March 29, 2012

Camel Trek, Shaksgam River

Photograph by Tommy Heinrich, National Geographic

This Month in Photo of the Day: National Geographic Magazine Features

It took dozens of camels and eight Kyrgyz drivers to haul 2.2 tons of gear across the bed of the Shaksgam River to Chinese Base Camp. The cost: $17,000—plus eight pairs of sunglasses.

See more pictures from the April 2012 feature story "K2: Danger and Desire on the Savage Mountain."

See pictures of extreme adventure trips »

Eric Crabtree
Eric Crabtree

I wanted to share a story about this photo.

I teach 5th Grade at an international school and we've been reviewing our social studies curriculum in the Elementary School for the past several months. During this time, I've found myself being pulled more and more to the wonders of National Geographic Magazine. I found hordes of old issues in our library from as far back as 1971 and from as recently as 2004.

As I sat and read these artifacts at night, I became curious to see the modern National Geographic Magazine. So, I subscribed to the magazine on my iPad. (The National Geographic Magazine iPad app is simply amazing by the way.) About a month ago, I was looking through some of the issues from the last few years when I came upon the story "K2: Danger and Desire on the Savage Mountain" and specifically, this photo by Tommy Heinrich of the camels trekking through the Shaksgam River valley on their way to K2. 

That photo spoke to me in a way I have not really experienced before. I immediately thought, "I must visit this place." I researched the valley, the region and thought about getting to this place for months. I dreamed of the photo and imagined the adventure of traveling to this remote valley. The image set me on a path that recently came to fruition, and I was accepted as a volunteer for an organization called HELP (Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme - and am awaiting assignment at a remote Himalayan village school for 4 weeks this summer. I may not get to the Shaksgam River valley, but this photo has put into motion the adventure of a lifetime, and I can't wait to get started.

Thank you to the National Geographic Society for the timeless and consistently high quality publications, and to Tommy Heinrich for his inspirational photo - it has, indeed, made an impact on its viewers and brought help to people who need it.

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