PLAN “A” NEVER WORKED – A TRIP TO “WHERE?” PART 2
The travel towards the Twin Towers of ABBOTABAD and MANSEHRA began as we took 4 seats in that Wagon. Well it didn’t get long for ZEESHAN to close his eyes and gone to his dream world again. BILAL was also trying to get a nap by putting his head on one of the sleeping bag that we were carrying. The driver decided to take a short cut via TAXILA instead of HASSANABDAL. While I enjoy site seeing both my friends enjoy their nap. So at last we left behind Punjab boundary and entered into N.W.F.P. Both of them were up when we crossed scenic ABBOTABAD City. In about half an hour time we reached MANSEHRA.
From MANSEHRA we form the same combination as the people with whom we’re traveling from Islamabad had the same destination so we decided not to waste time and go straight to NARAN from MANSEHRA. So the traveling started once again towards our Final destination NARAN and this time none of us resists against the tiredness and soon we all were snoring. We all were awake when the Wagon reached BALAKOT (Gateway to the beautiful North). It was raining outside and the weather get very chilly. After we cross BALAKOT the driver make a stop to offer prayers and we decided that it’s about time to straighten our legs. The chilly weather makes us think that we should open our luggage and put some warm clothes over our t-shirts. We were on the road again and started admiring the natural beauty surrounding us when suddenly we had to stop again due to land sliding that causes a road block. Well it took around 15 minutes for us to get on the other side of the sliding and then the voyage of the Sinbad continued. At last after crossing KEWAI and KAGHAN we finally reached NARAN.
We decided to leave ZEESHAN with the luggage. BILAL & I went to find an accommodation as it was raining heavily and we don’t like the idea to spend the night in the Camp. The city was crowded with people as it was holidays but it wasn’t supposed to be a tourist season in NARAN. We were wondering whether we’ll be able to find a room after seeing such large number of people presence in the area. We were thinking what worst could be happen if we didn’t find a shelter as soon as possible. The wind was blowing at the speed of knots that was causing shivering in our bodies. No room was available in almost all the hotels and where there is an empty room the owner wants to give it to Families only with no stags allowed. We cross the city and moved upward towards the Lake where some good hotels are located, nothing but to find 4 out of 5 were closed for maintenance and the 1 opened was already rented out even with no Wash Rooms. Then BILAL as usual tried his agency contacts with the manager of that Hotel and he allowed us to put our camps in the camping area just around the hotel. So we go back where we left ZEESHAN and then started walking back towards the camping area. Yeah off course we were frozen already at that time, the wind and the rain make a deadly combination, to bowl us out same as we saw the 2 W’s bowling their opposition out in tandem. God shows his mercy on us and we find 2 guys who came with us from Islamabad they offered us to share the room with them in Kashmir Hotel, an offer we affirmed in no time. As we reached in the hotel room BILAL hurriedly get into the sleeping bag and his intentions were clear that he has decided that he won’t be coming out of it even if a tornado hit us. ZEESHAN & I moved out after arranging our luggage to make telephone calls to our home & exploring any food opportunity around us. Finally CHICKEN KARAHI and CHAPAL KABABS were selected and after Hot Tea we decided to go for a walk around the city that seems to sleep at around 9:00 p.m. As we moved further we left the lights way back and after sometime we decided to go back before any animal find us as tempting eatery. We returned to the hotel and find BILAL still in deep sleep probably thinking nothing but his wedding in November that year. We too fell in our sleeping bags and don’t remember anything as the tiredness occupies the minds and the brain restarted only when we woke up in the morning.
May 02nd 2004(Sunday)
The plan for the day was to visit the eye catching Lake SAIF-UL-MALOOK. A good thing we did was to book a jeep driver in the night earlier at the restaurant where we were dining. The driver arrived at the hotel amazingly on time. Another group asked to join us so that the rent will be shared and we agreed after all we all have good grades in Economics. And the Chronicles of NARAN begins.
