Shimshal village in Autumn

This is the wonderful scenery of Shimshal village in late October, enveloped in the golden, yellow, red shades of Autumn. Livestock have returned from Pamir and the village is ready for a tough winter ahead.

 

The yaks who returned from Pamir were in the field. Large males and some females remain in the Pamir over winter. It is a tradition to survive the cold and tough winter with limited food.

 

A sunny day, good for washing! Shimshal village on a warm sunny day.

 

Karun Koh seen from the Shimshal valley. The altitude of Karun Koh peak is 6,977m, 7,164m, or 7,350m depending on the documents.

 

Just outside the Shimshal village, there are Molonguti Glacier and Disthagil Sar 7,885m.  From here we drive off the valley for 3 hours to reach the mighty Karakoram Highway near Passu.

Visit beautiful village of Shimshal – One step off from Karakoram Highway !

 

Photo : Mariko Sawada  Text: Mariko & Sarosh

Visit: Oct 2014, Shimshal, Gilgit-Baltistan

 

 

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Mountains of Pakistan > - Shimshal
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Shimshal in Autumn – At the suspension bridge on the Shimshal River/Autumn Kuch 4

Finally, the goats, sheep and villagers who have had spent the summer in Pamir safely arrived at Shimshal village. Most villagers go to Pamir temporarily to carry livestock, but some women take care of livestock and make dairy products during the summer.

Unfortunately, these traditions are slowly disappearing.

 

People waiting eagerly for livestock on the other side of the river.

 

Came back from Pamir: sheep, goats and villagers.

 

It’s soon towards the suspension bridge.

 

People waiting for the arrival of family and livestock.
I was engrossed in taking pictures of this beautiful scene.

 

A villager crossing the suspension bridge carrying a lamb that is still small and unable to walk.

 

Villagers, sheep and goats walk to the center of the village as they cross the bridge.

 

Collected in the village, goats and sheep just came back from Pamir.

 

The villagers confirm the goats and sheep that they have kept and return each of them to the respective home-owner.

On this day, what I witnessed …. the arrival of KUCH in Shimshal village …. It was such a beautiful tradition that villagers together cooperated and built, something unknown to the world outside.

One should experience the Kuch tradition for once in their lifetime!

 

Photo: Mariko SAWADA Text : Mariko & Sarosh

Visit : Oct 2014, Shimshal, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Pakistan's domestic Animal > - Shimshal
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Shimshal in Autumn – Yaks return to the village /Autumn Kuch -3

Finally, it is the day to return to Shimshal village with the yaks.
From Wuch Furzeen to Past Furzeen, there are steep climbs and sliding areas.

 

Yaks carefully descends the vertiginous slope.

 

I saw goats and sheep moving on a steep slope from the bottom. The right side curve was really scary and precipitous.

 

Goats and sheep rush to the village. Their pace is slower than that of yaks, so they will arrive to the village the day after the yak’s arrival.

 

Yaks and villagers strenuously climb the mountain slope.

 

View of the incredible Yazghil Glacier on the way to the village.

 

“The white horn of Shimshal”, Adver Sar (6,400m).

 

And it’s down Ghare Sar. When you get off here, it is Shimshal village.

 

Crossing the Shimshal River. The villagers protect the small yaks.

 

To the Shimshal village where the family awaits anxiously.

 

At last! The villagers and yaks have arrived at Shimshal village. It was really a good work. Cheers!

 

Photo : Mariko SAWADA Text : Mariko & Sarosh
Visit : Oct 2014, Shimshal, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > # Pakistan's Livestock & KUCH > - Shimshal > Yak
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Shimshal in Autumn – Yak, goat and sheep return from the Pamir/Autumn Kuch -2

When we started to leave Arbab Parien camp, we received an information that the livestock had already been departed from Shuijerav. There, we decided to wait for “Kuch” at the pass near from Arbab Parien.

While waiting for “Kutch”, we saw a baby yak who was walking with the villagers towards to the village yesterday.  It ran away to get back to the Pamir where the mother yak remained. However, villagers caught the baby yak.

The female yaks are divided into two groups ; a group returning to the village and a group remaining in Pamir during the winter. The mother of this baby Yak didn’t  return to the village and spend the chilling winter in the high Pamir.

 

The very first arrival from Shuijerav is a small herd consisting of baby yaks and female yaks.

