Day 15: From Skardu back to Sost near the Pakistan-China border
The second day of our long road trip retracing our steps back to Kashgar took us from Skardu, where we had spent the night, back up the valley to Sost which was to be our staging point short of the border crossing back into China.
The drive followed the Hunza River upstream around the western edge of Rakaposhi. We stopped at the memorial to the builders of the KKH, and later stopped at the Rakaposhi view point for tea. The staggering views up the north face above were just as impressive the second time around!
We drove straight through the green terraces of the Nagyr and Hunza without stopping and made good time to the rockfall which formed the Attabad Lake. It was at this point we said goodbye to our faithful 4WD drivers as well as Sher Baz, our cultural guide. Crossing the lake by wooden boat was a highlight of the entire trip, just as it was when we crossed it two weeks ago (even though it feels far longer than that!) – a mini adventure in itself, and lovely to kick back and take in the views of the turquoise lake, high cliffs and snow-capped mountains for the hour or so it took us to traverse from one end of the lake to the other.
The mooring place for the boats at the upstream end of the lake was past the point at which the lake meets the silty waters of the river pouring into it, and our boat struggled along near the bank (where the current wasn’t as formidable) to make headway. Some deft boatmanship got us across the river to the opposite bank where we were able to tie up to some rocks and scramble up to the road and into the same minivans we rode in when we first arrived in Pakistan.
A short drive later past the bulging snout and terrifying roadside moraines of the Gulmit Glacier and we were back in Passu for a late lunch at the hotel we had stayed in. We didn’t stay in the hotel however, as our objective for the night was the town of Sost and the basic/dated PTDC hotel. Sost was where we would be processed and stamped out of Pakistan tomorrow – if everything goes according to plan.