Trekking the meadows of Kashmir

Kashmir, always evocative of romance. The last time I drove through on my way to the Zanskar, I found the magic of the houseboats. This time was closer to the childhood Kashmir of cottages in Gulmarg – picnics in the meadows et al.

Dilshad said, ‘you have to come on this trek.’ There are no have to’s for me when you offer me a walk in the mountains – I would live my whole life out of a tent opening to incredible vistas every morning. That I manage to do it more often than not, is the greatest blessing.IMG_8250

The first time I ever flew into Kashmir, the airport was the beginning of the enchantment – there were fields of red poppies nodding in the jetstream of landing aircraft all along the runway. I don’t know if that still happens in summer, but there were certainly no poppies this October day. It was cold out and nice to anticipate the, brisk weather, walking. We had what was meant to be a quick car ride to our trek start point in Tangmarg – unfortunately – it was delayed by a traffic jam at road works blockaded by trucks. Just the usual fare. We started our trek from Tangmarg rather late, down to cross the river where the bridge has been swept away by the floods last year. The bridge still not fixed, but the large pipes that carry the water from the small power house were all in order. We scrambled over pipes and slippery boulders to the village of Drung. IMG_8138There IMG_8139was produce being dried in fields and on rooftops, corn and vegetables, getting set for the winter. We moved on through, being greeted by so very polite school children, all rosy cheeked and clean.
Our first stop was in a meadow surrounded by pine and fir, close to a now abandoned Gujjar hut. The family and buffaloes having moved down for the winter.

IMG_8280IMG_8142We stopped to eat our lunch. The air was crisp and clean with the smells of pine and fir. There were remnants of daisies and buttercups reminiscent of the passing of summer. Our trek continued crossing burbling brooks and through forest and meadow – we passed an ancient Hindu temple, built by the Mughals apparently, now in ruin
s and shelter for cows it seemed. It was beautiful with fall colours on the few Chinar and wild Walnut trees. Carpet of green, gold and red. I was also imagining it in summer, the riot of wild flowers and colour that we could see remnants of would be in full bloom and make for an element completely different to the one we were experiencing. It never ceases to amaze – how well nature clads herself with impeccable style, colour and taste – perfectly suited to the seasons!!

IMG_8226IMG_8227We did a two day route in one and were rather hurriedly clambering up hills and down dale to get to camp before dark, which took away some of the enjoyment of stand and stare time, which is what I savour most when on a walk like this. However our guide Wali Mohammed would saunter off way ahead of us and then lie on a rock meditating, while we scrambled to catch up. He would look pityingly and ask if we were ‘ok’ or needing a rest? We did not dare need a rest so on we would trudge – him with his easy loping stride and us with our ‘Nepali shuffle’ slowly up the mountain. IMG_8146We did make it well in time, coming up below the high Gondola wires and through a large Gujjar and ‘Ghorha wala’ settlement to descend down into a charming meadow surrounded by firs and bordering a stream.IMG_8264IMG_8149Our camp was set and waiting and the fire was lit to warm our frozen selves. A new moon appeared in the twilight blue sky and all was oh so good with the world. IMG_8148It’s that moment that one breathes a sigh for the magic and gives thanks to whatever has led you to be here now.

To wake to the sun gilding the mountains and emerge into this brightening world out of a warm cocooned tent – it is one of those special joys of the trekker along with sweetly sore muscles. IMG_8224-1We were going up and over the ridge to the Frozen Lake. Crossing the tree line and up into the barrenness of browning meadow and giant scattered boulders, is not so exciting in biting cold. Then the clouds came and blocked out the light making for more ‘Drear’! Totally joyless walking when it’s meant for pleasure is no one’s idea of fun. We diverted through an enchanting forest of Bhojpatra, bone white tree trunks with flaking, paper thin bark.IMG_8239
Myriad coloured leaves that crunched underfoot, we stopped for our picnic lunch in this wonderland. Continued traversing the ridge and climbed down to the Cable car – which zoomed us up to the ridge we would have been walking across. Short cutting totally. IMG_8259By the time we reached the top it was hailing and raining and an absolute white out. The frozen lake would have to wait for another time, when perhaps the meadows would be a burst of interesting wild flowers to make that trudge more palatable.

