We woke up safe and sound the next morning, wolf attack free. We packed up and set off to climb to the top of the mountain, turning the first corner we saw we were back in snow again as banks left over from the winter lined the side of the road. 30 minutes later the road came out of the pine trees and into the town of Changla Gali, the top of the mountain at 2500 meters. Here we ran into the policeman from last night who was all smiles and didn’t seem in the least worried or concerned.
We took photos and then started the descent down the other side. Immediately we came across a viewpoint and took more photos, and then had photos taken with us as all the Pakistanis there wanted a shot with us.
The road wasn’t a descent the whole time, as it followed the side of the valley to road would descend down to a small stream or tributary and then climb back up the other side. The scenery was beautiful, and vestiges of the tourist industry the flourished here before 2001 were still evident as we passed through villages filled with hotels and guesthouse, most of them closed.
After lunchtime the proper descent started out of the mountains and back down to Abottabad which sits at lowly 1200 meters. Riding downhill and taking the whole view in is hard to describe, you could see the road snaking away kilometres ahead and hundreds of meters below as the river wound below us further still and the peaks closed in as we got deeper into the valley. An exhilarating reward for all the climbing Hard to describe, here are some photos:
A police van had started following us as we started the to descend. Back on the flat land around Abottabad though the serenity of the mountains disappeared replaced by the usual chaotic melee of Pakistan. We managed to shake the escort in. The bumper to bumper traffic of Abottabad. Out the other side we stopped for supplies and as always in Pakistan got talking to someone, a teacher of geography in the local university. Turned out he had a brother in Dublin, though I didn’t catch his name.
As the sun set we looked for somewhere to camp. The land around was a sort of sandy soil that had turned to steep, rocky hills or flat land that was always taken up by farming. We found a small strip of land hidden from the road and flat enough to camp on. The ride from Islamabad to Abottoabd via Muree has apparently some of the steeper roads of the KKH so having that behind us gave us great cause to relax as the sun went down of the foothills of the Karakorum.