01. March 2016 · 1 comment · Categories: Memories

We woke up at four in the morning, hoping to make it up the hill before the sun had been up too long and cast a haze through the mountains. We gathered, my sisters, father, wife and I, and headed down the hill from the guest house to meet our driver. Saboor, wearing a starched-white shalwar kameez, plastic chupples and sporting a handsome dark beard, was excited that these white people he had been driving around wanted to climb Miranjani, a slightly more difficult and longer trek than the more popular walk up Mukeshpuri.

The six of us started the climb up Miranjani. Within a couple of minutes those of us unaccustomed to the altitude were starting to feel its effects. Saboor continued on unhindered. I was much thinner than I had been on our last trip to Pakistan six months earlier, as an encounter with E. coli (from a chili pepper in India) helped me shed fifty pounds. A slimmer frame didn’t mean that I was anymore fit than I had been previously, however.

Hiking slowly

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Laden with cameras and backpacks, and the ladies additionally by their shalwar kameez and dupattas, we trudged up the ridge, occasionally sighting the top of Miranjani in the distance. Every once in a while we would spot a figure clad in white, hands tucked behind his back, plastic sandals none the worse for wear, carrying on a considerable distance ahead of us.

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