That night as we lay snug in our marvellous tents it rained and rained and rained. I woke to the call of nature, which went unanswered because I kept waiting for the rain to abate. It didn’t at all and I finally put on my rain jacket and emerged into a breaking dawn – the toilet pit was flooded making for a natural water closet – no details here. The dining tent had stuff piled up on the table and water channels crisscrossing the floor. We had a makeshift breakfast and decided to abandon a further trek to Ningal nalla and just clamber down into Gulmarg. It turned into another enchanting walk through the rain with the mist enshrouded trees and the streams bursting their banks.
IMG_8282I must admit I could have walked some more – it was so beautiful. Unfortunately we very shortly reached the roadhead where a car and driver awaited us – he surreally appeared out of the mist holding a placard. IMG_8283We transfered to the posh Khyber hotel – where admittedly the bathrooms and the rain showers were a very acceptable luxury as was their spa. A steam and deep tissue massage were very welcome to cramping, cold muscles.

We then wandered into a lovely old village near Tangmarg to visit an old home where carpet weaving was taught. All handicrafts are essentially winter activities in most hill areas – the short summers being used to grow a crop or do outdoor work as required. The kashmiris along with having the most spectacular scenery to dwell amidst, also seem to have the most beautiful crafts and artisan work. From their fabulous carpets to the gossammer woven, intricately embroidered shawls. Beautifully carved and crafted wood work and furntiture. Papier mache art with it’s skilled painting – they truly are a talented people. Watching those spinnners and weavers sit in that old room with the misty daylight that barely penetrated the dusty windows was a fascination.IMG_8286 Their strips of pattern strung in the threads above, their nimble fingers didn’t seem to pause and obviously they made no mistake to the intricate pattern they wove. In turn we also seemed to fascinate the whole family who came to peek at the strangers peeking at them.IMG_8293IMG_8296

Our day ended with hot chocolate at the Highland Park bar, I needed to go check out an old haunt – it was much the same and it was nice to see that though Gulmarg is unrecognizable from when I knew, all the new structures have the same old architectural style – it is still the large meadow of memory and has not been high rised and built into oblivion.

This is what I would term the perfect short trek,  – it is utterly beautiful country, comfortable walking terrain, great campsites and ends with an option of opulent luxury.

A Paean to the Himalaya

High, high up in the mountains, camped in a meadow and it rains all night. The morning is dry, but shrouded in mist, we have come so high and the sights are unseen. But, we climb to the top of the ridge notwithstanding and pay obeisance to the Devi.

Sit and wait, send up a collective prayer and the mist only thickens, so we start walking down…. a gust of wind, a peek of the peaks, up the valley comes this beautiful wind and away blows the mist. The whole panorama of the Pir Panjal in all it’s majesty displays itself, still shrouded and mysterious, but certainly letting us know where we are – in the majestic mountains.

Even the sun makes a little show and all the flowers smile all the way up the hillsides, the heart just lifts out of your body and floats into the limitlessness.

A paean to all this glory seemingly rises from the very soul in an unsung outpouring of gratitude to the powers that create!!

A Magical Land

Many years ago I walked across a pass into a magical land of coloured mountains and silver rivers, I thought I had never seen a place of such wonder, and it was true, i have never again found such a spot.

Today I have just returned once more from the same valley and though I have seen some amazing sights since that first vista, it still does not fail to amaze, awe and uplift my very being and there has never been an equal.

Spiti, a land of spearing peaks slashed with snow, sheer fortresses of rock, wearing skirts of scree in swathes of colour..(I once filled a pot with bronze dust that I used as a cosmetic glow maker!)

Waterfalls cascading down sheer rock faces, prayer flags fluttering from ancient monasteries. Mud homes, emerald meadows dotted with ridiculously bright flowers. It is a land indescribable in it’s sheer grandeur. That the head spins with the height and un – oxygenated air is but a small discomfort, it is spinning in so many other ways too.
These mountains make the soul soar, the heart sing and the spirit revive. Trying to chart the track, draw a road book and generally answer a heap of sometimes irritating questions in no way took away from the fact that I was back in this sublime part of the world again.

So often people have asked me ‘what is the best place you have visited?’ I have never had an answer because each place has it’s own magic.

However, this valley is magic. I thought so the first time I stepped across the Pin Parvati Pass and reaffirm it every time I return. So here I am reiterating once more – magic mountains – a most spectacular part of the world and I am blessed to keep returning there.

That some hordes of women will follow the route that I have charted, makes me shudder, while at the same time, knowing that they will go back changed and magicked too.

