Posts tagged ‘Leh’

April 10, 2009

The big trip 04/05 – India part 2

by backpackingbongos

My travel tales continue………………….

Ladakh – 27th September 2004

Hello everyone once again from Dehli!

We flew to Leh in Ladakh what now seems like years ago. An amazing flight over the Himalayas, a little cloudy but stunning views of snow capped peaks and glaciers.

We stepped off of the plane into cristal clear air and the most amazing deep blue sky. The airport in Leh was a breeze and emerged to the most relaxed place yet in India. No touts etc waiting for us at the airport!

We felt very strange on the first day due to the altitude which was at 3500 metres. Very spaced out and sleeping was a bit scary – felt like we were going to suffocate. But after 3 days we were up and running (slowly). Always felt like walking in treacle.

Leh town is set in the most amazing mountain scenery with huge rocky peaks and a Gompa and fort perched over the market place. Things were winding down as we arrived. Nice and warm in the sun which was so strong that we still burnt with factor 30 – we now feel like prunes!

Some one managed to get their way and a four day trek was booked at the end of the first week. Spitok to Stok via the Stok La pass which stands at 4820 Metres (about 15,800 feet in old money). $30US each got us a guide/cook, 3 ponies and a ponyman plus all food and transport. Our guide was a local Tibetan man called Tashi whilst ponyman (only ever known as ponyman) was a Tibetan chap in his sixties with a face that could sell post cards.

Because it is India and the power could fail at any moment – will sent part two!

Ladakh Pt2 – 27th September 2004
This email and pictures have already been posted here.
Ladakh Pt3 – 28th September 2004
Hello again!

We got back from our Trek in the mountains and then spent a week getting cabin fever whilst James decided to spend a long time in bed ill. This meant that unfortunately we missed the opportunity for lunch at Tashi’s house in the Tibetan settlement. We saw him most days though whilst he waited for work at the local cafe – he then went and got sick (horse poo water?). He was a very happy man when we donated our sleeping bags when we left.

Leh towards the end of our trip began to get very very quiet. The temperature began to fall and the leaves turned yellow. We did manage a weekend away in Alchi (on the Srinigar road). A very scary road trip through the mountains on the bus with huge drops to the river below. Stayed in isolation due to all tourists having buggered off home. Lovely monastary built in 1020 AD – very old Thankas and Mandalas and Monk.

Prior to our trek we went for a day trip to Thikse gompa perched impressively on a hill side (like a little Potala). Slogged up the hill only to find that we had picked the day in the year that it is closed! Monks gone on a picnic! Ho hum.

Old flaky skin and James decided that Ladakh began to become ‘Same same but different’ and left a few days early to come back to smelly Dehli. We popped to the zoo today to buy train tickets for our next 3 journeys. Off to Agra tomorrow to see the Taj. Today went to Pizza Hut for a treat and shopped for pants (you need something to soak up the moisture). It’s only James who needs new pants! (Corrinas penny).

Our plan is to travel slowly to Mumbai in the next few weeks via Agra, Gwallior, Orcha, Khajuraho, Sanchi, Bhopal, Pachmari then either Mandu or Ajanta. Then Mumbai and then BEACHES!!!!! Yes BEACHES!!!!! till BORED!!!!!! yes.

Anyway packing to do, 6.00am posh train tomorrow from the zoo.

Photos hopefully in next email.

Let us know whats going on in UK and stuff.

Dont complain that its too hot cos thats our job.


January 23, 2009

Trekking in Ladakh – Spitok to Stok via the Stok La pass (Sept 2004)

by backpackingbongos

Below is an extract from an email I sent home after doing the Stok La trek in Ladakh India, photos at the end:

Some one managed to get their way and a four day trek was booked after being in Leh for a week.  Spitok to Stok via the Stok La pass which stands at 4900 metres (about 16,000 feet in old money).  $30US each got us a guide/cook, 3 ponies and a ponyman plus all food and transport.  Our guide was a local Tibetan man called Tashi whilst ponyman (only ever known as ponyman) was a Tibetan chap in his sixties with a face that could sell post cards.

The first day of our trek followed the Indus river down stream through a stunning rocky gorge.  The river was a deep shade of green far far below us.  We eventually came to the camp site which was shared with several other trekking groups.  We had our own tent plus a kitchen tent was set up.  We were surrounded by about 20 ponies with their bells clonking away – lovely sound with the river roaring in the background.  Shame that the ponies were also standing and crapping in the stream which was also our drinking water!

The next day was up up up!  Following the river through a narrowing gorge we came to Rumbuk village which is meant to be the best place in the world to spot snow leopard. No such luck but we did see very rare blue sheep (half sheep half goat).  By now it was like being in a national geographic film, the village was like entering a time warp.  The crops were being harvested by hand and by Yak.  We trudged on up to the Stok La base camp at 4200 metres to spend the night.  Tents put up in a boulder field with Stok Kangri Mountain rearing up at 6000 metres plus, all covered in snow.  A very cold and tough night was spent at high altitude – going for a poo was like running a marathon!  Our guide cooked us Tibetan Tukpha and made us Ginger tea and then in bed by 8.00pm.  Had that strange sufforcating feeling again along with very odd dreams.  Both nervous for the next day.

Woken up at 6.00 am with tea in bed – nice but not at 6.00am!  Then very very slowly up.  Counting to four then stop – repeat.  Both very breathless but no AMS so guide happy that we continued.  Views getting bigger and bigger.  A couple of hundred metres from the top of the pass the path vanished into loose scree and then the ponies caught up.  A nervous few minutes whilst they tried to scrabble up, one nearly fell. We both felt responsible for putting them though that ordeal.  Then at the top at 4900 metres (16,000 feet!).  Surrounded by prayer flags and stunning views – both very very knackered.  Horses also looking knackered (this made us feel miserable).  Ponyman at 61 looked fresh as a daisy!

Then down down down for a day and a half.  Through another gorge with huge rock spires and another campsite all to ourselves.  Our guide manged to cook a six dish curry on one stove!  All along we declined the salt butter tea!  Toilet in the night involved finding the best spot and squatting.  A scary moment when a pair of eyes get picked up in the torch beam (there are dangerous animals out there!).

The last day was easy down hill to a jeep and back to Leh.

Corrina crossing the Indus at the start of the Trek


High altitude desert


The Indus again, this time deep in a gorge


First nights camp with the ponies


The mountains are opening up


Rumbuk village


High camp at 4200 metres


Cairn just outside camp


Breaking camp with Stok Kangri 6,123 metres behind


At the top of Stok La at 4,900 metres (about 16,000 ft).  Wow!



It was a long long descent!


Our final nights camp