Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chapter 18 - Rakaposhi revisited

It's been a few days and I haven't heard from you. The dreams and readings and happenings were odd enough for me to stay put until I get some notice and now I'm not sure what to do. I find myself avoiding Gaudy Night. Not ready to be tamed, or to have my picture of you tamed, more accurately.

But I found a book here, dusty, on a back bookshelf in the little hut I'm staying in, about Rakaposhi. There were cobwebs. I'm sure you couldn't have left it here. I shall distract myself, but I hope you will write soon.


Road to Rakaposhi, George Band

p. 20: ‘This one was Rakaposhi, 25,550 feet, guardian of the Hunza Valley, and only two or three days’ march from Gilgit where there was a landing strip.”

p. 79: “‘For the first thirty miles to Chalt there was a jeep road, so instead of engaging coolies we were able, through the kindness of the Pakistan Army, to load up six jeeps and their trailers and drive off.

What a journey! We tore through the bazaar, scattering chickens and children on either side of us, crossed the Gilgit river by a fine wooden suspension bridge and sped along the alluvial flats bordering the river raising a cloud of dust behind us. After a few miles we turned to follow up beside the Hunza River.

Here the valley was wide and barren, without a scrap of vegetation. Water-worn stones and boulders filled the plain and dry, dun-coloured hills rose on either side. After the village of Nomal the valley narrowed and we left our trailers behind because the track became too tortuous. Great cliffs rose several thousand feet above on either side. The road clung crazily to the crags, built out in places on wood and dry stone ledges with a breath-taking drop three hundred feet to the swirling waters below.

We plunged through streams and over river beds, detoured around each deeply carved watercourse and raced between enormous boulders with inches to spare. Two miles from Chalt an avalanche had overwhelmed the route, so we gladly said good-bye to our daring drivers. Coolies and mules carried our stores into the village to the rest house where we were glad to spend the night.

We had now entered Nagir territory. “

p. 74 The facing page has a map which shows the Indus heading NW and beginning its turn to the south at a point where Rakaposhi presents a northern barrier and, directly on the other side Nanga Parbat presents a southern barrier! Those two mountains, those amazing mountains from different continents, are the 'banks' of the Indus?!!

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