For the last month I have been trying to lead this group of myriad ladies up and down our mountains. They are used to driving automatic cars on flat roads, now these intrepid beings have got into good old Mahendra Scorpios and Boleros with stick shifts and steering wheels on the wrong side ( for them), yet they have driven the dirt tracks, taken two point turns and avoided falling down the ‘khads’ of some amazing himalayan tracks.

It has been a bit like ‘mid term trips’ back in school with the girls, music, hilarity, dancing in the streets and stories.

Nuns in ancient nunneries – that have a communal solar bath, a green house where they grow vegetables all year round, but also use as a gathering spot on cold winter afternoons, and a constant sense of naughty humour. Who would have thought it!!

Tiny little monastaries with painted frescoes fresh and bright of colours that have lasted more than 800 years. Every corner holds a surprise and a discovery.

This is a land to smell, to soak and absorb and then to do it all again. It is of subliminal enchantment!



I grew up with a family that roamed, we were constantly on the move, we sailed, hiked, camped, drove across the country on holidays. School in the foothills of the Himalayas created a love of nature and continued the outdoor experience.

When rafting first started in India (1985/86) there were a handful of young men who decided to train to be river guides, I went rafting, met them and became the sole woman to join the fledgling adventure industry. We all created the first adventure outfits in India.

Himalayan River Runners, Mercury Himalayan Explorations, Outdoor Adventures India, Snow Leopard Adventures. A few years later, Aquaterra Adventures.

Our businesses grew because we loved what we did, the sports, the environment and we were professionals. We formed the associations required to regulate all aspects: safety guidelines, environmental guidelines and we created an adventure fraternity that introduced our wilderness areas to the world.

First descents and first ascents. The first ever international white water championship, we few represented the country. Opened new areas and new rivers: Spiti, Zanskar, Kali, Tons, Brahmaputra and the so far hidden Himalayan valleys.

It was a wonderful adventure that I have lived. At Outdoor Adventures or OAI as it was called, Ajay and I led every trip personally and that was our USP. Our camp on the banks of the Ganga was our home, I lived in a tent for months at a time, our guests became friends and returned to do almost every trip we ran.

Why did we stop? Because we did not want to dilute the product we had created, we did not enjoy, or have the continued energy or enthusiasm to lead every trip.

There was a whole other world to discover too, and it was time to do more.

I still promote all the trips that we ran in collaboration with the associates we made, they are conducted by younger, more enthusiastic people with the same level of professionalism. Occassionally, I do still accompany a trip to add my stories.

I think Ajay is finally doing something with the wonderful photographs he takes.


A wandering urge and a keen sense of adventure involved her in the  outdoors since the early age of 7. Sailing, snorkelling and diving  along the coast of India, the Andaman and Lakshwadeep Islands. Studying at The Welham Girls School, Dehra Dun, with  nature loving teachers led to camping, trekking, bird watching and   an interest in natural habitats and wild life. She has trekked  extensively over the high Himalayas gathering experience and    knowledge that extends to almost all aspects of the region-  geographical, natural and cultural. Pavane has been  associated with rafting since its conception in India and has run almost all Indian and some overseas rivers.

A natural outdoorsman, he has been trekking and camping since he was 8. Educated at the Lawrence School, Sanawar. Ajay represented India as a member of the first Indian White Water Rafting team that took part in the World Cup Rafting Competition in Switzerland (1987). He ranks among the top few professional rafting people in our country. Those responsible for exploratory first descents, opening new rivers to the sport – Spiti, Upper Teesta, Brahmaputra. Instructing, training and setting out guidelines that make white water rafting in India comparable to the best in the world. He also skied,  did mountaineering expeditions and numerous treks.

SPITI: of magic mountains.

Rudyard Kiplings’ description of Spiti in his book ‘Kim’ is as magical as the place itself,

“ At last they entered a world within a world. A valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble and refuse from the knees of the mountains. Surely the Gods live here.”

