We Pakistanees are fortunate that the country offers variety in topography and built of the land. There are snow-clad mountains in to north, hilly tracks and valleys along the chain of north- west mountainous region. The passages are intercepted by rivers, rivulets and springs. There are deep gapping charms and khuds as you travel by jeeps and buses. The journey through such regions is daring but risky.
Pakistan offers a good variety for the tourists and the people in excursions trips. There is an abundance of natural beauty when you travel over the northern parts of the country. Swat the land of springs, Chilas the region of black mountains, Ballakot the gate way to Kaghan and Niglam Valley, Gilgit, the region of markhor, mountain- sheltered valley of Hunza and Astore, estuary of trouts (fish), all these regions are full of mountain tracks and roads.
For the locals, it is a daily routine to travel by such routes. But for the visitors living in the other parts of the country the journey is full of great interests and charms. During last Summer vacation, I went to the Northern Areas for excursion along with my friends. Part of the journey upto Pindi. was by train. After one day stay at the capital Islamabad, we boarded a bus for Gilgit at 8 p.m. It was a thrilling journey over the Karakorum Road (Shahrah-e-Raishum) the eighth wonder of the world. It was a long journey partly by night and partly by day. The journey was full f great fascinations and unique experiences.
We can never forget the expert and ever-vigilant driver Karim Shah, an ex-serviceman. He guided and rested the passengers at suitable stops during the moonlight night. It was a tedious and tiring feat to drive the bus over the Zig-Zag route. He was very helpful, obliging and pleasing to the passengers including ladies and some army officers.
Our first stop was Hasan Abdal where we took supper in a hotel. The second stop was at Mansera-a halt to take tea. As the night advanced, the passengers started dozing. I set on the second seat dozing, digging and dropping on my neighbors. But loteration as the spirit of the journey. Once I opened my eyes and saw some fair faces laughing at me. I felt elated for providing them with fun. The route was dame snakey and full of U-turns, sudden twists and turns. Karim Baba surprised us by his masterly drive. He was adept in his line.
The most interesting and unique experiences began after the day break. The natural surroundings gave a good feast to our eyes. We took a typical local breakfast at Chilas. The rest of the journey was performed under the bright eye of the day. The captivating notes of strange birds, the cackling of pheasants walking in trail across the route and the narrow (two wheels) road were rare experiences. The gliding and winding upper Indus, the dazzling spinnings and, murmuring brooks, the deep canyons with ‘Beware of death’ signboards, the snow-covered Naga Parwat and K-2 peeping from behind the mountain ranges, the breath-taking surpentine old jeep route, and fruits ladden trees, all along brought a great fund of joy for some.
I could not help roaming about to enjoy the bounties of nature when ever the bus stopped. To sum up my unique experience, I sang with great Words worth:
I gazed and gazed, but little thought what wealth the show to me had brought’.