Ansoo Lake Revisited

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Ansoo Lake Revisited, Kenan Amjad
Published in Khyber.ORG on Sunday, July 3 2011 (http://www.khyber.org)


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Ansoo Lake Revisited

Kenan Amjad

Publishing Date: Sunday, July 3 2011

They say its mad to hike to Ansoo lake one time let alone revisiting for the 2nd time. I don't know what got into me about hiking to Ansoo lake when a friend asked if I am game for a visit to Naran this weekend. I obliged and the first thing that hit me was to go to the places I haven't been to on that side. Asked a few persons, looked into Google maps and thought the first day would be better off to Jhalkad, LoloSar Jheel and Babusar Top. The 2nd day was definitely for Saiful-Maluk as the other 3 friends were first timers to Naran and It would be like returning thirsty from a river if you are to Naran and didn't visit Saiful Maluk.

Got off from Hasan Abdal at 5:00 pm on Friday and made it to Balakot for the night at some friends house. It was Biryani and Roast Chicken. Felt like home and Ate like home but didn't get sleep like home, don't know why but still got up for the morning prayer and were off to Naran after Breakfast. Reached Naran at around 10:00 am . Meet a contact , Booked a Tent and were off to Jhalkad. The Sceneries soon after Naran were Majestic and really mesmerized me for some time. Reached Jhalkad, Wasn't to our expectation, A couple of Restaurants , Still had our fun by getting into the icy cold water. Watched a man catch fish and when got bored, took a jeep and headed towards the next destination. Decided that We will head straight for Babusar Top and stay at LoloSar Jheel on the way back.

Babusar was the top of a hill. It was downhill on both sides towards Naran and Chilas. The clouds made it more beautiful . There were lots of ice for Wazoo so we proceeded and performed our Zuhur prayers on babusar top. Roamed here and there and soon we were desperate to find a shelter as it started hailing vigorously from nowhere . Got into a Tent Restaurant and a plate a piece of rice,well actually that was the only option though. It wasn't quality but it did provide shelter and also like the last trips i don't know why but my friends seemed to be dying of hunger. As the hailing slowed down Got into the jeep and made our way back towards Lolosar Jheel. The Scenery is not as majestic as Saiful Maluk but still it was a a beautiful lake and also bigger. We wanted to stay there for some time but the weather was freaking us out and reaching Naran before dark was a priority. So got back into the jeep and soon we were in Jahlakud where we boarded our vehicle and started towards Naran. Made it there just after Maghrib and there it was, Some kind of freaky Kaghan festival which was the reason for the rent hike of the hotels. Didn't sound fun to me at all but two of my friends were determined to see whats inside, Gave them 10 minutes and soon we were back at the Tent. The Contact we met in the morning was a crook and was charging us high instead of favoring us so we got our money back from him, Hired another tent , dumped our stuff , got fresh and soon it was us against the mighty chicken and the bechara daal maash, but it was the daal which was distinct when i wanted to refill my plate. The prices were reasonable, Karahi was 600 and daal if I remember was round about 100. For some strange reason it stuffed us and we were forced to leave some of it and then finally we were in bed as to get ready for the upcoming physical trial as i say.


Click to Enlarge

Got up early in the morning, performed our prayers, ate our breakfast in the only open restaurant and started looking for a jeep to Saiful Maluk. The prices were like 2000 for a round trip with 2 hours stay or 3000 for an indefinite stay and 1300 to 1500 for a single side but like always we were looking for a favorable bargain, At last hired one for a 1000 Rs for one side and we were off at 6:45 am, Same old Track and at 7:15, there it was, The beautiful and majestic Saiful Maluk. It was dawn and there were no people except those waking up, still rubbing their eyes. There are a few Tents and camping sites where you can stay overnight, Dont quite remember if there was any hotel for stay. Our destination was Aansoo jheel so looked at the blue water of Saiful Maluk and made our way towards the other side of it.

A few memories from the last hike to Aansoo jheel made me ask for the horses but it was a staggering 1500 Rs. for a round trip a person. Actually to tell you the truth the prices looks staggering at that point but not during your journey when you think why the hell have you come here when you can't reach it. So give 1500 willingly if you really want to seen the Lake and you are not used to such trekking but do look for a strong horse though. So instead of horses we rented walking sticks for 20 Rs. a piece and were off to our destination. Moved steadily towards the base camp and reached there without any difficulty, It took about 1.25, 1.5 hours. On the way there is a spot where you have to take your shoes off and cross an icy cold water stream. Malka Parbat is the highest peak in the vicinity and provides a splendid view throughout the errand.

It got harder soon after we started climbing the mountain. It was a never ending journey and my friends were relying on my previous experience but what they didn't know was i had forgotten the path and only remembered the joyful memories. It was a really tiring climb and soon we were taking breaks. The only water bottle that we had was empty now and the water coming down from the glaciers was the only option. On top of that we were feeling drained of energy and we hadn't taken anything to eat with us and it was a pain to watch the ones on the horses overtaking us. Whenever my friends asked how much farther it is, I would reply just after the other peak not only to motivate them but also because i didn't remember exactly how much farther it was. It was when i took a few sips from the glacier water that i started feeling bad and couldn't walk even two steps without having the urge to vomit. Now there we were, the icy peaks were in sight which is the last portion and i couldn't move, so i asked my friends to go ahead and stayed there for a few minutes but I didn't felt any better. Atlast got up to my feet and after a few steps vomited the glacier water out and felt better. Picked up my paces and caught up to my friends just before the icy peaks. Took our time to reach the top and there it was like before, the ever so shy Aanso jheel . Remains hidden in the mist or clouds and can only be seen for brief moments in between. It was frozen with melted water on its border only. (BTW i had been to Aanso jheel in June on both occasions) It took us almost 3, 3.5 hours to reach from the base to the top. Enjoyed the view for some time and then started our journey back.

The 1st portion of the way back was fun where we had to slide down the ice but the rest of the downhill tested our thighs and knees. The sensation of going downhill is so weird after such a long hike. There was that jump on the roaring stream which i forgot to tell during our way upwards. That could be scary if you have water phobia or something like that. Reached the base, prayed zuhar and had some tea and biscuits and after some time made our way back to Saiful Maluk. soon after, it started raining slowly widening the streams in the way thus made it difficult to navigate through. The portion that we considered the easiest became a never ending walk and we wondered if we would ever get back. It was only when Saiful Maluk came in sight that we had our hopes lifted. Prayed Asar in the mosque (just a boundary) by side of the Lake and then looked for a jeep to get back to Naran. Proved a difficult task but at last accommodated ourselves with another group of 4 people and well it was 100 Rs. per person now. We were back at Naran after Maghrib. Took our wet shoes and socks off, got fresh, prayed maghrib, Took a large Italian B.B.Q pizza with a free Coke and started our journey back at around 9:00 pm. The rest of journey was on road so i don't think narrating it would be interesting. At last we reached Our place at around 4:00am in the morning and thats where our memorable journey ended having the thoughts that I have yet to visit Dodhipat Sar Jheel which is about 6 to 7 hours walk.


The author was part of the group that visited the location in 2008; an account of which was featured in Kaghan Valley; Mansehra to Babusar

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Ansoo Lake Revisited, Kenan Amjad
Published in Khyber.ORG on Sunday, July 3 2011 (http://www.khyber.org)