Isolated in it’s remote fastness of trans Himalayan mountains, the Spiti valley is a forgotten wonderland of cold mountain desert. Sheer cliffs weathered by  wind and erosion into the most fantastic pinnacles and battlements,  abut on the silvery snake of the Spiti river which meanders in the upper reaches across a wide valley and constricts to a torrent lower down. Amazingly preserved Buddhist monastries are precariously perched on pillars of rock and sand, or nestled into sheer cliffs. They have been completely untouched by the outside world till just a few years ago and still preserve some of the oldest artifacts and forms of Buddhism.  Amongst all this vastness of space and mud mountains suddenly the mind is bewitched with  an oasis of green around a tiny village. The people, not being used to outsiders are rather shy, but warmly hospitable. They live an incredibly harsh life. They have one growing season and that crop of ‘Satu’, peas, potatoes has to last them the whole year. The mainstay of their lives are the yaks – these multipurpose animals are the beasts of burden, transport, meat supply, milk providers and their skins are used for clothing and blankets. They are extremely ornery animals and riding them is an adventure all it’s own. For one,  sitting astride a yak is a little like doing a gymnastic split. They don’t take kindly to manouvering either, their minds are quite firm on what direction they will take and you just ride along willy nilly hanging on for dear life.

The first time I visited Spiti, we trekked across the Pin – Parvati pass from the Kullu valley. I do not suggest that this is the best way to get there, however it is the grandest of all treks and descending into the Pin valley is an experience, awesomely sublime!

*The year was 1991 and the end of June when my intrepid aunt Prem, her daughter – my cousin Pia and I decided we were going to attempt the Pin-Parvati trek.

End June is still rather early for high altitude treks as was brought home to us by the many well wishers in Manali who tried to dissuade us.

‘It’s a very high pass, there will be a lot of snow.’

‘You could loose your way, it’s a three way pass.’

‘Chances of avalanches and cravasses is highest now.’

None of this deterred us, what almost turned us back was the tedium of dealing with the ‘babbudom’  involved in getting permits to go into Spiti.

Those days even Indians needed to get a special permit, Spiti forms a part of our border with Tibet/China.

It took us two days of persuasion and dissuasion, ‘All women alone!?’

We finally got the permits. Also a local guide, who knew how to get to the pass, but not beyond.

Gear was sorted, supplies packed and we finally set off.

The first leg of the trip is up the Parvati river valley. She is a young, beautiful, powerful river descending through a steep sided, deep valley. The motor road only went a little way up the valley to the little town of Manikaran.

(Now it goes all the way to Pulga.)

The track left the river and wound up through thick oak and rhododendron forest, a long day’s hike brought us to Pulga, the last village in the valley.

Those moments after you set up camp, sit with a hot cup of tea and just soak in the amazing vistas are indescribable. The terraced village fields, bursts of fiery red rhodendron flowers amidst the green depth of the forest. Shimmering waterfalls from the melting heights and those soaring mountains all around. I have only ever found one word for it – magic!!

The next few days we climbed higher, camping one night in a meadow by a hot spring. Lying in that pool of boiling water, surrounded by the singing of the wind in the cedars and watching the colours of the sunset on the snows and the clouds.

This would be my description of ultimate, sublime luxury.


There is a definite energy in that valley.  Parvati is the Mother Goddess, the daughter of the Himalayas and the source of power. She watched over us.

The monsoon was building up and we were worried that it would catch us before we got to the pass and climbed into the rain shadow. But those thunderheads stayed behind us all the way, shadowing the valley behind while we continued in sun shine and fair weather.

(I’ve walked in the UK and have a great respect for those intrepid people who hike up and down those moors and the highlands of Scotland not knowing when a sunny day will turn into a week long downpour.)

For myself, I intensely dislike looking down at my feet while water drips off my hat and the vistas are left to one’s imagination. Wet tents and sleeping bags are not to be borne!!!

Two uncanny incidents occurred during our walk up to the source of the Parvati, the Mantalai lake.

Three days into our trek, we had left all sign of human habitation and were above the tree line. We camped in a meadow that was like a Japanese garden. Artistically placed rocks, stunted juniper bushes and scatterings off buttercups and blue Himalayan poppies. Through it all burbled an enchanting little stream.

Into our little camp came a saffron clad ‘pundit’ and his boy ‘chela’.

Now for all the sunshine, once the sun went down, the temperatures dropped drastically. We were above 4000 m, there was a wind chill factor. We were huddled in down jackets around our little camp stove. (No wood here to make a fire.) Then in walked these two barely clad people carrying nothing more than a cloth bundle.

Obviously we asked them to share our meal.

In conversation we learnt that they too were heading to the Mantalai lake. They were traveling from South India to perform a special ceremony at the lake.  It was then we discovered that the lake was one of the centres of great Tantric energy .

