Slowly, Slowly (What's Urdu for That?)... Payu, Pakistan

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August 9th 2019
Published: November 15th 2019
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Camp PackupCamp PackupCamp Packup

It takes the porters a couple of hours to disassemble and pack up, the big blue cannisters are our food. They always beat us into camp.
Sleeping at:Payu/Paiju

Sleeping Altitude: 3450m

Trekking Distance: 22.8km, 580m Ascent, 335m Descent

Day 11

Up with the sun rise. Wake to the sound of frenetic activity and the low hum of the river nearby. it's like being in a beehive. Very mild headache this morning- quickly resolved with Panadol. Breakfast and on the trail at 06:50. Lynton and Owen are both better today which is great news. Another hot day ahead of us- lots of water to carry (the kitchen porters boil up water for everyone each night and morning). The river is with us for much of the time and the walking is on sand and limestone like track. Up and down as the sun gets higher. We are all strung out along the route and meet every now and again, this is a perfect arrangement for me as I like walking alone. Also it's easier walking up inclines if you can concentrate on breathing not talking! Scenery is pretty speccy even though it's mostly of the river and doesn't vary too much. The electrical cable dips in and out and along some of the trail, got to say it doesn't look particularly robust in parts. The highlight of the morning is a waterfall coming down through a slot canyon - it's shady and the water spray is blissfully cold, take the opportunity to soak my shirt and dunk my scarf. It stays wet for about half an hour. The donkeys and horses seem to like this spot too as they all stop for a drink and it's hard for the donkey men to pull them away. Juma probably finds it hard to pull us away too- it really is an oasis. I pass a few trekkers from other groups. There is one older couple with a guide that I toggle with a lot, the man has some sort of neurological condition that gives him a very stiff walk, it must be tough for him. Catch the French and Spanish groups from time to time mostly at their rest stops, they all seem to leave a good hour earlier than us.

The morning stretches out - totally starving by 10:00, having learnt my lesson from yesterday I have packed 1/2 of my breakfast, it's a good strategy. I eat it tucked under a rock, the only shade available- there are advantages to being small! Sun
Riverside WalkRiverside WalkRiverside Walk

One of the porters fully loaded
is relentlessly hot and by the time we reach our lunch spot at 11:30 everyone is fairly hot and sweaty. We're eating on a flat sandy area with a few very sparse trees- Kathmandu umbrella is deployed as we suck down noodle soup. We have a treat ahead- tinned pineapple and cherries. Who'd have thought tinned fruit could be so amazing! Shoes off for an hour and we're ready to roll.

The afternoon walking is only about 2 1/2- 3 hours worth and takes in skinny paths along sheer cliffs. At one point you have to climb around. Gen lends a hand and in doing so causes a few boulders to topple down (eek!!!!) We also get a few small streams of icy cold glacial water. There is one stream that is a bit more challenging but isn't very deep and has enough rocks to hop on and not get wet. Spot some cone shapes- the mountains are getting closer. The final push is scaling a few hills , goat tracks and slippery rock face. Spot trees and colourful tents- the day is over!! Arrive at Paiyu Camp suitably tired- despite the fact that I am reasonably fit I'm
Rest StopRest StopRest Stop

Gen (L)- always looked pristine, mule pack animals are common, if you get lost follow the poo trail
still finding it a real slog, the heat doesn't help, I am finding all of the up hills pretty hard work. As soon as we reach camp though the discomfort fades- the kitchen and dining tent is set up with coffee/tea and snacks are on the way. Get the tents set up and head back for a coffee or 3. Mary falls aleep.

The Paiju site is where most groups take their acclimatisation day so it is set up with washing rooms (!) and drop toilets- they are on the other side of a small bridge to where our tents are. There is a big spring fed hose and cement block where everyone can access water for washing, drinking and cooking. That part of the site is pretty busy- the big groups that started out with us are all over there, as are the older couple and a lot of others we haven't seen (as they are a day ahead of us), including the Irish group. Owen is reunited with his group and I meet them properly (as in share names and have a chat- they are a nice bunch). Our side of the bridge has our tents on an upper flat tier overlooking the river, it's a great spot. Later in the afternoon a Chinese group arrive and take the lower tier below us. They are a high end group- generator, very flash tents, dining tent/chairs and separate toilet and shower tent. Our tents suddenly look a lot older and raggy with their broken zips and questionable stains.

Feeling fuelled up on coffee and pakhoras (with loads of chilli and tomato sauce)- delicious, it's time to have a wash- make the trek over the bridge, fill up a red plastic bucket with freezing water and investigate the washing rooms (see photo), find the cleanest looking one and strip off- slightly disconcerting to make eye contact with porters that seem to be looking right into the little slit window.... hastily close the little slit window. So good sluicing off the day and trying to cool down. The drop toilets are mostly dire... no more explanation required. Luckily find that we have some drop toilets on our side of the bridge too, slightly less dire (but not much). Makes for good dinner converstaion- as a group we identify the least dire of the toilets. Toilet habits become a regular
topic of discussion. Dinner is fantastic- fresh melon for desert.

Whilst we are eating a loud commotion happens outside- there is a full on fight between porters- one has grabbed a rock and is trying to belt another one with it- the incident becomes known as Porter Wars. OK...

Another early night- in the tent by 8. Phew. Rest day tomorrow.

Sickness/Illness Event Of The Day- Ian has massively big blisters. None of the porters seem to be injured in the war.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Pakistani Army HelicopterPakistani Army Helicopter
Pakistani Army Helicopter

The only helicopters are the army ones, they also do the medivacs but army business comes first

Big BridgeBig Bridge
Big Bridge

Supposedly not to be used by trekking groups

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