The country of Pakistan is so incredible. One hundred percent if you have the opportunity to go there, you should, and not just for kayaking. The culture and the people there were so wonderful. People’s generosity was unbelievable and bountiful, they were so excited to have westerners in their home and to share it with us. Every person we met offered us chai tea and food, offered for us to come in to their homes, and made it a point to come over and speak to us to get to know us and hear our story. The first question we mostly got on the river was, “Where are you going?”
The landscape there is beyond anything I could have imagined. I know now that we don’t have real mountains in California, we have little hills. On our drive, Johnny and I would ask our driver what the names of these massive peaks were, he would mostly tell us they were “baby peaks” and we couldn’t see the big ones from where we were. If you go to Pakistan, hiking, climbing and exploring these mountains would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Indus changed my mind as far as what kinds of rapids I deemed runnable. The size of features I feel comfortable around has certainly increased. It was really special to be out there paddling some of the biggest rapids I’ve ever run and feel totally in control even though the nature of big water and the Indus is unpredictable and more dynamic than a “normal” river.
The people on the trip will always make it or break it. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew, other than one or two additions, for this journey. Evan, Johnny, Dane and I all worked so well together, and all of our drivers, cooks, guides, and everyone in between were so incredible. I will be forever thankful to all of them.
I feel like I’m now an ambassador for the country of Pakistan. Clearly it has had a terrible reputation in recent history, but no travel is without dangers and unknowns, Pakistan is no different. But there wasn’t a single time that I felt unsafe. Be smart about your travels, hire local guides, don’t spend time in cities, and don’t go out at night.
Here’s a video that Dane made about our trip that really shows a little bit of every aspect. We hope you all have good lines and stay safe out there!