The mysticism of Tantra is so little understood. All that a lay person knows about is the amazing power and obviously, as all power, it may be wielded for both good and the opposite.

Most stories recounted are scary, of black magic and sacrifice. Thankfully we never have had the likes of the Inquisition, else more than half our priests would have been burnt at the stake!

However, this strange meeting was spooky. The ‘pundit’ looked and spoke like a kind learned man. But uncanny was the response we got when we asked how he was planning to travel the rest of the distance with no food or supplies. So far it was imaginable, there had been villages and people who would have sheltered and fed them.

‘What would you have done tonight if you hadn’t met us?’ we asked.

He looked quizzical, ‘But you are here.’ Was all he said.


We climbed further up the valley, the river was narrow and a broiling, leaping froth over huge boulders and then the valley opened up into the debris of glacial moraine, rubble, scree, boulders, still interspersed with amazing flowers and little meadows of tough, scrubby grass.

The next two days, the priest and his companion appeared every evening when we set camp. We shared our food, they would stay and talk for a while and move away to sleep.

About their lack of cover or bedding. He said all senses were controlled by the mind.

‘There is no cold, heat or discomfort unless you feel it.’

It was an amazing person that we had the good fortune to encounter, that we were too spooked to actually enter into that experience fully is a pity.

We were spooked. As I mentioned, the hearsay about Tantrics is scary.

‘Would we be possessed, sacrificed, turned to stone?’ Actual thoughts.

So our conversations with him stayed to surface things. Not even asking what kind of ceremony or prayer he was going to perform at the lake. I don’t think he would have told us, but honestly, we were too scared to venture there.

He figured our guide had only ever been to the lake and not over the pass and he said a strange thing. ‘Your other guide will meet you there.’

I say ‘said’ because that’s what we realized later. At the time we thought it was a question.

It’s true that our guide had never been across the pass, but an old uncle of his had, and with that basic knowledge, our map and compass we were going for it.

The last night that the pundit was with us, we were camped about two days short of the lake at a spot called Pandu Pul. (The bridge of the Pandavas.)

There is a large boulder in the centre of the river here and a series of  smaller ones leading to and from it creating a bridge. So essentially you use the smaller boulders as kind of stepping stones, then do a little bouldering on the mammoth in the middle and hop,skip and jump across to the other side. A little slip would mean being churned into some frothing raging white water.

(The bridge was said to have been built by the Pandavas during their exile, so their wife could cross the river. This is part of the story of the Mahabharath and If anyone wants a little more about that, wikipedia is a good place to go.)

We thought we’d tackle it better in the morning after a rest.  It had been a short walking day. We were camped in a pretty little meadow by a Gaddis (shepherds) rock shelter.

The Gaddis are nomadic herdsmen that bring their flocks up to these pastures in the summer. It was early for them yet, but their shelter did just that, sheltered us from the incessant wind that blows in these areas from mid day to dusk.

While we were setting up camp, we heard a hail and saw a man in homespun shepherd clothes come bounding down the hill behind us. Rather surprising. There were no flocks and he seemed alone. Also he was a very large man, unusual for the area.

Well he came leaping down the hillside and there was this tall, red bearded, white man, incongruous in the pajamas and woolen coat of a shepherd.

‘Hello,’ he says,’I’m John and am I glad to have caught up with you.’

I can’t even begin to tell you how astounding this was. We just gawped.


So, in that lone spot we were becoming a crowd. Luckily he carried his own food. Our rations were certainly being stretched and we still had at least another ten days of hard travel before we possibly hit a replenishment point.

John was funny and strange. Seems he’d been traveling in the mountains for some years. He came from America every summer and wandered the Himalayas.

What he did back home we never quite found out.

But here he was, a big American in ‘Gaddi’ garb, red beard and ponytail, pyjamas, homespun wool coat and well worn mountain boots. Shy, very proper manners, had barely ever spoken with an Indian woman because he believed it was taboo. Well, in the remote places he’d been wandering he was half way right. Certainly not taboo, but definitely not done, even had the opportunity arisen.

We are a hospitable people, and within that concept of hospitality it is polite to enquire after a person, their family, what they do. It is not just rude curiosity, it is to welcome and absorb.

Unlike the Pundit, John was a curiosity we definitely needed to question.

So where, what, how, why, does this man fall off a mountain in the middle of no where, searching for us?

