Well. A pretty fantastic adventure. In the distance covered in the last 17 months, I’ve had some close calls with car doors, Iranian paykans , people, sheep, goats, donkeys, and many cows. Surviving with little skill and a lot with luck, I made it to Pakistan. This wasn’t intended to be my final destination for my tour and I can’t complain if it is. The journey has thus far been the most phenomenal experience of my life. I’ve met some very amazing people along the way who have gone out of their way to help me, shown me around, feed and house me. It’s the people in this world that make some of these places on earth so special. I would like to thank the people who helped me on the way, the people that made the journey possible and my family who worry over me constantly.
So for the last three weeks I’ve been on the road from Skardu to Islamabad. I hadn’t been able to get an internet connection good enough to update my blog in Skardu at the time, so I’ve got two blog posts on my trekking and cycling in Pakistan to put up at some point. In the meantime, I’ll detail my little accident here as I’ve been getting a lot emails asking and I’m sure some of you are just curious.
I left Skardu with another German cyclist, Sebastian, so we’ve been two for the past several weeks.
On Monday night we arrived at Naran, in the pouring rain. Having spent the previous night at 3600m, we took a hotel there. The rain didn’t stop for 2 days and we couldn’t wait any longer. The road was paved, clear of snow, with small sections of something not remotely close to a gravel road. Gliding down, we stopped often to take pictures. The Kaghan valley is supposed to be one of the most beautiful in Pakistan. I thought it was nice….
Only 7km out of town, I came across a pool of water on good tarmac. In very bad judgment, I payed the shallow puddle too little heed. I had an instant to look down at my front wheel as I went over the bars, and watched it move back into my crank set. The next moment I was writhing in pain on the pavement. Everything in my body cavity had the sensation of being blended, and left leg had a surreal pain. What a fantastic crash! The instant I looked up and saw my frame broken and bent I knew that this was the end of the trip. I also quickly discovered I couldn’t stand up. Thankfully, Sebastian was right behind me and pulled me and my yard sale to the side of the road.
It didn’t take more then five minutes for a truck to pull up and offer us a ride. It seems I need to find a hospital. The closest one is 105km away. In Pakistan, that means a three hour drive. We end up hitching with two big trucks and hiring two busses to the nearest large town, Mansehra. Even with something to kill the pain, moving from vehicle to vehicle was absolutely excruciating. Sebastian and I made it to the hospital where I was promptly given an analog X-ray. The machine looked like one of the first X-ray machines ever built and I question the radiation dose I got from that thing. The X ray reveals the fracture on my femur. I had to return the following day to the see orthopaedic surgeon.
The following day I got a second digital x-ray and had this surgeon give me his opinion on the matter.
Diagnosis: I likely won’t be able to walk for 2 months, and it will not fully heal for 3 months. El weako. At the very least, it’s a good fracture and my bone is still oriented in the correct position. It should heal on it’s own without the surgical placement of pins in my leg.
I had a look a little more closely at my bike. I consider it to be amazing, as these frames are typically very strong. It is (or rather was) a surly long haul trucker frame, chromoly steel. It’s testimony to the force of that impact. I reckon I was rolling at 20-25km/hr, and I ended up on the pavement less then a meter from the hole. No trace of road rash or ripped clothing as I was already stationary when I fell to the pavement.
So in my incapacitated state, me and my “homme des bois” cycling beard will be coming home. I’ve managed three days of being a cripple in Pakistan, and it’s a tough place to make things happen on crutches.
Sebastian has kindly stayed by my side and assisted me with pretty much everything. However, he will soon need to leave as well, as he plans to continue on cycling to India. This means I must take a bus 200km south to Islamabad and catch a flight home. Fortunately, the Pakistanis are incredibly hospitable and helpful. At every turn, I find someone offering me assistance.
So that’s it. Inconvenient, but not impossible. I think often of Alex (god bless his soul) and Bettina, a german couple I met often in the last four countries. A month ago his life was taken from him by a construction truck in Tibet. All it takes is a moment and everything can change.
I’m happy to be coming home. I look forward to seeing you all when I come home. At the moment, I’ve booked my Pakistan air ticket to Toronto on the 11th of Nov. I will still post my tales from Pakistan. Hopefully they will make an interesting read as this place is a little like the wild west