from the dry mountains to the wet monsoon!


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Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Manali
July 21st 2008
Published: July 21st 2008
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How could I possibly summarize almost 3 weeks of trekking and travelling by bus across the Himalayas...

It was almost 3 weeks ago that my group of 5 clients and I left Leh for a beautiful trek in Ladakh. With a local guide, 3 cooks, 4 horsemen and 12 horses. Waw. It was amazing scenery and a lot of fun. with some long more difficult days and some shorter ones, and even a few rest days. We went up about 5 moutain passes of about 5000m or more, saw kyangs, cranes, marmots, hare, yaks, dogs and also a few trekkers and of course, some nomads....

So here is just a few memories that I bring back from the trek...

The visit to the nomads, when we were invited inside their tent... There was one woman and 3 kids, one of them was a young monk, shaved head and already a peaceful look in his face. We asked them questions and thanks to our local guide, we understood the answers... But the biggest surprise was when they acccepted our invitation to visit us... THey came in our tents, looking at all our weird stuff and left with ziploc bags, candies and other stuff the clients gave them...

The evening when we celebrated one woman's 50th birthday, when we came out of the kitchen tent and the moon was just coming up...

Again in the evening, listening to the soft sound of the horses' bells, all ligned up, in front of my tent, this time tied up to be sure they would not leave for some greener area during the night...

The morning when the horses had left... To be found a few hours later. Good thing it was our day off.

The night when our newly adopted little friends "Rice" and "Pudding", the dogs, barked, and barked... I finally decided to get up and try to shut them up... To finally realize there was a herd of yaks all over the campsite, and the dogs were trying to herd them away!

The day of the Parang La, our highest pass at nearly 5600m, when we got up at 4 am, walked up to a beautiful glacier, the sun coming up as we reached it, and the view from up there, down the next huge valley... And the amazing canyon that followed.

And so many more...

Finally we reached civilization about 3 days ago. The next day we reached a small indian town, Kaza, and I fell in love again with India (it's becoming a serious love story!). The shops, the smiles, the colors, the smells, etc... And the food! And the cows, and the cobras and the riskshaw drivers, and the "good price for you Madam". India.

But after that we had to drive from there to Manali. Over 2 more passes, up and down the mountains and we reached the area where the monsoon is happening. Oh my God! I litterally had to close my eyes for a couple hours, I just couldn't handle the stress anymore! Too scary! When I opened my eyes again, it was all foggy, and I could see horses and people dresses in fur coats or one-piece snow suits... I wasn't sure if I was awake or dreaming... But it was real, it was many Indians who came to see...SNOW!!!!! Such a long crazy drive to see snow! There are many shops around here where you can rent a snow suit to go up the pass and see snow. Did I mention it was about 20 degrees up there? But it sure looks better with a pink snow suit... Oh well.

After 9 hours of this torture, we reached Manali and our very luxurious hotel. We were all somewhat embarassed in our dirty trekking clothes, but nothing a shower couldn't fix. And another great meal and a good night sleep. Today is our rest day. In Manali.

We are visiting Manali now, looks like everybody is also under the charms of India. Tomorrow we will drive to Delhi, an even longer day but hopefully a bit less scary.

So all is well, guiding as been good so far, very nice group of people and a very professional local team.

Only a few more days with this group, then I will have to leave India, but I will be back soon!

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