pics the next day.

    I was not able to take any further pics that night and just went to have dinner at the Unique Cafe.
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    Thumbs up Zabardast!

    Finally reached page 12. What a lovely adventure! Its like reading a novel. You write with such detail and emotion that I feel like I am there. Please keep it up and eagerly waiting for updates!
    :-)

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    Default Plans for the Next Day - Big Surprise

    Now that I had mobile reception I decided to call Islamabad to speak with my uncle to see what time and day he had book my flight back to Karachi.

    So after ordering dinner at the restaurant I called Islamabad and another Surprise was waiting for me.

    Of course he asked about my trip to Gilgit and why I never called from there, I told him had to detour and went instead to Astor. He was happy but disappointed I missed out on Deosai. He is an avid traveler himself and has seen most of the Northern areas and so he is always supporting me in whatever I decide in travel.

    When I asked him about the flight timing he said he canned the idea of me flying back and instead booked a Train ticket for me by Business Class. I said WHAT ???? By TRAIN????

    He said that in this trip I must experience a Pakistani Train Ride as its a lot of fun, I was a bit surprised but thought I have a day and a half of rolling from side to side in a shaky train with people i don't know. What kind of an adventure would that be?

    But figured, why not ! Sure, I will take the train. I asked him when do I leave, he said TOMORROW NIGHT !!! Now this is referring to the following day when I return to Islamabad (Friday). He asked at what time I will return, I said I should be there by 5 or 6 pm at the latest. He said he tried many different options of trains but in the last minute he could only get the night train at 1:30 AM. Technically, it was Sat morning at 1:30 am but we still consider that Friday night.

    As for the Bike, it was already planned that he would ship it to Karachi via rail regardless of whether I flew back or as of now, I take the train back.

    He then asked if I had visited Lala Zaar the day before while in Naran. At first I was quiet and didn't know how to respond because I had never heard that name before ..... Lala Zaar ? The reason I was quiet was for some reason it was the name of a person, Lala ..... Zaar and didn't remember him mentioning to me he knew anyone in Naran.

    So I asked ye kon ha? He then told me its a nice mountain scenic area in Naran Valley. He told me to wake up early, visit Lala Zaar as well as the Cave in Naran before returning to Islamabad. He forcefully said .... Agar ap ne Naran me Lala Zaar or vo Ghar ni dekha to ap ne kya dekha. Ye Zaroor dekhe han.

    Ok so that was the next day plan. After hanging up I spoke with the waiter who placed the food on the table for me and asked him where is lalazar, he said bas thora sa agay. Agay? Kitna agay? Thora agay and he walked away.

    That didn't satisfy me and then I thought I need to ask the guys at the hotel.

    When I returned to the hotel it was dark, it was 11:45 pm and the power was off meaning generators were already shut down. I saw a person walking in the parking lot and asked him where lalazar was, he didn't know but said there is a jeep driver and maybe he knows.

    The driver came and I asked him and he said he knew it well and its only one hour and 15 minutes from here up the mountain. I knew right then ....... DON'T TAKE THE BIKE !!!! TAKE A JEEP !!!

    I then asked where can I get a jeep in the morning, he asked where I am staying, and I said right here. He said this is where he will come then. I asked how much it will cost, he said Rs 2000. I said thats too much for just one person, he said its 2000 whether you book the jeep for one person or for 6 people. The more the people the cheaper it is so you can divide it but no one is going to lalazar now and only to Saif Ul Maluk. I asked about the Cave, he said he heard about it and will find it but never been there.

    So we agreed to the terms of 2000 just for me and he would meet me here in the morning at 5:45 am and take me to lalazar and then to the Cave.
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    sooooper.. i have no words to praise!!

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    Great post and what adventure for the life !

    Awesome sir

    and thanks thanks thanks for sharing with us

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    Quote Originally Posted by himmi_Pak View Post
    Great post and what adventure for the life !

    Awesome sir

    and thanks thanks thanks for sharing with us

    Thanks and I am glad to know you enjoyed it. There is just a bit more and then it will be over, I will be back in Karachi ( I mean from this Trip ) Which for me most certainly was a memorable and perhaps the best in my life.
    What I Call Adventure .... Some May Call Insanity

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    Default Day 11 - Friday Aug 30th Heading ot Lalazar

    Woke up Bright and Early, Got Packed Up and ready to head out and was done by 5:40 AM.

    The plan was to be back at the hotel, check out and be on the road heading back to Islamabad between 8 am and 9 am at the latest. After all, I had a train to catch late that night.

    Went downstairs to look for the Jeep Driver and he was waiting for me. I told him I am ready to go so he said he will get the jeep out which was parked in the hotel parking. I said to him that I first wish to have Breakfast and then we will go.

    He said that I can have Breakfast here or at Lalazar. I was kind of intrigued that we could have breakfast at Lalazar, that would be interesting. So just to be sure I asked if there are hotels up there, he said yes there is a hotel up there and they offer complete Nashta.

    So it was decided that we would drive to Lalazar and have breakfast there. While he walked up to the Jeep and brought it out on the road I took a couple of pics of the Hotel and then we got going.

    The Pics below are of the road and route I had traveled on the night before when I froze my buns off returning from Astor.

