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Himalaya

Day 19: The Karakoram Highway

Michael Palin - HimalayaThe Altit road is not one for faint hearts; it's just an unfenced track of flattened debris dug across the middle of a 3000-foot spill of scree. Halfway along it someone tells me that the word Karakoram means 'crumbling rock' in Turkish.

I'm much relieved when we drop slowly down through the tree line, but just as I'm feeling secure we have to cross a slatted bridge of warped and bent timbers, between which I can see a lot more of the raging waters of the Hunza than I'd like to. Under the weight of each vehicle it bounces up and down as if it were made of elastic. Never have I been so happy to reach the other side of a bridge.

On the way back to Gilgit, the sun hits the eastern spires and ridges of the mountains and turns their tips the colour of molten metal. I only hope the Himalaya can live up to the magic of the Karakoram.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 19: The Karakoram Highway
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Altit
  • Book page no: 43

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