Towards Lake Saif-ul-Mulook- Karachi to Khunjereb Pass.
“Hurry up!” Bhaiya bellowed “Our jeeps are waiting; we have to leave for Saif-ul-Mulook before 9 o’clock.”
“Let’s go Tanzeela, it’s more than forty five minutes drive,” said my husband.
“I’m coming,” I replied, “Let’s go Zunaira; Baba is calling,” I added to my daughter.
We walked towards the three jeeps which had been hired to take us up the mountain. Api and Emad settled in with my husband, our kids and I.
My husband, as always, took the front seat beside the driver, while the rest of us squatted in the back. It was an open Jeep with only a canvas canopy up top and with sides open to the enchanting scenery. I always longed to ride in them.
“It’s going to be very bumpy ride so take care of your kids and your things,” advised Api.
“Put your mobile inside, you’ll drop it,” my husband warned me as I took my mobile out to take some pictures. The scenery from this height, the mountains on one side and the sheer drop on the other that we were barely managing to keep away from, was breathtaking. How can I ever leave such a beauty be.
“I will when it gets jerky,” I said, although I didn’t put it down even after we were literally bouncing on the ragged road.
“Oh! Tanno please put your mobile down else it’ll jerk out of your hands,” shrieked Api.
“Tanzeela put it down!” ordered my husband.
“Okay, I am,” I said while glaring at Api.
And finally, I did put my mobile down.
”OMG this is awesome! Look, a glacier. A big one,” Said Api. There right beside our jarring jeep towards the edge of the mountain was a big glacier melting with the summer heat. Its bottom had almost melted away, making an ice cave underneath the glacier. We saw some Men and women standing right under it and taking selfies.
“People are taking pictures under it, isn’t it dangerous?” I inquired, the glacier looked like it’ll drop off any time without warning.
“Sure enough, I’ve heard that people have died doing so, not so long ago,” informed Emad.
“Then why don’t they learn a lesson,” I inquired, dumbstruck.
“Cuz they won’t be them then,” Emad smirked.
And then there came a view so fascinating that I wanted to capture it forever. It was a waterfall. Not those little streams that we were witnessing every now and then, but a large one coming out from a huge glacier above us, going down to the valley we had came from. My eyes widened with amazement and then I realized that I had put my phone back in my bag, and by the time I took it out, we had moved on. Oh, what a chance I missed. All thanks to Api.
It was an extremely jolty ride, by the end of which I was sure my bones would rattle forever.
We reached the vertex of the mountain. Where we could see the entire site, it was completely overwhelming. The torques blue lake was surrounded by snow-covered mountains. We were far enough, away to have a complete overview of the sight. The lake looked like an oval bowl blue of water, with the mesmerizing reflection of the mountain around it.
“Are we not getting out Mamma?” asked Zunaira .
“Yes, we will, after the driver parks the Jeep there,” I said pointing towards parking space to our left.
“Take all of your stuff with you.”
“Should I take the bottles too?”
“Yes, of course.”
Just then, Omaina came bouncing up next to me.
“You’ll never guess what happened,” she was grinning from ear to ear.
“Remember the glacier? Well, there were some men there making snowballs and they threw them at me!”
“Omaina please, can you carry shaji in the baby carrier?” I requested, completely overriding her enthusiasm.
“Okay, I would love to, he’s such a cutie pie,” Agreed Omaina, poor girl.
“Emad, please help her fasten the belt dear.”
“Take Shaji then,” he passed Shaji to me and started adjusting the belt. As soon as they took Shaji back, I looked around for my other kids and husband but they were nowhere to be found. Worried, I left Omaina and Emad, fixing the belt by themselves and went to look for them.
“Ah! Found you. Don’t go without me,” I said when I found them, moving ahead.
“Where is Shaji?” Inquired husband.
“Omaina is bringing him, Emad’s helping her fasten the carrier belt.”
“Can she hold him while hiking? It’s a very long way.”
“We’ll take turns.”
We commenced marching towards the lake and there came a market for tourists on our way. I was surprised to see, there were lots of stuff like hats, handicrafts, wood works, and Jewelry of stones and shells. They managed to bring all that stuff up, over ten thousand feet above the sea level, plus on the track we just travelled, which left us rattled brutally.
“That’s the peak Malika Parbat, the highest peak of the kaghan valley,” said Baji as she pointed it out to us.
“How wide is the lake Khala bibi?” Asked Ashhad, I didnt have any chance before to introduce this kid any sooner, Ashhad is the only son of Api, a Bahijan to Nahdia, but did I mention? He is the amazingly intelligent twelve years old kid, who could give any information there is about animals especially the rare and historic ones, among many other things.
“It’s about 2.75 km square. Not very wide, but when compared with its depth it’s something,” replied Baji, “And you know. it’s a glacial lake, the inflow water is from glaciers and it flows into the River Ravi.”
“The most wonderful part is, it’s only reachable in summers. This lake is frosted in winters, so is the track we just came from,” elaborated Api.
“Awesome,” Ali exclaimed.
“Can we ride these horses,” inquired Salama, pointing out to the horses that were clustered together to give rides to those who want a tour of the lake on horseback.
“Well, these are for lazy people who can’t hike. Remember, we are here to hike,” I reminded her.
“Awee ok,” muttered Salama.
“Let’s go towards those glaciers over there,” Api raised her hand towards the place further to our left, “It’s calm there with not much rabble,” she added.
“We could explore the place for a couple of hours but we have to be back here byl Noon,” Informed Bhaiya.
“I love that place, the water is flowing swiftly there,” said my husband pointing towards the lake outlet.
“Yes, it’s a wonderful place, but lots of people are already there. We wanted to see the calm part of the lake; that’s more refreshing,” insisted Api.