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The Endless Sky Trip -- Cycling the Himalaya cycling in western Tibet

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Pakistan
5/3/98

After circling half of the globe John and Liyang arrived in Islamabad, Pakistan with three bicycles in tow. A 14-hour bus ride deposited us in the small town of Gilget, situated in the Karakoram mountains of Northern Pakistan.

For four days now we have slowly worked our way northward, following the course of the Hunza River. The road through villages of irrigated fertile fields and groves of blossoming fruit trees. Outside of the villages lie vast moonscapes, reminiscent of Tibet. The dry brown craggy peaks reach skyward. The remains of winter snows cover the upper portions, while occasional glaciers push their way down to the edges of the road. These peaks of the Hindu Kush mountains and the Karakoram are newly born. The ridges are covered in loose scree dotted with boulders set in a delicate balance. The road bears the constant reminders of the ever present landslides. Just two days before we turned the corner to see a couple dozen boulders the size of VW bugs blocking our passage. With two of us carrying a single bike we threaded our way through the newly fallen slide, which had turned the road into a loose bed of shredded asphalt. Only a day later we learned the Pakistani road workers had cleared the road with the help of large quantities of dynamite. It seems that explosives are much easier to come by in these parts, than large scale construction equipment.

Tomorrow morning we will find our way to the Pakistan Immigration Post on the far end of town. After a couple of days in the "no mans land" and climbing the 15,000 foot Kunjarab Pass, we will cross into Western China.

Ray

>From John:
It will be hard to leave Pakistan. The Hunza valley deserves its reputation for great natural beauty: amazing sharp peaks loom above small villages with terraced emerald fields. As we have moved north, Islamic strictness seems to have diminished, and not only do we see women in the villages, they actually greet us. All the way we have been received with the greatest hospitality. I'm sure we will have cause to remember these friendly people in their beautiful mountain home as we press on across the desert to Tibet

John


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