Fairy Meadows, Trek to Beyal camp.
4th July 2000
The morning at Fairy Meadow was misty and it drizzled for a while, the temperature fell to almost freezing. Nobody wanted to get up, as they were all exhausted from yesterdays walk up to the camp. Breakfast was late; they served us hot Quaker oats and corn flakes in addition to parathas and omelets. Everyone lazed around the camp while the boys went over to the town for a game of cricket.
The evening was cool and overcast, Raheel was adamant that we walk to Biyal camp. Qari was also of the opinion that it would be a good idea as we would see the Pine forest and the conservation effort that the locals have carried out to protect the forest. The walk starts through the forest on the right bank of the Riakot glacier, it then leads up to a small stream which carries on through the forest. There are Juniper and Birch trees that are old as well as sprouting new ones, which is a comforting sight. The pine trees are abundant. After an hour’s walk the forest opens up to a green pasture. There are traces of settlements to the left and remnants of old log huts that were used by shepherds over the centuries, these hut are made of logs of old fallen trees and have been bleached by the sun to a grey slate color. There are two settlements along the way, which are set on the edge of the forest and provide a view into the past of how these people endured the treacherous weather conditions and looked after their flocks of sheep and cattle. We reached Biyal camp at dusk and ordered tea and biscuits. The walk from Fairy meadows to Biyal camp is a straight walk which is a gentle ascent the altitude here reads 3420 meters on my watch. There are many newly constructed log cabins here at Biyal camp. Raheel, Abid, Khalid and myself then trekked back towards our own campsite.
The view of the scenery from Beyal camp is stored in my memory forever. A vast green expanse of rolling meadows stewed with flowers, huge white rocks that are scattered around, mountain peaks piercing the clouds as they rise up to the sky. The Nanga Parbat stands high above them all as if dictating terms to its surroundings, truly magestic. It is the ninth highest peak in the world standing high at above 8000 meters. The walk to the Nanga Parbat base camp from Beyal is another eight hours. I would love to have gone further but there is not enough time this trip. I am sure I will come back one day to treck along this exquisite place once again.
The walk back was through the forest, with Qari telling us scary stories of bears and their escapades in these mountains, I missed my gun. As you approach the clearing of Fairy Meadows through the forest the path comes close to the edge of the cliff with an almost vertical drop to the Riakot glacier on the right. It was almost dark by the time we reached the clearing at the edge of the forest and we could see the log cabins in the distance. The log fire was burning in the middle of our camp in the distance, the group of people sitting around it seemed to be enjoying the night oblivious to our staring eyes. The view of the flat meadow around the camp at dusk was a sight to behold.