The young captain had made arrangements for us at the Amirchah post; he had been in touch with the post commander should we require any help on our way to the Neza-e- Sultan. The team of cooks was preparing for breakfast when the twenty seven of us descended upon them. They were not geared up to cater for such a large party at a time as Nok Kundi is a non-family station and the mess is for the few officers that stay there, yet they did a remarkable job of frying eggs and making omelets, ‘parathas’ and bread. We finished breakfast by eleven in the morning and gradually made our way in the direction of the hills where the pillar mountain was supposed to be located. The two guides with us were well aware of the terrain and were seated with Salman in his jeep who was leading the team today. We made our way through the town center and crossed the railway track that had been following us yesterday. A small railway station with a few bogies suggests that the track is seldom used these days. The track leading out of town is of loose gravel and bumpy, the washboard-like ruts on the surface make driving very tricky as the vehicle shudders violently at slow speeds and tends to wander at high speeds. There is a specific speed of about fifty or so kilometers per hour at which the vehicle will neither judder nor skip the road. Maintaining this constant speed requires skill while negotiating the bends. The lone track leads out towards the rocky desert, a land peppered with small dark colored rocks on a flat terrain, probably remains of volcanic eruptions of the past. There is no indication of direction here and soon one is lost in the vast desert expanse. However, the guides know their bearings well and after about driving twenty kilometers we were asked to turn right on a small dirt track which from the look of the surface appears to be seldom used.
The Hamoon-e-Mashkhel is a large expanse of desert located on the lower western border of Pakistan extending into Iran. We had been warned about the tough conditions and the need to be together all throughout the drive as one’s sense of direction in such situations can falter with disastrous results. Four people had lost their lives here recently and their remains were found within four to five kilometers of their vehicle. They had lost their way amongst the many tracks that lead nowhere in the desert. Eventually they ran out of fuel and in a desperate attempt to save their lives, they had tried to walk to the nearest habitation. There are also patches of quick sand in the desert and one has to be wary of these black holes. Staying on the tracks and not wandering off the main track was the advice given to us by the young Captain at the base.
Engine: Toyota B3 Overbored. Stainless steel headers, Straight through exhaust.
Gearbox: Toyota Coaster 5-speed with extra low 1st gear.
Axles: Orignal AMC Model 20 axles in the rear, Dana 30 up front.
Tires: 32×11.5 inch Dunlop Grandtrek on 10 inch rims.
Lightening: H4 headlamps, 8 inch Nano offroad lights
Other Specs: Double shocks at all four corners, stablizer bar, traction bars, winch, extra lights. Fire extinguisher and gun rack mounted on the roll bar. On board air compressor. Travel limting straps on all 4 leaf springs. 12,000 pound Warn winch.
Custom built tailgate storage, with 2 jerry cans and 2 spare tires.
Jeep Profile: Built for extreme offroading.
Owners Profile: Dr. Mansur Ahmad