We woke up to the dulcet tones of the police van arriving. They busied themselves observing us preparing breakfast and taking down camp and then we were off again. Cheekily we had been driven to the top of a pass yesterday to get to the police checkpoint so it was all downhill to start off the morning.
The ride followed the Nahdihar River Valley, a lush and verdant valley and tributary of the Indus. Terraced fields continued to defy the gradient of the steep valley walls, only giving up once the valley narrowed to a gorge.
The Nahdihar River joined the Indus, a merging of a rapid clear river with the sluggish brown lethargy of the Indus. We were following the Indus back upstream now so the relaxing descent of the morning was replaced by a less relaxing but equally beautiful slow climb. The rose steadily from the stoney banks of the river affording a great look down into the valley.
After an hour or so of climbing and falling along the remote road we pulled over to the side to cook up some noodles for lunch. As always as soon as we stopped the escort rolled down its window shouting ‘go, go!’ Once this didn’t work they decided to get out of the truck and observe us cooking. Of course our presence was a cause of excitement amongst all the local children who came over to watch as well.
From lunch it wasn’t far to Besham where we were going to take a half day and stay in a cheap hotel to get rested for the next climb- heavy section of the KKH. We rode back down to the banks of the Indus as we approached Besham. The hotel recommended in our book was closed but we ended up at a nice government subsidised places where the friendly manager gave us a great price on a room since we were the first tourists of the season to pass through.