Leepa Valley beauty has always been described as amazing by all who have travelled there. IJC had always wanted to visit the area. This time when we were thinking of a shorter summer camp destination, Leepa Valley name came up and most straight away said, yup, let's go there. The dates were agreed upon and planning started, various duties were assigned for trip related procurements.
Because of time, we didn't think initially that many could go, maybe 5-6 rides, because of kids exams, and various other commitments. But gradually more n more people joined. In the end it was a 10 vehicles convoy, with 25 IJCians n friends.
1 NN + Usman on NPP
2, Asad + Zeeshan + Iqbal Mir on Jero
3 Salman + Imtiaz + Kashif of TLC 100
4 Saeed Bhai + Hanan on Jeep Wrangler
5 Yasir + Aizaz + Dost Muhammad and friend of Toyota Surf
6 Bakht Mir and Tufail on Toyota Revo
7 Aadil+Mani+Mazhar on Daihatsu Fourtrak
8 Imran on Willys
9 Naeem Bhai and Ali on Prado
10 Nomi + friend on Jero IO
We set off at 6.30am from our meet point opposite Lake View Park Rawal Damn. Progress was steady. Everyone had plenty luggage n food with them for camping and didn't want that thrown around on twisty roads. Breakfast + extra tea + washroom stop was at a restaurant before Kohala Bridge. Soon we were on our way to Muzaffarabad. Most had their fuel top up done there. Than it was straight on towards Leepa Valley. Progress became slow on the smaller roads due to traffic, over taking and check post requiring entry etc. On steeper inclines one ride had some temp issue, but we kept moving steadily. Lunch break came around 2pm at our journeys highest point close to 10000 feet. Lunch was home made sandwiches courtesy Usman Umerzai.
The incline and slopes were challenging at points, but Alhamdolillah we managed it easily. More traffic, more check points, eventually we reached our destination. Yasir had arranged a camping location. We had drinks n snacks and than the usual too n fro discussion on where exactly to put our camps. We crossed a fast flowing Nallah/ stream in our rigs and found an ideal flat ground for our camps. Camp setup started followed by tea n more snacks. Chairs were setup, usual chit chat started. Lights were set up. The temps came down dramatically with sunset. And out came fleeces n thermals for most. Cooking started for dinner. Naeem Bhai had special Nalli Curry cooked for us. Than we had rice palao and chicken curry as well. MashaAllah the camping mahol was fully garam! The jokes n leg pulling n all continued thru the evening, except during dinner itself, when everyone just pounced on hot food in the chilly evening.
It had been a long day for most, up before 5 in morning, so gradually people started disappearing in there tents. Naeem Bhai was in full form with his jokes repertoire and stories! Old camping stories were shared and remembered. Finally by mid night everyone was in there sleeping bags.
Next morning, everyone was up rather early. Sunrise was before 5, time for some photography and enjoy the peace n serenity of the amazing Leepa Region. Early morning hot cuppa was thoroughly enjoyed with cake rusk. Soon more people came out of their tents due to loud gup shup outside. Full fledge breakfast preps started. Everyone had their own choice of breakfast, ranging from simple butter toast or jam toast to cheese, to fried eggs and various kings of omelettes including sausages n chillies n what not!
Some gradually went for walk around to see the area, while others just stayed put and chilled. Asad brought some lovely melons n water melons along, it was time to enjoy those! Gradually the clouds started covering up the sky. Initially they were just light coloured, but gradually they started darkening. We had known of weather forecast of some rain showers but this seemed much more intense. Gradually the drizzle started, which turned into a much heavier rain. Lunch was had under cover. We got some phone signal n found out that weather forecast had now changed to much heavier n constant rain for the next day or so.
We couldn't go anywhere out of camps, and keeping dry inside in tents for long was not easy as it was all getting muddy n slushy outside, so we had camp meeting n it was decided to cut the trip a day short and leave in the afternoon, as the return drive thru forest muddy slopes will not be getting easier. So all packing started. Stuff loaded back in rigs and we started the return journey after 2pm.
The water crossing in rain of the fast flowing Nallah was even more challenging, but managed safely by all. But it did cause one casualty. Imran's jeep had his fan blades slash into the radiator in all the bouncing etc while crossing the Nallah. The leak was big and the vehicle had to be switched off. As it was pouring continuously and no local repair facility for miles, we decide to tow it up with NPP. It was a challenging task on muddy slippery slopes uphill with sharp U turns all the way! It was rather eventful drive, but Alhamdolillah, we were all safe and reached the top.
Few photography breaks. We were actually above the clouds at the top. The views were breathtakingly amazing. But as it was drizzling and we had a limping rig with us, we could not admire for long, as we were still far from any repairing facility. So we moved on. After a while on descent the towing rig was changed from NPP to Daihatsu with driver change as well. Half of the gang split up and moved forward to go the next town and look for radiator repairing mechanic. Soon we were on metaled road and progress became quicker. We reached the town with repair mechanic waiting for us. It was a tea break time. It was still drizzling, after an hour or so the radiator was fixed, the Willys started up fine and we were on our way. Rain became much more intense and we were glad we decided to leave camping ground.
Next stop was Muzaffarabad for dinner. By that time it was pouring like mad! Dinner took long to prep. Eventually at 10pm we left Muzaffarabad for Isloo. Near Bhurban, Imran's Willy bad day continued and somehow fuel pipe came off and got wrapped around drive shaft n ripped. So he was than towed again by Aadil n Mani with Daihatsu all the way from Bhurban to ISB. By this time traffic had lessened to nil, so progress was brisk. Eventually all reached back home by 1:30-2:00 am.
Thankful to almighty for all the blessings. This trip though short was lovely and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Already looking forward to the next one!