Caught up in Karakorum

Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soulPosts: 10,476Registered Users Major grins
edited July 20, 2016 in Journeys
Planned a trip to beautiful Hunza Valley and up to China Border (Hunza which i have covered in Autumn season) the valley is known for its beautiful cherry blossom too. The weather prediction was not favorable and there was alert of landslide, which are common and mostly ignored. So we continued the road trip. On our way we encountered small road blocks which our 4x4 vehicle easily crossed, upon reaching 50 km from Chilas in 16-17 hours from Islamabad. We had to stop and landslides became horrible while falling rocks leveled some shops in front of our eyes and trip became a nightmare. We rushed back blindly, due to total darkness (no electricity, no moonlight, and raining continuously) we found refuge close to road side hotel where most of the travellers were already clustered. We were sheltered in our vehicle for first night while horrific sounds of landslides kept us up. We were bit relaxed in morning after realizing we were at least 300 meters from mountains, and not directly under the shadow of loose rocks, like most of the part of Karakorum highway is.

Next day police check post opened doors for us where we spent the night, next morning we proceeded further and learned KKH was blocked from 90 different places up to Hunza valley, and roadblocks are as long as 1 km throughout. All we could do was to wait and pray for no more rain! We returned to check-post and spent next 5 days without electricity, network, or facilities we could not return to Islamabad nor we could move ahead, reported our safety to family with the help of locals.

We were not alone, the vulnerable route of KKH is main source of trade between China and Pakistan, the region supplies timber throughout Pakistan. Hotel was filled with truck drivers and strangers where we had our breakfast, lunch and dinner. Prices started to increase with each passing day and water supply was extinct and we had to rush down to Indus River. Road blocks up to Gilgit were cleared on 5th day and we made to Gilgit on 7th day (the actual planned length of our trip). As we reconnected with network we learned about severity of situation and learned about government was offering evacuation for stranded tourists, we reached airport and were fortunate to board the plane to Islamabad. (gallery www.awais.smugmug.com/Photography/Stuck-in-Karakoram-Highway)

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Some photos with cell phone it was pleasant to see the sunlight after 2 days, as situation got worst with each falling drop of rain.

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People walk to cross road blocks
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We survived this, that night.
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Trucks waiting for route to clear
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Truck in Pakistan is always a subject to shoot
IMG_1207-X2.jpgCricket TimeIMG_1151-X2.jpg
Most of the geography of KKH is barren and deserted
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Chicken truck was also caught up with us, as demand grew price increased. Condition of chicken was also deteriorating.
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Pictures from the only hotel in vicinity
waiter IMG_1059-X2.jpg
Ayub, the waiter generously offered us his cell phone to connect with loved ones back home. What a big heart boy.
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Mr. Ghani, owner of the hotel made yummy food, his business was shining.
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Other refugees
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Mr. Hazart the bread maker was most experienced worker in hotel and loved to pose for camera
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Guard in timber storage
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Young laborer
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Spent some time shooting local boys
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Posing with cricket bat
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Shepard
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Finally help arrived, do you notice few trees in background which saved fate of people by diverting flood of rocks from sweeping some residents
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Encountered these machines at several places
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Notice the que, a lot of people were trying to move downwards, they thought as shortage of fuel and food increases it will be easier for them. And we were among who were travelling upwards, hopeful to get on airplane for ride back home or atleast connect with network.
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Audience
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In que after battling to get on to flight, everyone wanted to board the 1st flight back home, fortunately we were among firsts that day. And reached home on Friday as promised.
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made some videos will share them later
Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

Gallery

Comments

  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MAPosts: 10,727Super Moderators moderator
    edited April 14, 2016
    Awais -
    As always, your people photos are wonderful.

    Your story was truly frightening. I'm glad to hear that you made it through OK!

    --- Denise
  • sarasphotossarasphotos Major grins Augsburg, GermanyPosts: 1,575Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 14, 2016
    Awais, thank you so much for sharing this fascinating (and indeed frightening!) story and your fabulous photographs. Very glad that you made it back safely.

    Cheers, Sara
  • AceCo55AceCo55 Aussie Grinner Posts: 940Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 15, 2016
    I don't normally look in the "Journey" thread - but I will certainly be looking out for your threads from now on.
    I loved the background story and the context info.
    Photos are beautiful and provide perfect company to your words.
    Loved the post.
    So glad you made it home safely.

    I really like the photo of the hotel owner - your positioning of him in the light was perfect.
    My opinion does not necessarily make it true. What you do with my opinion is entirely up to you.
    www.acecootephotography.com
  • CavalierCavalier Life is a Bokeh Foresthill, CaliforniaPosts: 1,549Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 15, 2016
    clap.gifclap All wonderful, but your portraits are superb!
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,476Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 18, 2016
    Thanks guys, it was place to shoot some intense characters
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
  • ChrisJChrisJ Major grins Posts: 2,140Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 18, 2016
    Great stuff, Awais. Glad you made through safely. It must have been a harrowing experience!
    Chris
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,476Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 27, 2016
    ChrisJ wrote: »
    Great stuff, Awais. Glad you made through safely. It must have been a harrowing experience!

    Thanks Chris!
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 3, 2016
    Wow!

    If I ever visited that part of the world I want you to be with me.

    Sam
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,476Registered Users Major grins
    edited May 14, 2016
    Sam wrote: »
    Wow!

    If I ever visited that part of the world I want you to be with me.

    Sam

    Sure Sam! that will be awesome thumb.gif
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
  • Ed911Ed911 Major grins Posts: 1,306Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 7, 2016
    Thank your for taking us places that we will most likely never be able to go. Great shots as usual...so interesting...the faces of the average man.
    Remember, no one may want you to take pictures, but they all want to see them.
    Educate yourself like you'll live forever and live like you'll die tomorrow.

    Ed
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,476Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 11, 2016
    Ed911 wrote: »
    Thank your for taking us places that we will most likely never be able to go. Great shots as usual...so interesting...the faces of the average man.

    Thanks Ed! thumb.gif
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
  • roaddog52roaddog52 Major grins In the sticks, NE of SeattlePosts: 877Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 15, 2016
    A great set of images thumb.gifthumb, to illustrate an unexpected turn of events.

    Phil
    I don't know where I'm going, but I'm going anyway.

    Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity!
  • Awais YaqubAwais Yaqub One Inspired soul Posts: 10,476Registered Users Major grins
    edited July 20, 2016
    roaddog52 wrote: »
    A great set of images thumb.gifthumb, to illustrate an unexpected turn of events.

    Phil

    Thanks Philthumb.gif
    Thine is the beauty of light; mine is the song of fire. Thy beauty exalts the heart; my song inspires the soul. Allama Iqbal

    Gallery
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