Kevin Swains
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This is Kev's Travel Blog

Deosi Plains 2

I start the climb from Sdapara lake at 8am to the Deosi Plains. Of course I still feel crap and can't seem to get better. Now I'm suffering from dehydration and whatever I drink is pissed out within 10mins.
The road is tarmaced for only a few hundred metres before it starts to climb steeply. I pass through a few qiet villages and around 11am the clouds roll in and I get hit by a hail storm. I stop and get waterproofed and pop on a pair of gloves only to have to put on a second pair within five minutes as the temperature plummets. The hail then turns to sleet and then to rain before turning sunny again etc etc. It feels good to have to deal with proper mountain weather at last!
At 12 I'm knackered and stop for some Chicken flavoured 2minute noodles. They do the job and give good energy to my Chicken legs and I push on up to the top.

A handsome chappy on the Deosi.

On the top there are 2 tent hotel/restaurants. I tuck into the usual crap and I was going to camp nearby....BUT....I walk out the restaurant but the locals and the hotel owner follow me. Everytime I open my bag everyone waits anxiously to see what amazing goodies I'm going to pull out. So I walk around the back of the restaurant to get away from them, but of course they follow staring at me and not even talking to each other....truly bazzar but truly common.
So I head off to find somewhere to camp. I find a half decent spot and set up camp just before a quick snow storm hits and passes quickly. I don't have any more Chicken noodles so I open a couple of packets of dish water flavour.

After a well and truly sub-freezing night I wake to an awesome crystal clear morning. I jump out of the tent as soon as the sun rises as again my bivvy is solid with ice, inside and out and melts as soon as the rays hit.
The plataeu is simply stunning with green rolling hills backdropped by high snowy mountains in the distance.
I eat more 2minute noodles for brekky and set off along the plateau, slowly taking in the peace of the place. I tootle along with a 360 degree view of the mountains and hundreds of Marmots everywhere.
People liken the Marmots to beavers but I think they are more like Badgers (simply because I can't remeber the last time I saw a Beaver;)

Marmot with Nanga Parbat (8126m) in the background.

I hit my first river crossing and shoulder my bike. I can't believe how heavy it is. I mean it's the same weight as always but it's me who weak. It's the benchmark I've needed all along to confirm my poor state.
But for now I don't care as the plateau is perfection and I carry on in amazement.
But as the day wares on my body wares out. More 2minute noodles do little and I hit my chocky stash. It also does little. I struggle again passing over the Chacher La at 4266m.
But at least from here it's downhill to the town of Chilum where I reach at 6pm. I'm dissapointed to find it's a grotty army town with thousands of used artillery shells everywhere. Chilam is the closest town to the Indian/Pakistan line of control. I'm not that far from Srinagar now but it's a massive detour from Srinagar to get here. Just the thought pisses me off!
Yet again I check into the only place in town. There's only a communal room for sleeping on a raised timber platform, but at least it's only U$0.75. I want food and I'm spoilt by a chioce of smelly/putrid mutton bone soup, big dal, small dal and of course chapati and chai. I tuck into two portions of big dal and hit the sack. I try to sleep but everyone is glued to the blasting tv which is only half tuned in, inaudible and to make things worse it's in Russian!

Crossing the suspension (levitation) bridge on the Deosi.

Eventually they turn it off but leave the light on all night. Around 2 o'clock after only a few hours of sleep I wake after feeling something on my eyelid. I open my eyes to find a cute mouse staring at me. He walks off slowly as if to say "well what do you expect if you stay here"?.

I'm begining to feel like a record as yet again I eat dry chapatis and chia for brekky. Luckily it's 100km of mostly steady downhill today to the juntion with the KKH from where I plan to hitch the 80km back to Gilgit.
Again the valley isn't that scenic but I get good views of Nanga Parbat (8126m) close by. I was going to take a pikky but it looked better from around the corner until I actually got around the corner only to find I couldn't actually see it and the next time I see it hours later it's shrouded in cloud....doh!
After 6hrs in the saddle on a rather boring day I hit the KKH. I decided to hitch a lift on what ever passes by as I've already cycled down most of the road I'm now wanting to go up. Luckily within 5 minutes a Toyota Hiace appears and stops. Inside is an English couple researching setting up mountain bike tours along the KKH and they glady give me a lift:)
I arrive back in Gilgit smelly and dirty after 3 days cycling with no wash or change of clothes...Phwew:)

Typical Deosi scene. All above 4000m.

Today is Sunday and thats means Hi tea at the posh Serena hotel. It's an amazing buffet spread for only Rp150 from 3-6pm (U$2.5) which includes cream cakes....
A go with a crowd of travellers from the Madina hotel. We arrive at 2.55pm and stagger out at 6.05pm:):)

The next week
I decide to veg out for one week and become a little piggy. I'm in a good guesthouse and the food is excellent and I eat constantly much to the amusement of the other backpackers:)
But I begin to feel badly again and open my box of Smarties and dig out four big yellow ones. They make me feel good:)
I actually managed to gain a fair bit of weight and as of the 11th of Sept and feel better than I have for weeks even though my dodgy back has come back after the cold on the Deosi!

Heading off the Deosi to Chilam