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By Darin McQuoid

Having a campfire with breakfast made it harder for us to motivate. It
wasn’t mentioned, but in the air there was a feeling that we were near the
end of this chapter of the Indus. Our desire to finish was larger than our
want for creature comforts, and after the first splash in the face,
downstream progress was our only focus. We started off the day with several
kilometers of high quality read n run, only too happy to be working our way
down river. Only too soon we were forced to scout what had looked like an
epic rapid from the road.

Water ramped through a narrow section of river and pulsed over haystacks,
plunging over a mighty folding ledge sending all surface water into the
wall. Literally into the wall. Ten
to fifteen foot deep pockets existed in the wall, and with a heavy heart we
knew it was another portage. It appeared impossible to escape contact with
the wall, and none of us desired to become a permanent feature of the Indus.

As we portaged over the rocks the terrain pushed us higher and higher,
eventually near the road. Chris had been feeling ill again, and decided that
some downtime would help his heath more than a lengthy portage. I wavered on
the fence, but lacking a good excuse decided to continue downstream with Ben
and Phil. We performed a dubious seal launch and quickly had to exit our
boats again.

Thirty minutes of clambering over boulders and we could finally see the
bottom of the rapid. Another thirty minutes of scrambling to find our boats
and get setup. Phil chose to probe while Ben and I did our media roles. A
three part, several hundred yard long rapid. Phil led the charge and we
followed with admirable results, glad to have another big rapid behind our

Boisterous cascades continued in pleasant open settings where we enjoyed
running many rapids rapids and a feeling that ground had been covered. In
the early afternoon we pulled into an eddy within easy walking distance of
our nights accommodations.

We had skipped lunch on the river and welcomed a delicious meal with more
variety than we had seen in a while, followed by an afternoon of enjoying
life in a small town on Skardu Highway.

Although much of the area has cell phone coverage, our current location
didn’t, and our driver’s son was in the hospital, so we drove a few
kilometers to Haramosh, which had a land line and a few small stores.

We met Mr Zarir who said that although they teach English (Urdu and Arabic
too) at the school, pronunciation was the hardest part, and he would be
pleased to have us visit the school, read a book or two and talk with the
students. We estimated that another day on the river and we would be near
his school. We happily accepted his offer before heading off to our motel,
looking forward to talking at the school in a few days.

Look for this trip in Clear H2O Film’s upcoming release: Hotel Charley IV.

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