IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

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IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:29 am

Summer camps have been regular outing for IJC since 2009. Although we have been trying for different destinations every time, however, weather and road conditions and access etc does make our choice sometime. Last year we had planned Broghil Valley, last year we tried post monsoon, but unfortunately the road was swept away just before the dates we got to Chitral. So instead we chose alternative destination.

This year, we were determined for Broghil valley again, all plan and arrangements were put in place for pre-monsoon visit this time. But luck wasn't on our side again. We had pre-monsoon heavy downpour in the region and once again access was closed just couple of days before our intended travels. We were 12 rigs with 35+ participants, so changing dates is not possible. So destination was changed to Kumrat Valley. However we decided to go from Kalam via Doteer / Badwai/badgoi pass!

On THE day, we gathered at Islamabad old toll plaza. After Dua-e-Safar around mid-night, we proceeded briskly. Kept to speed limits. There was plenty traffic on road considering the Hour. Peshawar team joined us somewhere along the way after Mardan There were few fuel filling stops enroute for some, otherwise, first stop was at Bahrain for a hot cup of tea just before 5am. This was short stop, and than the dreaded broken road/ offroad track of 35km from Bahrain till Kalam. Some were moving steady, some a bit more briskly! NPP was in its element, loaded with all the camping gear, we reduced tyre pressures to 20psi all-round, and made it to Kalam in an hour. Where Naeem bhai and Ali were waiting for us with hot breakfast arranged of Halwa, Channay, Omelette, parathay etc. Naeem Bhai chose not to travel during the night and so came to Kalam, the morning before and stayed at hotel greens overnight.

After various breaks, we finally re-started the journey towards Doteer Pass. The track was rough as expected, progress was steady, and suddenly we heard on radio (walkie talkie) that something wrong with Naeem Bhai's Prado. Turned out the steering rod end pin broke and both wheels started pointing in opposite direction. Extremely rare occurrence, probable previous damage or repaired area. Anyway, we had some bits with us and rest we managed to get repaired / fitted from a nearby village some 5-6 km away. Took nearly 2 n half hours before we started moving again.

The track was narrow, but not very challenging, everyone comfortably made it to the top. The views on the way and at the top were breath taking! There was a short stop at top for beauty admiration, pics, vdos etc. There were few nearby challenging inclines, but as it had rained the night before, it was far too slippery to conquer them! Saw some amazingly large birds of prey at the top. A mix between Large Eagle / vulture. Perhaps a Condor?

On the way down towards the other side, a break was much needed. Tea with biscuits at a small road side khokha. Having not slept the night before, every one was exhausted. But we had to move on, slowly we did, the track was one of the roughest/ uneven we have seen for some time, so progress was very slow. It was a stony track with mud in between half washed away with rains. Seemed all our internal nuts n bolts will come lose!

Eventually we reached Thal, the entrance to Kumrat Valley. We were aware that Kumrat has become a much bigger tourist attraction in last few years, but what we came across was far more. It was very busy. Lots of little hotels, restaurants, camping spots etc. The lush green jungle was no where to be seen for the first many kilometres. In fact we drove for an hour and a half into the jungle to come up to any decent quiet secluded area for our camping.

Place was identified and soon every one was setting up camp. Our camping ground was sort of an island, with bigger river tributaries flowing on one side and smaller streams/ tributaries flowing on other side. After that it was kitchen setting up time. Naeem bhai was in charge and he set up everything like an expert as usual. Soon the cooking started, while others started tea etc and also the bonfire. Gup shup, with music around bonfire.

The cooking by Naeem bhai needs special mention. The flavours and taste is amazing. Everybody was so hungry, as we had missed the lunch in our travels and just had make shift snacks while driving. Tehzeeb bakery Sweet Rusk are a regular now in all IJC trips. After dinner another hot cuppa and rusk served as dessert. Eventually, all started disappearing in their tents, and by 11:30 it was all quiet.

