We are slogging, my walking partner Naveed Khan and I, down a cruel blacktop highway in the Karakoram range of northern Pakistan. Behind us: the air-blue mountain passes leading to the parched deserts of western China, to the alpine wilds of northern Afghanistan. Ahead of us: the lush green Punjab plateau, and, eventually, the scorched coast of the Arabian Sea.
But first—a refueling stop: a roadside hut of corrugated tin. Two slabs of flat, gray stone, propped heavily on rusty iron legs, serve as rustic tables. The star of the menu: nature’s own elixir, sea buckthorn juice.
Photograph by Paul Salopek.