K2 – from foot to machine

Monday 3rd August marks finally the end of the K2 basecamp trail as we finished the gruelling 95km trek out of the Baltero valley to our end point at Askole. From there it’s my mechanical means as we take to Toyota jeeps on the harsh dusty roads to Skardu. Half way along the twisting mountain dust roads one of our five jeeps leading, just narrowly missed out on been hit by a landslide of mud and rock from above, stopping our jeep in which we were travelling in behind. As normal on expedition, it was all hands on deck as we dug and picked our way a clear passage of road. Making our way down the valley passing small little independently run villages where wild life wandered the dusty streets ,elders sat in conversation and kids played with the simple things in life. Such a simple life but by the smiles on the locals faces as they greeted us , wonderful and happy removed from the effects of the commercial world. Stopping off from time to time along the route the trees were filled with fresh fruits in full bloom ,for me it was the apricots , a real treat, picking and eating as we went on our journey. It was simply wonderful, but all the time in the back of my mind I was so looking forward to that first meal of real food, free from the dry tasteless high altitude daily diet… Sucked along like the Bisto kids with the tempting smells of spices from small village to village making the juices flow. Arriving in the small Concordia hotel in Skardu it was time for that first shower , yes you heard right 7weeks later peeling those baselayers “big and smalls” , the hum you can’t imagine …..direct to the bin. For my poor trekking shoes ,the smiles on the toes where the socks were nearly peeking out have did their job perfectly, but sadly must retire. My poor feet. So Pakistan Pakistan what a real treat, totally different and so captivating the food, the culture, the music, the people so warm & inviting, stepping into this world has been so rewarding in so many ways, a community of people so miss-understood by the outside world and falsely betrayed by the media and the handful of rebels that’s hell bent on painting a picture that the western world or western influences aren’t welcome, well so further from the truth this is … I would so highly recommend a journey in Pakistan, yes there’s restrictions and politics but that’s a world wide issue…go off that typical commercial holiday experience and reap the rewards of a full blooded Pakistani culture .. You won’t be disappointed. For now it’s 34 hours on a bus to Islamabad back on the KKH highway, yes round two with the Taliban… Time for home time for some real food…. Tin tai can’t wait. Best curry in town. Can’t wait to see that Letterkenny Port Bridge… Jason