The Karakoram Highway

KKH viewThis is a typical section of the KKH. It is two lanes, well paved, and cut out of steep rock faces. It truly took some vision on the part of the Pakistanis and Chinese to build this road. Much of the road is lined with white concrete chunks that remind you were the road edge is, and serve as guard rails if you have a lapse of attention. The Indus river has the classic blue-green color of glacially fed streams.
Town along the KKHThis is a small town along the highway, set into a steep sided valley, with concrete buildings and terraced fields in every possible place. A good water supply makes this a lush little valley.
Pedestrian bridgeCrossing the Indus is often a problem, and any bridge is a very valuable commodity, even if it is in a little disrepair. I would have gone across here, but we just did not have enough time...
Bridge OutThis bridge was taken out in the spring of 2000. A large slab of cliff dropped onto it during the rains. There is now a temporary concrete bridge here. The Pakistanis work very hard to keep the road open and in good repair. It is an economic windfall for the Northern part of Pakistan as well as a real source of national pride.
IndusThis is a view from the KKH. Lower down, the fields are green all year round. The hand constructed terraces can be found everywhere. These allow agriculture to flourish on the most unlikely slopes.
Mark PeakAlong the highway you can see many large rugged peaks hiding behind the lower canyon walls. I asked Fazal what the name of this one was. He graciously said "I proclaim this to be Mark Peak." Many of the mountains in the Karakoram and Himalaya do not have names, and have never been summited.
Old Silk RoadAll along the KKH you can see remnants of the original Silk Road. Many times this was nothing more than a man high notch cut into a cliff. Here, bricks were laid, and a road of sorts was pasted onto this cliff. We are all very happy that the KKH is not so narrow and exposed.
FirewoodIn the territory of "Kohistan" ( the ungovernable region) is found the best firewood. Heavy and dense, it is good for heat in the cold winter. We stopped and purchased the pile on top of the rock, for 50 rupees, about $.80. The sale involved lots of gupchupping and took about eight of the locals to complete. They all want to help carry and load, it was quite the event.
Gas stationGetting diesel gasoline is also a group effort. During the winter, there is not much work to do in the fields, so people will do just about anything be entertained. You can tell it is cold, because everyone has a coat or sweater on. Most times, the natives did not wear any extra clothing. I would have my long johns, wind pants and hat on!

Homeme Concordia Expeditions Lahore