Since my last trip to Ramkot Fort I have been longing for another carefree day. Due to work, I couldn't take many days off so I just sought an opportunity to join a friend's family going on a one day trip to Mushkpuri hike in Murree. Mushkpuri has been calling me for so long and I decided to answer it this time. Standing at an altitude of 9452 ft above see level, Mushkpuri is the second highest peak in Galiyat Region after Miranjani Top (9872ft). It offers you two tracks to reach the summit point: 1- from Donga Gali - this one is steep and challenging for those who have not done trekking before 2- from Nathia Gali - this one is the easier and favored by large groups.
Route to MushkpuriYou can take a route on GT road from Islamabad to reach mushkpuri. It's not rushy and a good conditioned road with very few jerks. On the way, you can find refreshment points at Chara Pani or Kotri Bagh. We made a stop for 15 minutes at Kotri Bagh at a small restaurant where we had tea and used the facility of washroom since I maintain my habit of drinking a lot of water on trips which often surprises travel mates. Plus, there is also a car wash service at this place which you can take advantage of any car emergency.
Best Time to Visit MushkpuriThe good thing about Mushkpuri hike is that it takes approximately 1.5 - 2 hours to reach the viewpoint either you start at Donga Gali or Nathia Gali. However, it can take longer when the tracks are covered with heavy ice in winters. So, if you are a snow lover, you either visit in early winters (September - November) or just before spring (end of Feb - mid March). If you love the green mountains, just plan a trip anytime in summers since the region is never too hot and has a pleasant weather throughout the year.
Adventure StoryWell, I wish I could write more about my trip to Mushkpuri in detail, but this is only 25% of what I experienced. Basically, I went only half the way and the above mentioned are general answers to general questions of tourists. My planned trip was turned into an unplanned adventure. Yes, due to heavy rainfall, the roads were blocked and traffic was stuck, so the family I was travelling with reversed the vans and we headed for Murree instead. So yeah, my day dreaming about hiking in snow capped peak ended up on a plain Murree Mall Road with no layers of snow to dig my feet in and pull out with every step as I had expected this day. Well, I still enjoyed. Three main reasons: I still got to play with snow, I was lucky enough to find good company friends, and third I always manage to entertain myself anywhere. And yes, one more important reason was that I had got some good pictures of mine. Murree Mall road is not that bad a place if you take the less crowd trail that offers you some interesting activities to do:
- It leads to the Chairlift point
- A few traditional jewelry shops
- Various refreshment points
- Horse Riding
- Instant Photography as photographers are roaming around with cameras in their hands.
- Magic Trick shows
- Prize winning games such as dice rolling
- Wooden key-chains with names embarked remain the source of attraction for many
- If you are high on adventures, never plan a trip with family. Because you have to give up on your wild ideas to respect the family's concerns and safety risks.
- Do proper research of your own about the conditions even if you are travelling with a travel organizer.
- Follow strict timings for departure and arrival to avoid any mishaps or unwanted situations.
- Always keep a backup plan so you don't feel like a fish out of water at any point.
- Keep cash along. You WON'T find ATMs on paths carved out of mountains.
- Keep water bottle along. You'll need it during the hike, and even on Mall Road if you are not used to walking much. You'll feel exhausted otherwise.
- Keep a cap and shades along to protect from sunburns.
- Take someone with you who is good at bargaining if you want to shop things at Murree Mall Road. Because, they usually tell you triple a price at first.
- Make sure your friends know how to capture a good photo in frame! This is to revisit memories later on 🙂
Even if things don't go the way you plan, try to make most out of what you have got. Living in "now" is the key to happiness!