Day 2: Askole to Jhola - the hiking begins!
by Khalid Omar
Today was the first day of actual hiking! We set off at 6:55am, a lot later than the other groups who mostly set off by 6am. We got delayed by our porters and by us, as they reweighed the saman to fairly distribute it, than we took our sweet time putting on our backpacks for the very first time and trying to get them adjusted. For future reference, it's not a good idea to only try on your backpack on the day you're setting out on a 16 day hike!
Setting out from Askole, the initial stage is deceptively gentle, going past intense green fields, trees, and a few rocks... the trail winds through the valley on one side, while on the other there are mostly fields, with a village peeping amongst the trees across on the other side. Nice!
Suddenly, the trek changes, and starts going up and down, as you get near the river Braldu, at times going almost into the river, than back up the mountainside. Up, down, we marched onwards, and I found out that carrying 12kg's is no joke - trekking is hard on the feet! We stopped for tea at Korophon at 10:20am for green tea and parathas, and gronala bars. Our porters had reached there well before us, and by the time we got there they were ready to leave.
It drizzled for half an hour along the way, and remained cloudy throughout - which was great, as otherwise with the sun out in full force this section can be killer-hot. With the clouds out, the temp dropped down to 12C, so it got pretty cold! Waterproof clothes are a must, as it can and did rain very suddenly. We were down in the valley, and the wind above was very fast - could see the clouds speeding across the sky, almost like a surreal painting.
It took us 8 hours to walk from Askole to the Jhola campsite. Once again, we reached late, and end up with a campsite far away from the rest. It was the first day walking, so everyone was tired - set up our tent, Khizer Rashid panicked a little as it was raining and it took a while to get the tent pitched to his liking, but it was finally done, and we crawled inside, waiting for food before dropping dead asleep. Ate Daal, chawal and achar, which was to be our staple food for the next 16 days - except the achar, which finished on the fourth day! Note to self: take lots more achar next time.
Posted in K2 Base Camp Hike, May 3, 2008, by Khalid Omar