Day 8: Hunza to Gilgit
I woke up early in Duikar with the clouds and a little rain still obscuring the views of the valley below and Hunza Peak above, so I opted to stay in bed rather than hike up the hill to snap some photos. With a short drive ahead for the day we spent most of the morning at the Eagle’s Nest, and fortunately the weather blew through and we were treated to some fine views down the valley.
We saddled up late in the morning and drove in convoy down the Hunza valley, following the Hunza river downstream. The KKH took us right underneath gigantic Rakaposhi with its glaciers and seracs cascading down the valleys from the north face. Where we stopped for lunch, about an hour from Karimabad, the summit at 7788m was visible an incredible 6km above us! You couldn’t quite grasp the scale it was that immense: seracs hundreds of metres tall, and ice walls over a kilometre high. A mountain of truly Himalayan (Karakoram!) proportions.
As we descended further down the river we were reminded that the region, except for the ingenious irrigated terraces that utilize what water comes off the glacier above, is a high alpine desert: no green, just greys and browns of the rocks and sand with snow-capped peaks above and a muddy great river in the valley floor.
After a couple more hours of driving around Rakaposhi from the north side to the south-west, we crossed the river over a concrete bridge and entered the regional capital Gilgit. For a place with such history I was disappointed by the town: busy, polluted, unattractive, unfriendly. Given security concerns we drove straight to the hotel, which was entered via a checkpoint and tucked away behind high barbed-wire topped walls, and we had no plans to head out and see the few meager sights which Gilgit has to offer the tourist. Without much else to do I had an early night after the BBQ dinner in the pretty hotel gardens.