A Hard Climb to a Beautiful Destiny
It was the 6th day of our trip and my 7th day away from home. I was homesick already since i had never left my home for more than 2 days so I kinda wanted to skip this place and go home already. Little did i know that this place would leave indelible impressions in my memory for the rest of my life. The place in discussion is Fairy Meadows and the Mighty Nanga Parbat located in Pakistan. Fairy Meadows was the last spot to be visited in our 1 week North Pakistan Trip. I had heard about the place once or twice but never felt the urge to discover it. Compared to me, my friends were excited the most for this place.
Another reason for skipping this place was that a day before this, we had went to Naltar Valley which was the most bumpiest ride of my life and with every bump came a tiring feeling and a strong desire to go home. "Wherever we go, we go together" was the decision everybody agreed on before going on this trip so I had to go with my friends whether I wanted or not. During the dinner last night, my friends were all so enthusiastic for it whereas I was sitting in the corner thinking "Why aren't they tired already?". It was decided that we will leave the hotel at sharp 6 am tomorrow morning and everyone suggested to sleep thoroughly since the journey ahead was long and exhausting.
After the dinner, I went with 3 of my friends to the nearest market and grabbed some snacks for tomorrow. When i came back to room, it took me less than 2 minutes to go to sleep. The next morning I woke up to an alarm, started getting ready and left for the journey. I was told by one of the friends that to reach the destination, we have to travel in jeeps for 1.5 hours on another bumpiest road and this one was scarier than the one before. After the jeep ride, we have to hike for 3-4 hours so we have to carry as less luggage as possible. A wave of tiredness ran down my spine so i decided to sleep on our way.
It was July 21st, the mid of Summers in Pakistan. Just another hot day! On reaching the Raikot Bridge, 2 of our group members started negotiating with the jeep drivers about the charges. After some time, we sat into jeeps (5 in each jeep) and left for the journey. It was bumpy but it was more scary. Why? The gravel road is as wide as only one vehicle (That too a jeep). This narrow road is on the edge of a cliff with a deep ditch on the other hand. The depth of this ditch is unknown and cannot be even seen. If you happen to encounter another jeep coming from the opposite direction then either you are in the ditch or the encountered jeep or MAYBE God spares both of the jeeps. One wrong move and you are in the ditch.
The journey in the jeep was the scariest journey i have witnessed in my whole life. On one moment, we encountered a jeep coming from the opposite direction. Now, either we had to go backwards to reach a point where both the jeeps can make a crossing or either the opposite jeep had to. This was the moment that i didn't want to encounter because going backwards on a bumpy, threadlike, dangerous road was more scarier than going forward. Thank God our driver was skillful and made a crossing somehow. The rest of the journey I kept saying prayers in my heart.
On reaching the Tattuu village (Jeeps cant go farther beyond this point because the passage becomes as narrow as only 2 people can walk on it at the same time), we waited for our friends who were in the other jeep. Meanwhile we enjoyed the view of barren mountains and the track we had just covered on a jeep. After our whole group was reunited we started the trek. ONE OF THE HARDEST HIKE OF MY LIFE. I wasn't carrying any luggage except a cross-body bag, a pack of snacks and a water bottle. Soon after 15 minutes of hike, I and all my friends were tired. We stopped for a while to catch our breaths. Only 1 out of my 9 friends had visited this place earlier and while we were all worried about the hike, he further tensed the situation by telling us that the hike becomes harder as we go and there was 4 hours of this torture. 4 hours in excruciating pain!!
After some time our group was dispersed. I was left with 3 other friends in the middle of nowhere. My water bottle had only a sip of water left and the snacks I carried was somewhere in the bag of another friend. I was hungry, I was thirsty but beyond all I was tired. In all this agony I told my friend (who had already visited once) "If this place isn't as beautiful as people say and its not worth this pain, I am gonna kill you all who suggested to visit this place". Just after a while, came the beautiful views and the cool breezes of Nanga Parbat. YES! AT LAST!!
I sat down on a rock for a while, took some pictures and stared into this beautiful view I had in front of me. INDEED IT WAS HEAVENLY! The snow covered Nanga Parbat standing tall in front of us in all its glory and sending cool chilly breezes down our way. We were yet to cover an hour of hike but with this view, we were all motivated and excited to reach the top. One of the many beautiful sights was this Chashma. The water coming down from a melting glacier was super cold.
Finally we reached the Fairy Meadows Hut Point. There were these beautiful huts made of wood spacious enough for 4-5 people. Some of our group members had already booked the huts so we threw in our luggage, freshened up a little and went to see the meadows and discover the place. Behind the huts was beautiful lush green meadows with cattle grazing in the pastures, children playing cricket, a narrow stream called the reflection lake flowing in the side with a front view of the mighty Nanga Parbat. This was the MOMENT that made me realize all this struggle was totally worth it. The climb was hard but the destiny it lead me to was the MOST BEAUTIFUL. This was the view that soothed my eyes, calmed my heart, relaxed my mind after a year of dreadful happenings in my life.
I sat there for half an hour and gazed into this beauty. I watched the beautiful sunset as the rays of light slightly leaving and dimming the view. Now that the sun left the view, I started feeling cold. At once I went into room, took 2 shawls and lied down for a while in a blanket. After a little while, bonfire was lit and arrangements for music were being done. We hurried to take a place close to the bonfire after dinner since it was so cold. I wasn't believing what I was feeling. It was mid July which is supposed to be the hottest season in Pakistan, yet there I was feeling cold wrapped around in 2 shawls sitting next to the bonfire. This night was the most fun night of our trip. We sang songs, danced around the fire and laughed on silly jokes.
Inside, we were all sad too because this was our last trip together. This was the ending of our student life and this was our last night together. If only we had visited Fairy Meadows earlier in this whole trip, I would have spent a couple more days in this heavenly beautiful place.
© 2019 Shandana Jan