Pang to Keylong – June 22

[Himyatra – 2018 This is part VIII of the series. You can read the first part here.]

Today, we were to push as close to Manali as possible. If yesterday was the day of the lakes, today was the day of the passes. We would cross as many as five high altitude passes.

I spent some time looking for my lost specs, but it was futile. Finally, I reconciled to the fact that I had lost them. After a quick breakfast, we finished the morning ritual of packing Girija, and left around 7.30.

After an initial descent, the road started ascending and entered a valley, which seemed to be made of very fragile, brittle mountains of sand. It looked as if all the mountains around us would just disintegrate in heavy shower.

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This arch is just by the side of the road. Looks very fragile.

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In the network range – June 21

[Himyatra – 2018 This is part VII of the series. You can read the first part here.]

Plan for today was to reach Tso Moriri, come back to Sumdo, and then push towards Leh Manali highway via Tso Kar. Find a suitable place and stay the night there.

We woke up around 6.30. Tsoma offered to make us a breakfast of roti and omelette, which we very gladly accepted. This was also included in the rent. While Tsoma was making the breakfast, Jimmy kept bothering her, so Tsoma put her up in her playpen. Here is how Jimmy’s playpen looked.

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Jimmy’s playpen

It was a big compound enclosed by metal net. You can see Jimmy in the playpen. She kept crying all the time, and was complaining to her canine friends. I did not understand the words, but her tone said it all. 🙂 Continue reading

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Not quite Tso Moriri – June 20

[Himyatra – 2018 This is part VI of the series. You can read the first part here.]

Warning, this is a long post. Today was a long day. I woke up around 6 AM. Balya had woken up even earlier, and had had his coffee, which he made on a small gas burner and cylinders we were carrying. I made another round of coffee and woke everyone else up.

Along with us, the guesthouse had a couple of PWD employees staying over. One of them was an engineer, in his fifties and the other guy was a dumper driver. They were working on the new road that we had spotted after Maan. The road was still work in progress, and not completed. Boy, we were happy that we did not try to take that road.

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Packing done, ready to leave

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Pangong Lake and Chushul – June 19

[Himyatra – 2018 This is part V of the series. You can read the first part here.]

Today, we would go to Pangong.

We woke up early. Earlier night, we had told the orderly that we would wake up at 6, and so he was ready with a cup of bed tea at 6 AM. Today again, we had a chance to have hot water baths as the guest house had geysers. We had toast and omelette for breakfast again and left the camp by 7 AM.

A little ahead of Durbuk is Tangtse.  As we left Tangatse, we came across this quaint gompa, Tangatse Gompa.

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Tangtse Gompa

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Saboo to Durbuk via Chang La – June 18

[Himyatra – 2018 This is part IV of the series. You can read the first part here.]

This was my birthday. I tuned 58. It’s only the second birthday I remember being away from the family. The first time was in 1983, when I was sent to Germany by my company for some training. I was in Munich at that time and spent it alone in the Munich Olympic Village.

We woke up early. Had a hot water bath. Once in the mountains, you start savoring every hot water bath, because you don’t know when the next one will be possible. We had an early breakfast of omelette and bread. We were planning to start around 8.15 am. Today’s plan was a bit hazy. We had started towards Pangong Lake, but we were not sure whether we would reach there.

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Finished packing Girija for the day. All of us in front of Girija with Padma Tashi, Manager of the Kartok hotel and his son.

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Day of the switch – June 17

[Himyatra – 2018 This is part III of the series. You can read the first part here.]

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View of Leh from the palace. Stok Kangri at the far end.

[You can click on most photos to see a larger image]

As you are aware, eight different guest teams joined the Himyatra over a eight week period. A little bit about how the logistics worked. The switches were scheduled to happen every Sunday. The new team was expected to arrive before Sunday, and meet the earlier team. And the earlier team left for home either on the same day, or on Monday. The day was also used to restock the supplies, get any other essentials etc. Today was our day of the switch.

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Mumbai to Leh – June 16

[Himyatra – 2018 This is part II of the series. You can read the first part here.]

MyNewRucksackAs I was waiting for the beginning of my Himyatra, I had a lot of work cut out for me. I had to make arrangements for my absence from the class. I teach Mathematics to school children. The academic year had just begun, and I had to excuse myself from my scheduled classes. The students (and the parents) shared my excitement about the trip, and did not object to my absence. Then I had to collect all the stuff that I had to carry with me. Most of it I already had, but I literally had to search for it, clean / wash it etc. I also took the opportunity to treat myself to some “retail therapy” and bought myself a brand new rucksack. 😀 It is a 70 + 5 L rucksack and is very comfortable. IMHO, it’s absolutely value for money. Continue reading

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