Heat was the biggest thing on this route. Sadly, because both the route and the road were very nice and I couldn’t really appreciate them enough. You get some 35 degrees (celsius) by 9am and it can reach 42 or 45 by midday. On top of that, dryness. Your mouth gets dry the second after you drink some water (which will be hot if you carry it with you).
The other unexpected side-feature was the road itself. The asfalt is great!! Way better than in most european places!! The only downturn comes from those trucks and their smoke. You can’t have everything.
Following the impressive Indus river for most of the day, going up and down constantly (don’expect many flat kilometers here), you reach Gilgit through some amazing landscape. Leaving Nanga Parbat behind was the highlight of the early morning, but little by little some other snowed peaks take its place, and forests start to be more frequent (never enough, though).
There are lots of towns again, so no worries. You can get food and/or drinks everywhere. Minawar, some 18 kms before Gilgit, has a very nice stream where you can refresh your body; you’ll need it by the time you get there. We did that there… and in lots of other places (just placing your head under one of the many stream coming down the mountains feels like heaven!).
And finally, Gilgit. Gilgit is basically one long street surrounded by shops, hotels, banks and everything you can ask for on a city (it even has internet connection!). Small and located in a very nice valley, it’s a nice place to rest before going back to those ultra-small towns on the Karakorum Highway. I had to rest want it or not because of a heatstroke, so not so bad. Could have found worse places. I’d recommend to try to stay on the southern part of the city, a little bit up the hills, where the views are stunning. True, then you must walk/bus/cycle back into the center but it can be worth it.