It was in the early months of summer of last year that we decided to treat ourselves with an adventurous hiking trip. It took us about a month to plan a hiking trip to the remote hilly stretches of Dir, Kohistan in northern areas of Pakistan. Kohistan is known for its scenic mountain ranges and beautiful lush green meadow landscapes. First things first, we paid a visit the office of KP Tourism Corporation for the area map and approved our hiking trip, since Kohistan is a tribal area and its journey is bumpy with a difficult terrain.. After we got the complete journey mapped out for our hiking trip, we contacted some local friends in Sheringal town is located near the Kohistan mountain range to be our guides.

Now came the critical phase of preparations of our hiking bags that had some clothes, sunglasses, a map, compass, a torch with some extra batteries ,knives ,kitchen utensils, food and first aid kits.

Our journey began from Peshawar city early in the morning at 7 am on day 1. We reached our first destination, the Sheringal town, at around 4 pm where we met the local friends and decided tomorrow’s journey. We agreed  on hiking 16000 feet to get to a lake located at  some distance from a town named Jahaz Banda (Jahaz means plane and Banda means a small village in their local language). The next day we all put on our hiking gears and hoped on the local off- road vehicles to take us to our last stop ‘Lamoti Kohistan’. From this point forward we headed towards the hilly forest with almost no human settlements.

So finally we began to hike. We were walking slowly and taking pictures along the way, enjoying the natural awe-inspiring beauties and gifts by God. The hiking track had beautiful rivers, waterfalls, magnificent and breathe taking sceneries of vegetation. We had energy drinks to keep us going as we had to reach our next destination Jahaz Banda to set our camps there before night fall.

At this time of the year there are unexpected heavy rainfalls at Kohistan which makes the hiking track more challenging than it already is. The rain filled the streams and rivers with rushing turbid water. The challenge was worth it; the track of this hiking trip showed us all the beautiful sceneries we had only seen in books and magazines. After 10 long hours of hiking we finally reached our destination. We set our camps there and stayed the night.

The next day we woke up early in the morning to start our journey to the Lake ‘Katora Jheel’ (Jheel is an Urdu word for lake) located at 16000 feet above sea level. The plan was to reach the destination in three days with 8 hours hike per day. Our journey started with the fresh morning breeze and the musical chirping of birds. On our way we had to cross many rivers by walking over a pieces of log as bridges. That was the most difficult, scary and yet the most amazing part of the hiking journey. Three days in to our journey we were invited to stay the night by a local tribal family and believe me they were the most hospitable, enthusiastic and caring people we ever met. So all the rumors about the dangers about the local tribe were made-up.

The next day our yet another more challenging hiking trip track began. We had to reach our destination which was a small lake located in the middle of mountains and camp. We had to climb many huge rocks and pass many rivers between the hills. The track was rough, and sometimes there wasn’t actually any track to walk on. To overcome this issue we were told by the locals to follow the herds of sheep, as it will work better than any compass and believe it or not, it really worked when we got lost once. After reaching our rest point, all of us started to set the camp near the small lake and enjoyed the entire night, singing songs and listening to one of our friend play a locally made guitar called a rabab.

Finally the best day of our hiking trip came. It was the day we had to reach the Katora Jheel. Reaching there was a joyful experience and in itself a sense of achievement because only five people from around the world actually got there. As this track was exhausting, we took many rest breaks for drinking fresh, cold water from the spring and eating sandwiches that we made the night before. These breaks provided us with more motivation and energy to conquer this track. After tracking for many hours finally we took a sigh of relief and gratitude when we reached to the top of 16000 feet. Though we faced many dangers and injuries during our hiking trip but after watching the beautiful sight of Katora Jheel, we were all so over whelmed by the natural beauty that it made us feel that all of these efforts were definitely worth it. The Lake surrounded by snow filled hills and waterfalls was a sight to behold.

After these long hours of hiking trip we prepared our meal, took a lot of photographs, set a fire and chose a grassland to take some rest. After spending there a night, we decided it was time to go back. The return journey was going to be as difficult, so the next day we started our journey back to the town of Lamoti Kohistan and we reached there in the time of three days. From there we booked a mini bus to reach Peshawar city.

The hiking trip to Kohistan, Dir was fruitful. We all were changed in a spiritual way by facing all the challenges during the trip. It provided us with physical and mental exercise. The hiking trip also widened our knowledge and experiences about the region. We all never knew that our country was so beautiful, Kohistan was definitely a heaven on earth.

Article submitted by Asif Khan

Hi Asif here, I am 25 years old. I am an adaptable, proactive and enthusiastic MBA graduate from IM Sciences (with 3.75 CGPA) working as a content writer and Blogger for the benefit of the community in a professional environment where all the mastered theories in Marketing and Business can be put in to practical usage and further enhanced, for the benefit of the society.

For more articles from Asif visit his blog here.

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