my dream of crossing 5100m chafchingol pass was what got us here in the first place. since all the others had other commitments and couldn't trek longer than two weeks, the initial plan was for me to do the extra 9 days to chafchingol and back by myself.
those plans got nixed on arrival - there was so much pressure from all sides - its not safe to go alone, the KKH is a murderous road, you cant come back alone on it, don't break the group, always stay together, this is Pakistan, things are 'bad' ------the objections were endless and i began to buy into them. i finally succumbed to them in Karachi and Islamabad, so much so that i told Gul at the get go that chafchingol was history, i was going only as far as the others. but somewhere in my gut i knew none of this was true - it was not only safe it would be the best thing i would ever do.
the last few days i kept mulling over what i should do - i was here, as far north as i would be in Pakistan, i had taken the time out, spent the money but most importantly the energy to get this far - to let it go when i was probably as fit and acclimatized as id ever be would be total foolishness. yet i didn't want to leave the group, i wanted to spend time with nargis in Karachi instead of meeting her next in LA, i wanted us all to experience chafchingol together -
finally on the very last day in shimshal i decided id do something shorter than 9 days - Gul suggested crossing the first pass en route to chafchingol - it would take 4 days to do the trek, id get to 5000m Boesum pass, camp at an incredibly beautiful place called 'Zardgurben', get back to Karachi to spend some time with nargis and most importantly feel i hadn't wasted this opportunity.
our farewell dinner at guls home was lively as always, yet there was an underlyng sadness as we were all parting ways next morning. the girls stayed up as late as their eyes stayed open, playing endless ludo and bullshit, just to soak in as much of this euphoria as possible.
but as all good things, this brief journey to shimshal also came to an end - we had thoroughly enjoyed each others company, that of our guide, his men, his family, the daily walk, the villagers in shimshal and shuwerth, the odd foreign visitor along the way, but most of all the insight wed each gained and the relationships wed developed with all the above. i don't have enough words to fully describe the many layers of such a journey - i can only express it by what i feel, my body language, my demeanor, my face, my looks, my attitude - it is the same way every time I've come back from a trek in Pakistan.
describing all its little and larger details becomes difficult, sometimes meaningless - those who know me can tell a large part of the story just by looking at me, but for those of you who haven't seen/met me i hope you can tell by the pictures and this first attempt at a blog, writing which, I've tried filling in the blanks for myself, so i don't forget in time, and for those of you who always ask me 'how was the trek, tell us all about it?'