trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles
About midnight I felt droplets of rain on my face. For the first time in Ladakh I got up and put the fly on the tent.
Opening the fly next morning I was surprised to see a winter wonderland.
Yet more new snow dusted the mountains.
I’d tented out of sight in these trees.
Dropping further down the valley I finally saw some people. An elderly couple bringing up their goats to graze.
It’s a nice valley, for sure. Some of the buildings impressive.
My face somewhat burned from reflected snow the previous day, the shade of the creek foliage was appreciated.
I saw some unusual Buddhist flags and scarfs en route. Like wash day at the monastery.
This is some significant Buddhist site. Unusual rock formations.
I know because a foreign tourist arrived by car to take photos. Here. On this excellent black top roadway.
A road? What?! :-(
There are no people in this valley. Yet the Indian government built a road up this valley?
I’d planned two more nights on the Alchi circuit. But right here I decided my trek was over. I don’t hike roads.
Then – despite my protestations – I proceeded to hike the road all the way down to Sumdha Do.
Mountain people want roads and electricity. Both degrade the hiking experience.
AND it’s nearly impossible to maintain these roads. Washouts, rock slides and collapse are non-stop.
At Sumdha Do I had trouble finding out how to escape. Indians feel it’s polite to give strangers an answer, even if it’s incorrect. Finally I collected 3 independent answers that concurred.
This was the road heading in the direction of Leh.
It was 21km to Nimmu village on the main highway.
Would I have to walk it?
The second vehicle to pass picked me up. An Indian Army jeep.
They dropped me – after a rough ride – at the highway crossroads. The second vehicle to pass picked me up. Turned out it was a jammed, shared taxi. For $2 it delivered me back to Leh by 1pm.
After a hot shower I was just in time for the closing ceremonies of the annual Ladakh festival. Speeches. Ethnic music and dancing.
I didn’t last long. I headed, instead, to the excellent Leh Ling Cafe & Bookstore for Chai.
See all the high resolution photos from this day.