Markha trek, Ladakh – day 2

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

day 0 | day 1 | day 2 | day 3 | day 4 | day 5 | day 6 | day 7 | info page

Colossal blunder or Adventurous Side Trip?

Though I managed to get myself lost for 8 hours, this was to be the best day of the trek. 🙂

Was I carrying too much? Missing anything?

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As it turned out, carrying 3 books was crazy. Instead I should have brought some sort of power supply for my iPhone. Audio books are best on the trail.

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Around one corner I stumbled into a big herd of Blue Sheep.

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Lucky me.

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Actually, the boys at this parachute camp were providing a salt lick.

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These parachutes are seasonal restaurants. They all serve hot and cold drinks. Few provide hot food.

I stayed some time snapping pics.

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It’s here that you either ascend to climb Stok Kangri 6153m (20,182 feet) … or head for the Markha circuit via one of two passes.

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Up and up.

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Beautiful and somewhat mystical.

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My lunch for the first few days was peanut butter on Naan. I’d purchased these flatbreads from outdoor Muslim bakers near the mosques in Leh. Less than $1 for 10. They keep well on the the trail.

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One very good reason to come to Ladakh end of season is to enjoy the autumn colours. It reminded me of Yukon in the Fall.

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These odd high altitude plants are mostly leaf.

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I finally reached Stok Pass. Alon from Israel arrived same time from the other side.

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We were both happy to get some weather. It made the crossing more memorable.

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Just behind Alon were 3 more hikers, not quite so enthusiastic about the snow.

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Gorgeous.

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Dropping down the weather cleared.

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This is an extreme desert. Precipitation is rare.

I love desert landscapes.

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Arriving to the other side my plan was to shortcut – skipping Rumbak village. Why descend when I could traverse the mountain?

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A series of cairns seemed to confirm my off-trail route.

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I left a Summit Stone in this sentry.

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Climbing high I ASSumed I’d be able to traverse towards Kanda Pass in the next valley.

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I ASSumed wrong. I was nowhere near Kanda. 😦

Daylight failing, all I could do was set up my tent well above 5000m.

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Nothing lives up there. But a couple of vultures did fly-bys. Hoping I was dead.

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It was an impressive campsite.

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If needed, I could melt snow.

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I listened to Jack Reacher on audio through the night.

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See all my high resolution photos from this day on flickr.

day 0 | day 1 | day 2 | day 3 | day 4 | day 5 | day 6 | day 7 | info page

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