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brad’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 21 Jul 2007

Location: Gilgit to Minapin, Pakistan

MapIn the hot and parched trading post of Gilgit we take refuge in the aptly named mountain refuge guesthouse, hidden in a walled compound with shaded gardens itís a welcome oasis and the perfect place to repay sleep debt. Gilgit is positioned at a crossroad; West leads to Baltistan and K2, East to Chitral and the remote Hindukush mountains bordering Afghanistan, South Islamabad and north up the KKH with easy access to the Karakoram mountains and eventually China. The historical volatility of this area is revealed by military check-posts which encircle the town, double brick bunkers with machinegun windows and heavily armed sentries sitting by the main traffic bridge, and Toyota Hiluxís cruising the streets with four police seated in the tray brandishing AK47ís and a military machine gun mounted to the roll bar. I take this as a sign of the governmentís heavy handed commitment to maintain stability in the region and genuinely feel safer here than I have in many cities of the world. Travel literature presents Gilgit and its people an undeserved rap, yet we find it a valuable base. The people are pleasant, the bazaars intriguing and thereís a good variety of food sufficient for trekking.

Today Pete has made his grand entry into the realm of the 30ís, we figure what better way to celebrate than begin our first trek in Pakistan. Therefore we depart for a 3 day acclimatisation hike to Rakaposhi base camp just a few hours north on the KKH.