The river, now reduced to a pleasant brook ran through the middle, a grassy meadow stretched in front, with numerous dead trees around the sides to provide a plentiful supply of firewood, quite a luxury in the Afghan mountains where fire wood is often as rare as water. We had both, being far above the last villages, there were only a goat pen and a stone shelter at the top end of the meadow to remind us that humans occasionally came this way. Higher up there were no tracks or passes, just endless moraines and glaciers creeping down from the granite ridges. It was truly a splendid spot, I often wonder whether the anti-personnel mines and other horrors of civilization have spared it, there is, alas, little chance of ever being able to return.

Between trips, time at base camp was pleasant. We cooked a lot on the wood fire to save fuel. Our protector, Moumil Kahn, an Afghan soldier who had been ordered to look after us at Barge-e-Mattel, was good company, even if communication was difficult. His military role was largely symbolic, he wore no readily identifiably uniform and was armed with an old Martini-Henry, single shot rifle that looked as if it dated back to the Anglo-Afghan wars and which he had borrowed from a friend at the start of the walk in. 

His main role was as a go between with the locals, porters, villagers and so on, and he proved invaluable. He also kept an eye on the camp when we were all away, even if we never experienced the slightest problem of theft or aggressiveness in Nuristan throughout the stay. He managed to buy sheep, chickens and so on to make a change from our tinned food.