Been at Feary Meadows, Pakistan
We got shocked when we read the news coming from Pakistan, this morning...
10 people were killed - 9 tourists from Ukraine, Russia and China among them - by a militant group that invaded the mountain lodge where the people stayed, at the base camp of Nanga Parbat mountain.
Five years ago, during a trip around the world in a Land Rover (www.theworldoffroad.gr), we drove a tricky road and walked up to Fairy Meadows, the Nanga Parbat base camp.
This is a pristine, green plateau at 3,300 mts. right next to a monstrous, grey ice glacier.
It was a fantastic two days adventure for us then. I remember we left the Karakorum Highway (the modern silk road to China in the Hindu river valley) early in the morning south of Gilgit.
The previous day we had crossed Abbotabad, the town where Osama Bin Laden lived for years till he was found and killed by American Forces.
We remember we were wondering during that trip, where
Bin Laden might be hidden. According to rumors he was supposed to be further to the north, somewhere in Chitral, next to the border with Afghanistan, a region that we would visit the next few days.
From Karakorum Hwy, we entered a rough gravel road, where we were stopped by two local guides driving a made in India Jeep. "You have to hire this to go up, because the road is private, very dangerous and not safe for your car", we were told.
We insisted politely that we wanted to test our car and make pictures on that road. We told them we were journalists and that we would be extremely careful taking all resposibility of the challenge.
After a hard debate and a small, 10USD baksish, we hit the uphill road, in company with a local guide.
The road was 10 miles long but we needed 3 hours to arrive to the end. At moments, we really got scared that we would lose our car from the steep cliff. Even the local guy, was red faced at times, when one of the wheels was on the edge of the road...
Now we can say that this was the roughest, the most extreme road we ever drove in our 170.000 km trip across 67 countries!
In the end of the road there is a hut. The location is called "Eagle's nest". From there, a trekking path leads to the "Feary Meadows" plateau. You can walk or ride a horse to the final destination in roughly two hours.
Either way, the reward is unique: a fantastic view to the 9th tallest mountain in the world, the westernmost summit of the Himalaya range. In comparison to other Himalaya base camps, this is the easiest to approach. Imagine that you need 6 days to take a glimpse of the K2 mountain in Pakistan and 14 days trekking to arrive to the Everest base camp.
That night, we slept in a wooden hut at 3300 mts. We paid only 600 rupees (6 euros) per person, including the breakfast that was served outdoors, with the best view in the world.
Local people were extremely friendly, helpful and peaceful, like in most areas of Pakistan. They were embarassed by the notoriety of their country, because of usual terrorist attacks.
We could not imagine then that one day we would read such horrific news from this peaceful place. Would you like to know if we would do the same trip again? Definitely yes!_Akis Temperidis
Read here the short stories from our web diary: