During the spring holidays, we, a party of four, decided to have a trip to the hills, and as we had not much money to spend, we went by rail to Swat, and from there we started on foot. Our luggage consisted only of our beddings, for which we engaged two coolies. It was quite pleasant to walk through the mountainous country. In the beginning, up to a short distance, it was a bit dreary, but we soon found ourselves surrounded by verdure. We passed through high hills. Our route lay meandering round lofty rocks, and when we emerged into open space, the scenery was very picturesque. The green grass and evergreen bushes, and here and there a few flowers which covered the hillsides were very charming, indeed. The air was fresh and life-giving. At places, we had to cross mountain streams, full of limpid water. The yawning khuds added solemnity to the landscape. At stages, where we halted at the end of the day, we got milk, with salt pakoras and a loaf of brown bread, made a hearty meal for us.
Once or twice, we cooked our own food, and though we were novices in the art. yet we managed to prepare a tolerably good meal, to which we did full justice: After two or three days journey, our appetite increased, and we felt hungry at all times. At the close of the day, we used to wonder how we digested all the good and bad things that we had taken on the way. Really the climate of the hills is very healthy. In a few days, we were changed men altogether.
The resting places for middle class travellers like us as are not at all comfortable. They are very dirty. It seems as if they have never been swept. We spread our bedding and lay on it. not to sleep but to keep up a continuous fight with the hugs and other insects which swarmed to have a taste of us, strangers and intruders.
We reached Kalam, and took our lodgings in a hotel. Here, we had every comfort, and no difficulty about food. It is the summer headquarters of the district, and snow at a short distance. We hired a mule which was very restive. We took our turns, but it gave us great trouble. Mr. Kamran was thrown down and badly hurt. The mule never went straight. It wandered from one point to another, at one time going very near the brink of a precipice as if preparing to tumble down to end its own miserable existence and that of its rider, but it soon came back on the road. We returned the same day, with one of us hurt in the knee rather badly.
We stayed at for five days, and enjoyed our walks through mountainous country a great deal. The ascent and descent were especially enjoyable, and we walked long distances every day. As our holidays were about to expire, we took a motor car at 7.a.m., reaching Lahore in the evening. We took the mid-night train at Lahore, and reached home in the morning, invigorated by this sojourn in the hills.