    I took a few snaps of the route since its an entirely different thing when someone else is driving and you get to see many other views you may have missed the day before. But then it had once again rained at night I think since the roads were moist.

    The pics are self explanatory, it was a cloudy morning and a tad bit cold but manageable.
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    What I Call Adventure .... Some May Call Insanity

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    Default Still heading to Lalazar

    We were getting ever so close to the location where we had to turn off the highway and get onto the rough road to go up to Lalazar.

    Almost there.
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    What I Call Adventure .... Some May Call Insanity

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    Default Going Up the Mountain towards Lalazar

    The Driver came to the side of the road and stopped next to a mud trail in the lush green grass that covered the mountainside. He then got out of the jeep and it seemed as he is checking something on the tire.

    I was hoping we didn't have a puncture already. He first went to his side of the front tire so I could not see what he was looking for and then he came on my side of the front tire and I took my head out the window to see what was going on.

    He had a clamp of some sort and he was twisting or tightening the center of the tire. I could not figure this out and when he stepped back in the jeep after a brief hardly 2 minute stop I asked what he was doing.

    He said he was putting the 4 X 4 on. I didn't get it, what did that have to do with him doing something to the tires, did he not have the 4 X 4 gear inside the jeep.

    He then told me that these old model jeeps you have to switch on the 4 X 4 from the outside and when we come back down he will have to take it off again from the outside. This was news to me, never heard that before.

    Anyways, we began our upward climb and it was very steep at first and then leveled off for a while and it was the same drive through out, up and down, up and down, very very jumpy but OH What a Scene it was with the clouds rolling by.

    On our way up I must have seen fields and fields of rolling hills with the same flower plant I saw the day before when I was heading to Astor. This time I just had to ask. I asked him what this flower plant was for, was it some medicinal plant indigenous to this region? He told me its a Potato plant, that is when I first learned how Potatoes really grow. One plant can have as much as 6 to 8 potatoes in the ground.

    After God knows how long we finally reached what seemed to be a large grassy flat land with a house and parking and then there were some personal huts or cabins that I could see in a distance. I think the time may have been around 6:50 am. We came rather fast due to lack of traffic.
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    What I Call Adventure .... Some May Call Insanity

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    Default

    like other member said narration is like a novel salute janab well done
    - www.crackwheels.com - A skilled Dictator is much more beneficial to Country......than a Democracy of Ignorant people

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    Default Finally Reached Lalazar !!!

    As soon as we arrived at Lalazar I told the driver to take some pics of me to capture the morning glory. He took a few pics and then said he would arrange for breakfast. He walked to the house seen in these pics, in fact you can see him walk to the house in the 7th pic below.

    He knocked on the door and I even heard him call out someone's name. I guess people knew one another on first name bases in these areas. Now I heard him knock and yell out a name for a good 3 to 4 Minutes in which time he also seemed to have walked around the house. And I thought to my self

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    No Nashta

    Well the driver began walking back towards me and then I saw the door open of the house and a man in white Banyan (t-shirt) and shalwar stood in the door rubbing his head, his hair were obviously scattered. The driver heard him and went back to talk to him. I knew it was futile, there was no breakfast, at least not in the next hour for sure.

    The driver came back and said the hotel owner will start now so he is saying to be back by 8 am. I said that's too late but what was more unnerving was that there were heavy white clouds heading in our direction. It was a WALL of Clouds moving in,

    I figured there would be nothing to see up here when those clouds move in so I quickly began taking what pictures I could of the area. And when the clouds surrounded us I told the driver to get us out of here and head back down.

    I didn't want to be caught up in a scene like last night, not that it would be dark but if we can't see anything up here then whats the point of being here. It was the views I came up here for.

    So I sat in his seat to see what it felt like driving and the steering was at my chest, not very practical. We then were on our way down and I think we probably stopped here less than 15 minutes altogether.
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    Default Heading back Down

    Well we just got back in the Jeep and began our drive back down the mountain. What a waste, it was such a beautiful location but we could not see much.

    I am sure the cloud cover would have dissipated in an hour or so but I did not have the luxury of time so we decided to head down instead.
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    What I Call Adventure .... Some May Call Insanity

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    Default Still Coming Down from Lalazar

    We saw some spectacular views on our way down.

    In one of the pics you can see in a distance very far below us on the trail a jeep coming up and then there are other pics where we eventually cross one another.
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    Default Reached Back Down

    We passed this house on the hill where the family had just woken up and were perhaps getting ready for breakfast. Very beautiful surroundings.

    We eventually arrived on the road again and the driver took the jeep off of 4 wheel drive, I was able to take a pic of it this time.

    We passed a waterfall on the way back and this time I requested him to stop so I could have a pic or two taken.


    From the Waterfall we head back for Naran and just before touching the Naran Market there is a small street to the right where the jeep could only go for a few yards and then had to park. We then had to walk around a large rock ,,, not really a mountain but a rocky hill type. Around that hill we saw the small Cave that I was told to see

    Quite frankly I was not at all impressed but apparently there is a long history about that cave which to this day I never heard or asked about. In fact many of the locals even didn't know about the cave including the driver.

    He said he has heard there is a cave down here somewhere but has never ventured this route since no one has asked about it till today.
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    What I Call Adventure .... Some May Call Insanity

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