Dispatch Two: Skardu, June 14, 2002

I think the most dangerous part of the expedition is over, the two day drive from Islamabad to Skardu, well......full of all sorts of emotion.   Our driver Haled should probably be driving for F-1 instead of a micro-bus.   The drive from Islamabad through the Karakoram Highway is an incredible journey,  the scenery goes from a complete desert environment with temperatures of 41 degrees centigrade to a much more relaxed and greener scenery at Skardu.   The first day we leave at 5:30 am and traveled towards the Indus valley to catch the karakoram highway, and incredible work of engineering, although more of the likes of a any road, it twists back and forth following the incredibly large river.  At the point where we met the river it must be at least 250 feet wide all of a murky gray color.  The Karakoram Range begins to grow higher and higher,  and the views get more and more stunning.  We stop for lunch at Besham, and then continue towards Chilas.  Before arriving in Chilas at 8:30pm we encounter one of the 5, 8000mt of Pakistan, the Nanga Parbat.  We had a wonderful view, very few clouds and a little orange color from the sunset.  A Magnificent sight!
The following day was another very strenuous day in our micro-bus.  Although this time the drive was only 8 and half hours, the road was very windy and not paved in all parts.  Our kidneys and lower backs have taken a good beating.  But the views this time are even more wonderful,   we are very sorry that we could not take many pictures our driver was way to interested in getting to our destination than anything else.
Today in Skardu we went on an acclimatization trek on the Satpara Lake,  it was a wonderful sight it was surrounded by very large ranges of brown color and the lake was a turquoise green at the end a very lush green oasis.   We got some good exercise finally after all the traveling we have had. 
Tomorrow we leave for Askole, a 6 hour drive on a very windy road that gets flooded continuously, so we have to leave very early before the snow begins to melt.   The following day the Amical Alpin group organizes the balti porters and we are on a 7 day hike though the baltoro glacier.  So we will be out of reach for some time until we get organized at base camp.
Tunc and Fercho are doing well, their health is good and ready to go.


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