03.06.2010 – After our first night in low altitude (Skardu is around 2200m high) we all met for breakfast at 8am. The morning was going to start with a new packaging strategy!
Skardu is the last village in the valley having an airstrip and also our last destination with a hotel. As from Askole (the next village we will reach by jeep tomorrow) we will start to sleep in tents. Furthermore, it's also from Askole that we will start our trek with porters. Hence the importance to pack our bags properly. Today we confirmed the number of porters we will have with us as from Askole and each porter will carry a maximum of 25kg of our personal equipment.
The first task for our Young Explorers was to pack their bags so that they would not weight more than 12.5kg. One porter will carry the personal equipment of two Young Explorers. Once this was done, we still had to sort out all the technical mountaineering equipment and share it in loads of 25kg into 60L barrels.
With all the personal equipment, technical equipment, solar panels, generators and the medical equipment, we ended up with 31 loads of 25kg each for the 19 members of our expedition. This meant that as from Askole, we will need 31 porters dedicated only to our gear, without counting all the logistics for the food, the base camp tents, etc, etc.
As the Mike Horn team were busy finishing the packing the eight Young Explorers went to play with the local children. The first contact was quickly made and the young kids of the village were very happy to have new friends to laugh and play with.
In the middle of the afternoon all of the luggage was ready and we took the opportunity to go for a tour of the Skardu’s bazaars and visit the shops. They were definitely not the kind of shops that our Young Explorers were used to seeing. No big supermarket but a lot of small shops everywhere you looked.
At 8pm a barbecue was ready for us in the garden of the hotel. As usual, in Pakistan, we had a delicious meal and the owner of the guesthouse prepared a small surprise for the end of the evening – a local music band from Baltistan were invited to play for us. Some of the local people started to dance and we all ended up trying to move with the music. It was a lot of laughs and an excellent last evening in civilization. As from tomorrow and for three whole weeks, our usual way of life with running water, beds and electricity will end!!