 

Then a herd of sheep and goats continue towards the pass.

 

Baby getting milk from mother sheep while walking.

 

Yaks crossing through the small gate of Parien Sar.

 

It’s a difficult and dangerous place down to Parien Ben. Yaks rushing down the slope raising the sand in the air.

 

Yaks going down the slope. Shimshali villagers rushing down at the same speed as of yaks, so we followed them vigorously. Indeed, this inclination is quite scary.

 

Subsequently, crossing over the river of Parien Ben.

 

What a wonderful view. Goats and sheep in a uniform row crossing the suspension bridge, aiming forward for today’s campsite, Wuch Furzeen.

 

Photo : Mariko SAWADA  Text:Mariko & Sarosh
Visit : Oct 2014, Shimshal, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > # Pakistan's Livestock & KUCH > - Shimshal > Yak
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Shimshal in Autumn – to the Shimshal Pamir / Autumn Kuch -1

KUCH, the traditions of Shimshal village
Kuch in Shimshal village is a large movement with livestock.  “Autumn Kuch” is the movement of  all the livestock who went to Shimshal Pamir in the summer in search of pastures come back together.

In October, I went to Shimshal village to greet the “Autumn Kuch” coming back from the Pamir.

 

Preparing for a trip to Shimshal Pamir

In the morning, yaks carrying luggage start gether in.
The way to Simshar Pamir is not easy …. it is steep. I have visited Shimshal Pamir twice so far, but when I got tired of walking, I started riding on the back of the yak and customized it to be comfortable.

Nevertheless, staying together with Yaks is a great thing, especially for animal lovers.

This is the Yak who can carry people on hardest trek of Shimshal Pamir.  He will be customized by attaching a Saddle and  a mat.

 

Departure from Shimshal village
When you leave Shimshar village towards Pamir, you have to cross the Shimshal river first. Some yaks can cross the suspension bridge, but most of them walk across the river.

 

A yak crossing the beautiful Shimshal river.

 

Climbing of Ghare Sar. The magnificent valley’s scenery carved by the Shimshal river spreads out to the horizon.

 

Arrived at Past Furzeen, today’s campsite. Yaks carrying the heavy load is also cheers for good work!

 

Photo : Mariko  Text : Mariko & Sarosh

Visit : Oct 2014, Shimshal Village to Past Furzeen, Gilgit-Baltistan

 

Category : ** Pakistan's domestic Animal > - Shimshal > Yak
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Stoat of Deosai Plateau

It is a Stoat, also known as a short-tailed weasel, which I observed at Deosai National Park, in October.
The morning and evening temperatures were below freezing point during this season. The Stoat was completely engulfed in white winter fur; protected from the predators and the harsh cold weather.

A Stoat is widely distributed in northern Eurasia continent and North America. In Pakistan, it is found in the northern mountainous areas.

There was no one where we stayed at Bara Pani campsite. A calm and peaceful place and only cold wind were blowing… Ultimately, a Stoat came quite close to us without any fear! Thus, we had the perfect opportunity to photograph it.

Photo: Mariko  Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation: Oct 2015, Deosai Plateau, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > - Deosai National park > - Stoat
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Northern Pakistan’s autumn feature: meet the movement of livestock in Passu

This is one of the most highlighting feature of the northern Pakistan in autumn; the great movement of the livestock. In October, livestock such as goats, sheep, and yaks that spent the summer in high altitude pastures return to the village all at once.

 

When I was traveling north on the Karakorum Highway, villagers brought livestock appeared in the backdrop of Passu mountains.

 

Villagers with their livestock who spent the summers on the highland pastures.

 

Goats and sheep collected from various houses in the village are gathered together and moved together. Finally, when they arrive at the village, they are divided into their respective homes for winter preparation.

 

A very healthy herd of livestock passing by, extremely wonderful herd sheep & goats, with signature long and twisted horns directing towards the back.

 

Villagers moving with their livestock, the village is already near.

 

Photo : Mariko,  Text : Mariko & Sarosh

Visit: Oct 2014, Passu, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > # Pakistan's Livestock & KUCH > - Passu
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K1- Masherbrum from Hushe valley

The glorious K1 Masherbrum (7,821 m) seen from the Hushe valley. You can clearly see it from near the Hushe village, but we went towards the camp of Brumbruma a little further.

In June, a lush green beautiful village of Hushe. It is a village that is an another gateway to the Karakoram.