He heard about us at the permit office in Kullu where he’d been trying to get a permit for Spiti. Hadn’t got it, but thought he could accompany us to the pass at least.

Well that explained trying to catch up with us. Nobody would attempt that pass alone.

He just seemed to be the ultimate explorer. Travelled only in the mountains, kept a badly lettered journal.

‘Do you go back and publish your stories?’

‘No, I do not want other people to discover these pristine spots that I have seen.’

Ok, so this seemed to be self discovery and knowledge, just for himself.

Well who questions that?

What he did have was an excellent contour map of the area. Something that we did not, because the Survey of India does not issue anything but very rudimentary maps of areas on the Indian border that are called, ‘Inner Line Areas.’

Bit of an anomaly that you could get them elsewhere in the world.

However, here was our guide, or at least his map gave us a chance to find the right route across. We had been quite willing to follow the compass and a general direction. It would have got us down the other side willy nilly, whether into Spiti, the district of Kinnaur or back on this side into the next valley was any body’s guess.

The Pin Parvati is a cross roads pass, currently heavily snowed under, chances of our distinguishing land marks were rather slim.

So, that all seeing pundit already knew this? We had courage enough to ask if John was whom he had meant when he said our other guide.

Another enigmatic response. ‘It is as it is.’


The distance from Pandu Pul to the Mantalai lake is a days hard walking. No regular path or trail, it’s just a lot of boulder hopping finding the easiest route over the glacial moraine. Hard on the legs and blistering to the feet, so when we found a tiny meadow beside a mammoth rock about mid afternoon, we decided not to beat any records and give ourselves another day to get there.

There was a large cave under the monolithic rock. Obviously used as a shepherd shelter. It provided a much needed break from the ever present keening wind.

The river was broken into silver ribbons spread across the morraine, the high peaks of the range were up ahead glittering white.

The pundit had gone on so we didn’t have his company. It was a lazy sun baking afternoon sheltered behind the ‘cave rock’. We had rather necessary, freezing water, baths. Chalked out the route on that wonderful map. Re distributed the weight in our packs and generally got geared for what was going to be rather a challenge.

Our attempt to cross the Great Himalayan Range over the 5320 m high Pin Parvati Pass.

Unlike other passes in this range of mountains, which are traditional shepherd routes, the Pin Parvati is not used by shepherds. The meadows around the lake are as far as they bring their flocks.

This pass was discovered or rather first documented by Sir Louis Dane in 1884 as a possible entry from the Kullu to Spiti valleys. However it has never been a regular route for any travellers. Offering neither an easy approach or a quick crossing.

One of the reasons for the Spiti valley having remained so isolated and untouched has been it’s inaccessibility.

Ringed by high mountains to the north, east and west, the passes that do allow access are all over 5000 mt. To the south where the Spiti river flows and joins the Sutlej is the stupendous, perpendicular walled Sutlej Gorge.

We got to the lake in a hop skip and jump the next morning. It lies like a little jewel in the hollow of towering mountains. The priest was already at prayer on a little peninsula of land that pushed into the lake.

We kept the width of the lake between us and set camp on the near side, to not disturb as much as to get as far away as possible from any effects.

The snows had only cleared off little patches of spongy, damp meadow  immediately around the lake.

That small patch of water in the midst of the mountains turned every colour of the rainbow and then some more through the day. From a mirror reflecting an upside down world in the morning through, aqua, turqoise, teal and emerald into blushing pink, lilac, mauve, indigo blending into ash and sparkling silver in the moonlight.

It is not easy to describe that place or the sensations it evoked. There was a timelessness, a hush, a serenity. A sense of eternity, immensity and evanescence, all encompassed in the one.  The expanse of the soul and the mote that is you.

The great mountains, draped white in the hollows, with jagged pinnacles piercing a blinding blue sky.

The stillness of the pundit in his saffron robes across the smooth calm waters of the lake.

The burble of the tiny stream leading out of the lake, the incongruity of this trickle of water turning into the gushing, springing river we had followed up.

The trill of a lark and the call of the lammergeier as it wheeled lazily in that expanse.

Just thinking of it carries me away, I just hope I’ve managed to get it across even half way.


We scouted out our direction for the start of the climb but stayed at the lake that night. Prayed for a clear cold night so we’d have a firm walking surface the next morning.

(This is a story in continuation….. that I will get back to)