Samar Khan Khunjerab tour
My adventurous life started when I was graduating in Physics & all of the sudden I joined Army School of physical training, Abbotabad to learn Paragliding. Over there I discovered my goals and passion for sports, after that I started exploring my strengths in trekking, wall climbing, archery, martial arts and cycling.
Among all, cycling became my favourite past time and as I started riding within Islamabad, I found it the best way of exploring the world; so I thought to reach Abbotabad(from ISB) on cycles, and it was kind of a little target I was setting for myself to experience environmental and geographical conditions. The ride went very well and even though it wasn’t very unique but I started receiving extraordinary response of followers on social media and unintentionally, I had not only ignited the spark of adventure in girls but also in boys. People insisted to organise such rides on a bigger level so that they could join it too.
That moment became the turning point, & I thought what if I could bring out the massive talent of our community by setting the example & by attaining something which was never done before by any Pakistani female. And when we talk about challenges, thrill and altitude the best spot that comes to our mind is the highest paved international highway, KKH.
The maps were downloaded, weather forecast was checked and all the necessary measurements were taken including puncture repairing , first aid course , camps assembling and ‘Mixed Martial Arts’ for my stamina & good self-defence. The maximum distance chosen was 100km/day and also the spots where we had to stay at night. The only doubt left was the approaching winter as I had no idea whether I would be able to reach my desired destination or not.
Finally, the day arrived & I left from Islamabad sports complex with one of my friend, passing through taxila, Abbotabad, Kohistan there was a place called jaglot, this is where three great mountain ranges meet: the Hindukush, the Himalaya, and the Karakoram. The ninth highest peak in the world, Nanga Parbat, can be seen from the highway .After arriving Gillgit where we were surrounded by giant peaks, stood vertically stiff. We captured a look of a town but with all the facilities of a city, with very simple & healthy civilization. As it was a gradual and continuous build-up, with 12 hours of workouts each day, we had to cope with severe cramps and sickness initially even though we had trained before the tour.
From Gillgit, the beautifully paved KKH lead us to the rich and magical valley of Hunza, luckily we rode through the newly inaugurated tunnels on the route which connects China to Pakistan and built along the Attabad Lake. It was evening when we reached ‘Sost’, the last village on KKH before Khunjerab. It was getting very cold at night and at the next day, we found ourselves in totally new world full of snow and frost. It was another challenge brought by nature which we had to overcome. So our lips moved in a silent prayer and we paced up accordingly. It was -5 degrees when we were pushing ourselves to the final steep stretch & we met the long winding road, it was quite slippery so we had to walk and drag our cycles with us and our eyes were longing to see that Chinese encryption which we used to see in pictures. We started shouting as we got the view of Pak-China Border and it felt like we had conquered a battle. Our Pakistani soldiers welcomed us cordially and amazed to know that we weren’t some foreign tourist but Pakistani girls to reach there.
I paid my respect to Chinese govt. for the infrastructure in those areas which has provided the easy access to all tourists including me. On my way back to Islamabad, I visited schools, colleges, historical places and interacted with local people over there and found astonishing facts that besides natural beauty those areas are also blessed with zero crime and highest literacy rate. The people living there have big warm hearts, I was offered money, shelter, food and it was like a big happy family of my own.
Pakistan has a lot to offer to us, it has majestic peaks, endless beds of flora and fauna, reservoirs of gems and minerals, rich cultural heritage, humans with the golden hearts deserved to be explored and seen.
My story has been covered by ‘Voice of America’ ‘Mashaal’ from Czech Rebublic Praque’ ‘Canbiarnews’ ‘Samaa tv’ ‘Dawn’ and all mainstream media of Pakistan. I became the brand ambassadors of ‘Ladies of Pakistan’, ‘Clean & Green Pakistan’ and awarded in many platforms for representing Pakistan positively. And I also experienced the change in perceptions and received warm wishes from USA, Korea, Canada, Australia and even India.
My efforts & aims can only be sustained if parents trust their children, mothers trust their daughters, brothers trust their sisters to let them join the long run of development and innovation whether it’s business, education, health, sports or tourism.