trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles
Like every other night on Markha, I slept under mesh. No fly needed.
That typically means I awake at first light.
With the moon setting early, I enjoyed dark nights. Bright stars. Milky way.
Clean water for coffee. Just as soon as the ice melted.
Rabbits and partridge watched me pack up.
Kanda La 4973m was an easy crossing.
It’s always a treat to see over the other side of the mountain.
Down. Down. Down.
The marmots here are huge.
Before long I was back in the fields. Harvest in progress.
This is Shingo 4128m.
When you get low enough. Dry enough. Hot enough. Lizards appear.
I finally reached the Markha river at Skyu 3430m.
The monastery in Skyu is impressive. The parachute camp clean and organized.
In fact, Skyu has electricity in the evening. And road building has been attempted.
Seems to me the Markha valley will one day be ruined for trekking. 😦
It was here I joined Sergei.
An alpinist and hiker from Russia, nobody on the trail carried a bigger pack. Nor walked as far each day. He was tenting, as was I.
Sergei cooked over an open fire each day. His own food brought from home. He needs wood, a rare commodity in Ladakh.
Happily there are many trees along the river in the lower Markha valley.
We continued up river.
The Markha is beautiful. Rugged in places.
It was getting dark before we finally settled on a (dirty) closed campsite.
But it had a fire pit. Wood. And clean water. We were happy with the spot.
See all my high resolution photos from this day on flickr.