A camp of Brumbruma, 4,500 m above sea level. No doubt, it was a snowy year.

“The Snow Leopard’s trap”, I saw on the way to Brumbruma from the Hushe village. Unquestionably, Snow Leopards must be protected at any cost… This seems to be an old one, and there are a lot of Snow Leopard sightings in the Hushe valley. Villagers here proudly say, “Come in the winter, We will show you the Snow Leopard.”

Majestic figure of Masherbrum.

A series of beautiful and sublime ice walls.

From the camp of Brumbruma, Masherbrum in the golden colors of sunset.

 

Photo : Mariko SAWADA    Text : Mariko & Sarosh
Visit : Jun 2010, Brumbruma Camp, Hushe Valley, Gilgit -Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > - Hushe Valley > - K1 Masherbrum
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Gondogoro-la from Hushe side, K2 appeared from the clouds

It is a record of a long time ago. In June, when there was a lot of snow, I climbed the Gondogoro La from the Hushe side.
The climbing on the Hushe side was long and challenging. Nevertheless, I continued to climb in the midst of the falling snow, and I was assuring myself not to expect the view of the mighty K2, “I may not see the scenery even if I go up”.
Indeed, it was enveloped in the clouds when we reached. I wanted to wait for a while but we couldn’t relax too much because we were worried about the risk of avalanche on our way back.

Suddenly, a miracle happened. The clouds ahead of the staff who went to Ali camp direction broke and K2 emerged from within.

View of K2 from Gondogoro La.

It was for a really short time, and a scene that I felt resembled “Space”.
The camera settings were also crazy during the climbing and the colors were a little funny. Nonetheless, every minute was rewarding.

Ali Camp side from Gondogoro La.

The way down to Hushe side, Khuspan Camp.

Finally, I went downhill at once to reach to our camp. At the camp, cook prepared some succulent “Tempura” for me…  it was quite heavy after the climbing!

Photo : Mariko SAWADA    Text : Mariko & Sarosh
Visit : Jun 2010, Gondogoro-la, Hushe Valley, Gilgit -Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > - Hushe Valley > - K2
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Snow Leopard observed in Morkhun Village -2

To begin with, when we were informed that the Snow Leopard hunted Ibex in the Morkhun village and sat on the other side of the river, we were near Gilgit. Thus, we changed the direction and headed towards Morkhun Village.

We had to drive slowly because it was dangerous and slippery on snowy roads, due to which, the chances of seeing the snow leopard decreased. It was a risky decision, as the snow leopard may not be there once we reach.
However, against all odds, we headed to the Morkhun village with a complex mind.

This is the Snow Leopard I saw when I just arrived. It was on the other side of the river and the distance was short. At first, I could not find it as it was camouflaged. But then I were able to see it, once it moved its tail.

It was already past 15 o’clock, and I was worried that the snow leopard would move before it became dark.

According to the villagers who have been observing it since morning, the Snow Leopard was hunting Ibex, eating it, hiding the rest of meat in the bush, entering the river, climbing up the rock, then it was sitting there for a while, and at last, went to sleep…till now. Villagers were showing us video clips of Snow Leopard they took through their mobile phone, while we were waiting for the movement of Snow Leopard.

The snow leopard has begun to move!
Villager screams in Wakhi saying, “Shou-bashi!”, meaning “Very good “/”Well Done”.
At this time, about 30 people from the village of Morkhun and the surrounding villages were witnessing the snow leopard.

Snow Leopard has jumped out. The villagers are delighted to say, “Shau-bashi! Shau-Bashi!”

Wild Snow Leopard is in front of us! I was really waiting for this perfect moment for a long time in Pakistan.

The villagers expected that Snow Leopard might go to the Ibex it hunted, but the Snow Leopard sat down again.

It was already dark, consequently limited chance to photograph the snow leopard. I followed the last figure of the snow leopard until I could not see it and left the place finally.

This is the place where we were observing in Morkhun village (drone shot)

Lastly, thanks a lot to the local people of Morkhun village.

Photo: Mariko Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation: Jan 2019, Morkhun Village, Gojal, Gilgit-Baltistan
Special Thanks to Mr. Sultan Gohar (Khunjerab National Park), Mr. Yousaf Akhtar for Drone shooting.

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Wildlife of Pakistan > - Morkhun > - Snow Leopard
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