Everyone was pretty disappointed when we had to pack up and vacate our huts in Bumburet. Some of the village elders showed up and bid my wife’s parents adieu by draping handwoven lengths of cloth around their collars. This was their way of showing appreciation for arranging some relief work to be completed with government funds. Soon the area should be seeing a measured improvement, but that’s an entire blog in itself. Back to my vacation…
We braved the crazy back-roads once again on our way to Chitral. I chose to focus on the views rather than peering downward at the edge of our tires as they skirted the steep drop-offs. While we traveled I recalled another story that our hiking guide had recited to us. It turns out that Rahmat had met Gary Brooks Faulker in person. My impression of Gary, from news reports about a crazy American with a sword hunting for Osama, contrasted starkly with the guide’s firsthand description. Supposedly Mr. Brooks was very kind in person. With high blood pressure and bad kidneys he wasn’t exactly in ideal health to be making such a bold journey either. Just now looking at youtube, it appears that Gary came back and became quite a star.
The 25,000′ giant, Trich Mir was out of view way too soon as we wove along the Chitral-Dir road. I was hoping to have a closer look at the highest peak in the Hindu Kush from where we were heading. To my disappointment this was not the case.
We landed up at Chitral Scouts headquarters around noon on July 2. I enjoyed a glass of cool juice while checking out the place. With steep roofs and wood accents, the buildings had an architectural style that would look right at home on a Swiss Alps postcard. The first thing I checked for in my room was the one item I was deprived of in Kafiristan; Hot water. Of this there was no shortage. We even had air conditioners! These creature comforts were not expected on the trip north, but who was I to refuse?
In the evening we sat down on the front lawn for a semi-formal dinner with my Father-in-law and some of his FC colleagues. Chitral men performed traditional dances in the cool open air while we devoured barbecued chicken and mutton. Kicking back and witnessing the dancers’ spinning movements and swordplay was a relaxing end to a day of traveling. Besides, my legs could use a rest from the previous day spent hiking.