Indus River through the Rondu Gorge
Northern Territories, Pakistan V+
Having a campfire with breakfast made it harder for us to
motivate. It wasn't mentioned, but in the air there was a feeling that
we were near the end of this chapter of the Indus. Our desire to finish
was larger than our want for creature comforts, and after the first
splash in the face, downstream progress was our only focus.
Boyer and Chris Korbulic glad to be making downstream progress on our
fifteenth day in Pakistan.
Admirable progress was made through several miles of read and run
until the team was perched above a distinguished cascade. From the
Skardu Highway it looked to be one of the best rapids on the trip, a
glance from above confirmed it's quality, but thorough inspection
revealed a problematic final.
Boyer soaking it in...
Water ramped through a narrow section of river and pulsed over
haystacks, plunging over a mighty folding ledge sending all surface
water into the wall. Literallyintothe wall. Ten to fifteen
foot deep pockets existed in the wall, and with a heavy heart we knew
it was another portage. It appeared impossible to escape contact with
the wall, and none of us desired to become a permanent feature of the
in this to set the scale, but from the above photo you can image how
small a kayak would look in here.
As we portaged over the rocks the terrain pushed us higher and
higher, eventually near the road. Chris had been feeling ill again, and
decided that some downtime would help his heath more than a lengthy
portage. I wavered on the fence, but lacking a good excuse decided to
continue downstream with Ben and Phil.
Boyer fires away another classic.
Thirty minutes of clambering over boulders and we could finally
see the bottom of the rapid. Another thirty minutes of scrambling to
find our boats and get setup. Phil chose to probe while Ben and I did
our media roles. A three part, several hundred yard long rapid. In the
above Phil runs right of a large standing wave, and below Phil runs the
second half, where we were surprised to see a wave rise up and swallow
him, forcing a quick roll.
easily rolled in time, and sets up to punch the gateway hole.
Zoomed out view of the whole rapid, a personal favorite of the
trip. If anyone was in this photo they would barely be visible, the
small looking feature at the top is the same that a few above Phil
skirts to the right of.
exits through the gateway were successful, canyon walls peeled away and
classic led to classic; Phil Boyer in some big fun class III.
Boisterous cascades continued in pleasant open settings. We
enjoyed all the rapids and the feeling that ground had been covered,
and in the early afternoon we pulled into an eddy within easy walking
distance of our nights accommodations.
We had skipped lunch on the river and welcomed a delicious meal with
more variety than we had seen in a while.
Stookesberry, Roland Stevenson and Mustaffa enjoy some traditional
course no meal in Pakistan is complete without savoring some chai.
Repast history and appetites satiated, we made the most of the
afternoons light to capture small town life on the Skardu Highway.
Boyer sharing the love. Home
base for a few days.
Although much of the area has cell phone coverage, our current
location didn't, and our driver's son was in the hospital, so we drove
a few kilometers to Haramosh, which had a land line and a few small
While browsing the selection we were treated to more Chai by Mr Zarir,
principle of a coed school.
Mr Zarir said that although they teach English (Urdu and Arabic too) at
the school, pronunciation was the hardest part, and he would be pleased
to have us visit the school, read a book or two and talk with the
students. We estimated that another day on the river and we would be
near the school. We happily accepted his offer before heading off to
our motel, looking forward to talking at the school in a few days.