As the Jeep moved towards the destination we started enjoying the nature in its full color. The path towards the Lake was a bit bumpy but the weather was fine. The driver told us that a carpeted road is under construction towards the lake that will be convenient for all vehicles to move right to the face of the Lake. But I wonder that how many people will opt for that road because the path on which we were traveling is too adventurous in its own category. I was thinking that the Jeep will take us to the Lake but the driver told us that there was a glacier slide and jeep can’t go forward, that means we have to move on foot and the bad news was that SUN was shining with full glow, the ice will melt and walking on it will be difficult.
We decided to move ahead and reach the Lake as soon as possible to avoid melting ice as it’s about 8 am in the morning. We left the Jeep after reaching the glacier and went to a make shift shop and rented 2 wooden sticks to help us in climbing I was holding an iron stick that BILAL brought with him from Lahore. The journey Begins with ZEESHAN taking the lead and almost running towards the Lake, his emotions were obvious. I was moving at a snail pace and BILAL was busy in giving me the camera so that I can take pictures of him and the scenery. After walking for almost an hour we hit the path that goes straight to the Lake. We were tired in climbing the vertical height. We decided to just have some rest and fruit cocktail to energize our energy levels. As we move further an English couple passed us with their dog. BILAL was about to jump into the river as I held him tight to avoid such act as he was afraid of dogs. When we reached our destination we were amazed or rather shocked to find the Lake disappeared, the lake was not exactly disappeared but was covered with snow and looking like a snow floor usually used for snow skating and Ice Hockey. I was a bit disappointed by not seeing the Lake in its full glory but was pleased that we reached our destination. The scene was good as we spotted immediately some Lahore people (LAHORIA’Z) there as they are playing cricket on thin Ice. Who else dare to do such an act?
As we walk on sides of the Lake we decided to make a large Snowman and started planning on how to make one. We choose a spot for our work and started it with help of our sticks and our hands become a support to make it into a big one and after a lot of hard work the ice started to take a shape at last. It was big and then we put our sticks as hands of snowman and put my jacket on it with Cap on his head. We used some wet soil to make his eyes and nose but the eyes don’t look good so we put sunglasses on it to make it look cool. Well there was that awesome GABBAR SINGH a creation of our own. We started taking our pictures with him and suddenly almost everyone around us come forward and request us to allow them to take pictures of their families too with Mr. GABBAR. After spending almost two and half hour there we decided to move back to the glacier.
The journey was a bit dodgy this time as the ice was melting and was difficult to hold ground or stable foot on the ice. Somehow we reached back to the glacier with little slipping, wet shoes & clothes, and bruised ankles. The people riding with us were not yet returned to the Glacier from the lake, so we waited for them to get back. We decided to avail the time and do some planning about our return and we decided that we are moving back to MANSEHRA to get back to Lahore.
As we reached the Hotel we rapidly packed our luggage and move towards the Van Stand. We were feeling hungry and decided to have some meal before leaving but as we move towards a restaurant, a Van come across and asked us whether we wanted to go to MANSEHRA as they were already leaving, it was getting dark in the evening and it seems that it was the last Van going out that night, so we quit the program of getting meal and picked up some packs of Biscuits and Potato Chips to at least have something in our Stomach accompanied by Coke off course. As we were about to leave NARAN it started raining again and the weather became chilly again. After taking some snacks BILAL and ZEESHAN started their favorite sport, they fell asleep again. Then they woke up when the driver stopped the Van to offer prayers and we just take a short walk to get back into senses and have some tea as our bodies were aching with cramps.
We decided then that we’ll go to Daewoo Bus Terminal and from there we’ll move to ABBOTABAD and ZEESHAN will meet and stay there at her Aunt’s house in ABBOTABAD and me and BILAL will proceed to Rawalpindi where BILAL will stay at his cousin’s place and I’ll leave for Lahore from Daewoo. The Van started again and after sometime my eyes started to shut down. We reached MANSEHRA around 9:30 pm.
Upcoming Part 3 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Part I Again