Next morning Naeem bhai and few of us were already up by 5am. The woods from last night's bonfire was still in coal form, it was probably the quietest n serene time of the day. Even the river flow at that time is minimal, and even though the sun is out, it's hiding behind the high mountains. Mani, me and Naeem bhai just lazed around the fire, chatting, sharing stories n jokes. Than around 6:30, the breakfast round started, once again Naeem bhai was at his best, showing his expertise, eggs as fried, omelette, scrambled versions were cooked on request. With 36 of us in total, the breakfast session just went on n on, till after 10am!

Some of the gang were visiting Kumrat the first time, while others had been there before. So plan was made, and one group stayed behind and just chilled at the camping ground, while the others went for some exploration of the valley. The stories, jokes, leg pulling, music and plenty hot cuppa teas were enjoyed in lovely cool weather with river breeze flowing through.

Soon lunch preps started, cooking for 36 people takes time, there was chopping and more chopping and some more, of onions, tomatoes, chillies, garlic, ginger and what not! The mutton handi and boneless chicken prepared by Naeem bhai, along with boiled rice was literally licked off the cooking utensils by the gang on return. The mid afternoon sun prompted some of the gang to jump in the river for cooling down, there was water splashing competition all round! Followed by more tea n chitchat! There was a short sharp shower, for which we set up more cover between rigs and sat under. New bonfire was setup. The gang had gathered plenty dry wood from around the forest for it.

The evening dinner was ROSH and LAMB Karahi prepared by Peshawar gang. It was actually the IJC new membership treat by Bakht Mir Jan. The cooking was lead by Tufail and Nadeem Bhai with BM, Dost, Jan Gul etc helping. To say, most IJCians crave ROSH will be an understatement of the highest order. Everyone just went quiet, concentrating on their food! :)

There were discussions on the return plans. Some had commitments, so wanted to leave next morning, eventually all of the Islamabad and Lahore gang decided to leave the next morning while most of Peshawar gang apart from BM with his damaged rig decided to leave. There was plenty night photography and night star gazing, but by midnight it was again completely quiet

Islamabad Jeep Club, Cleanliness Drive

IJC had planned a full cleanup drive before the trip, which included bringing back all non-perishable items including plastic back with us from our trip. Additionally we had taken along plenty rubbish sac for collection of rubbish left in the forest by other. Unfortunately, flourishing of local tourism in Pakistan has far outpaced the cleanliness etiquettes of visitors. Everywhere there was rubbish consisting of disposable items, bottles, wrappers, packings and what not. We managed to cover probably only 100X200 meter area and collected 350-400kg rubbish in our bags/sacks. Full pictorial and video graphic recording of it coverage was done, to try our best to promote our cleanliness drive. All rubbish was loaded onto our rigs. We also had made banners to the effect, which we posted along on all the shops and dhabbas, to create awareness among people. Its amazing how people just look for the cleanest area in forest for their own camping and yet leave that area full of rubbish on their way back!

The return journey started around 10am. Progress was steady thru the rough track. BM's temporary repaired damaged radiator started leaking soon, so we had to tow him with NPP for nearly 3 hours to reach Dir city, where he left his vehicle for proper repairs. A lovely lunch was hosted by BMs friend for the gang just outside Dir. There after the gang split up, for their return journeys to various area. Mid day traffic was not helping our progress and coming back to lower altitudes reminded us of the hot summer we are going thru. Even after sunset, the temps were very high. Most managed to reach back safely ISB by 10-11pm, while Lahore gang made it by 1-2am.

All those who couldn't make it were missed on the trip. As usual eternally thankful to Almighty for all his blessings upon us. Till next time..............Pakistan zindabad!

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:34 am

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:44 am

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:44 am

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:45 am

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:46 am

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:47 am

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:48 am

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:49 am

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Re: IJC Summer Camp, Lovely Kumrat Valley re-visit via Badwai Pass, 07-09 July 2018

Post by IJC » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:50 am

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