Just Exploring

Little by little we make small things big. Step by step we move forward. Following the right path, the Eightfold path, makes me calm, steady and happy. Did you find yours? Everybody has one, just some must look deeper or look for it longer. Just explore and it will unfold naturally.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cycling to ASia, week 14

Skardu is in a basin surrounded by 360 degrees panorama of snowy peaks, wide gorges and The Indus river. Wow! This is way different to hot Punjab in south, in fact is totally different to anything we came across on this trip. The locals looks more like Tibetans or Chinese, the landscape is picturesque and climate chilly. People speaks local dialects, they appear to be more indifferent when they see white faces like us, but never less warm-hearted when we approach them. From this perfect starting spot we decided to cycle to Gilgit and then possibly higher north.
After few hours of copping the flow of Indus with lots of adjacent villages, where wild and rough looking locals went trough they daily lives, we reached the more dramatic gorges cut by the river into the steep and rocky faces of the mountains. This remained unchanged for the following days ... just sometimes more scenic to previously more dramatic views... road is cutting here trough rocky slopes north of the river, sometimes reaching dreading heights, other times dropping almost to the sandy beaches on the shores. Climbs are interchanged with downhills, beautiful views with sharp and steep faces of the opposite peaks... it's just incredible and we are literally in rapture. We make only few km a day -not only because the road is demanding (even though not as much as we were dreading -it always looks more difficult from a bus!), but mostly because we take pictures and videos on every corner! Plus my throat is starting to cause me a trouble.
The camping places are rare, so we have to be careful not to ride too late into evening and than get stuck on a steep slopes, water supplies are also limited... and the weather can change dramatically in minutes as we experienced yesterday during the lake trip... this is a real expedition, no summer riding around Galanta... But we are lucky, camping on an abandoned government helicopter site is all right.
Just that I'm not all right. I woke up with sever sour throat, headache and running nose, nothing pleasant for biking in chilly air and up and down roads. But the surroundings are so extraordinary that I refuse to take a bus or pick up! I'd rather push the sickness aside and cycle it all. Easier said than done, but eventually I managed! Every climb I sweat like a pig, just to dress rigorously on the top and slide down cutting trough the cold air. Today we will do even less km than yesterday, but surprisingly is not just due to me -Dusan is in heaven and his camera too. (I hope you too -pictures will come soon) We found another superb camping spot -this time close to Indus, with hot spring pouring out of the rocks and magnificent peaks all around us.
Last day to Gilgit is like hell for me. My body is searching for the last bits of energy left somewhere... I don't even know where... coughing, sneezing and marveling at the sheer beauty around me. We reached the junction with KKH (Karakoram highway) and pushed the pedals to the regional capital of Gilgit.
The town is big and looks wild . We found the "bibles" no 1 hotel Medina and there I went straight to bed... waking up the next day with the worst sickness I can recall in recent past. Well but still the cycling was worth it, now I will rest and get well. In the mean time the lads can explore the surroundings -this will occupy them for a while so nobody minds that I'm stuck here for a while!
Guys planned to go hiking for 3 days, but Dusan woke up with sever sore muscles ofter their one day trip to 700 years old Buddha carvings in a near by rock face. So now we are two lying in the bed. The other two went for the hiking with one day delay... over all Gilgit is something like our base for almost a week... hopefully we recover fully! Back to our strength and lets go tackle the 4700m Khunjerab pass!

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