As I drift off to sleep I peer through the door of my little tent at the burning fires high on the Himalaya hills of the Hunza valley of Pakistan, the echoes of drums resonate on the hill side as the final day of the national celebration comes to a close. It is the annual celebration of Prince Karim Agah Khan. Every year around the world on July 11th fire and lights burn in celebration of the day when the prince received his spiritual powers from his grandfather.
As I close my eyes I ponder which is more beautiful the Himalaya mountains peaks that brighten my eyes and motivate my legs to pedal on or the Pakistani people who have captured my heart. Today, I spent the day with new friends drinking warm smiles and milk tea. The word friendly doesn’t come close to the warmth of the people I have met since arriving in Pakistan. The Karakorum Highway may be famous around the world for beauty, cycling, mountaineering and trekking however the legendary hospitality of the people is a secret I am grateful to have discovered.
Throughout these peaceful hills, the local shop keepers, trekking guides and hotel owners sit hopeful with large welcoming smiles and big hearts that tourists will someday return. Visitors have dwindled in numbers in the last decade keeping the magic of Pakistan hidden deep in the Himalaya hillside.
With my eyes closed warm in my little tent I smile for dreaming about pedaling the Karakorum highway in Pakistan as a solo female no longer necessary. After pedaling around the world for the last 2 years, 15 countries and 34,000 kilometers I am finally here in the heart of the beautiful dream. My website skalatitude.com which shares travel stories and world cycling resources is defined as when nature and humans are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere. Northern Pakistan, the Karakorum Highway and the Hunza valley are the finest example and my vote for a must see on the list of travelers dreams.