Where the Indus is Young : A Winter in Baltistan
One winter, Dervla Murphy, the four-footed Hallam (the mule) and her six-year-old daughter Rachel explored 'Little Tibet' high up in the Karakoram Mountains in the frozen heart of the Western Himalayas - on the Pakistan side of the disputed border with Kashmir. For three months they travelled along the perilous Indus Gorge and into nearby valleys. Even when beset by crumbling tracks over bottomless chasms, an assault by a lascivious dashniri, the unnerving melancholy of the Balts - the heroic highland farmers who inhabit the area - and Rachel's continual probing questions, this formidable traveller retained her enthusiasm for her surroundings and her sense of humour. First published in 1977, "Where the Indus is Young" is pure Murphy. 'The grandeur, weirdness, variety and ferocity of this region cannot be exaggerated,' she writes of the sub-zero temperatures, harsh winds and whipping sands that they faced. However much the region may have changed due to current day political situations her descriptions of the mountain splendour and cultures she explores are appropriately timeless.
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