trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles
Stok to Shang Sumdo
The “normal” Markha Valley trek starts in Spituk. You take photos of the Buddhist monastery there. Then walk 16 hot, dusty kilometres to Zingchan.
That didn’t appeal.
Instead – in the early afternoon – I took a taxi ($8) from Leh to Stok.
The village is home to the Stok Monastery, a museum and gompa. Stok monastery is the current residence of the former royal family of Ladakh and the museum contains the shrines, crown, ceremonial dress and jewelry of the Ladakhi king.
The museum is well worth visiting.
Three Czech hikers (just finishing) gave me my first solid information on the high Pass. They told it was no problem. But that I should treat all water sources. They’d seen 2 dead horses in creeks over the past 2 weeks hiking.
I wandered through town up to the new Buddha statue.
Hoping to gain some sort of favour, unfortunately the big guy had no comment.
Sacred cows were equally mute on my proposed route.
Harvest was in progress. The local people busy.
At the end of the road I got more information from guided groups just finishing.
Finally I turned up hill following the creek. Up.
So far so good, here’s the trail looking back to Stok.
I actually didn’t get far. About 2 hours above town. At this point I still wasn’t sure whether I was acclimatized enough. Better safe than sorry.
See all my high resolution photos from this day on flickr.