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.