I reluctantly emerged from my tent around 6.30am, my legs showing no sign of having recovered from the strenuous activities of the last two days. As I packed up my camp and prepared my bike, my legs began to loosen up and my doubts about how I would get through another day on the bike transitioned into excitement about what lay ahead. Fuelled by a plain paratha and a fried egg, I hit the road and continued my way upstream along the Hunza River. Once I again I passed through some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen. So dramatic and mesmerising. I think could be entertained for hours just sitting still and studying the colours and contours of the land. I rode well and didn’t feel as if I struggled too much. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, from the old guys sitting on shop doorsteps to the police manning the highway’s checkpoints. Even the girls offered smiles and hellos instead of avoiding any kind of interaction like in other parts of Pakistan.
It was around midday when I came across the sign pointing towards Karimabad. Getting into town involved the steepest climb I’ve had for months, but fortunately it only lasted for a few kilometres. I wasn’t really sure where the centre of town was, but decided I may as well continue uphill as far as I could be bothered. Just when I started thinking of turning around and exploring some other roads, I spied a sign announcing the presence of a guesthouse down a narrow lane. I had passed many other hotels and guesthouses, but something told me this was the place for me. I parked up my bike and went to investigate. Lo and behold I found a cute little property tucked away in the shade of large trees. I enquired about camping and was told I could set up my tent in the garden for 250r per night. I returned to the road to grab my bike.
As I re-entered the property I heard my name being shouted. Out came Roshaan, with whom I’d caught the bus to Gilgit from Islamabad. Somehow, out of all the accommodation options in town, my first choice was a hidden little place in which a friend was also staying. After settling in and catching up on some clothes washing, I joined Roshaan for a walk around town. He has been here for the last few days, so was full of good information about what to do. Our walk turned into a hike as we made our way up a little-known trail leading to a glacier. My body wasn’t quite ready for another strenuous hike, but the view it provided across Karimabad and the surrounding mountains was definitely worth it. Every day I seem to be able to say I’m seeing the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. This really is paradise on earth.
|Distance ridden today||32.42km|
|Average cycling speed||12.3kph|
|Total distance ridden||18,902km|