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  • Writer's pictureVoita

High on altitude

I say my goodbyes to this place which has changed my perception of altitude forever.

In Ladakh in general, and here in little Tibet especially, our numbers simply don't work. Mont Blanc, with its 15.771 feet, would resemble a forgotten pile of building material left by some farmer's hut; the farmer, stood on solid ground, would probably be taller.

lake, pass

back by the road

Nepal's mountains are taller, donned in sheets of snow and ice, snuck together in several clusters and their ascend is an undertaking.

Ladakh, in stark contrast, is dry and vast and you stroll up into altitude, as it were, to walk your dog, lungs permitting.

It's all about attitude and personal preference. Given the ruthless, 110% money driven approach to tourism in Nepal, Ladakh in my books wins by leagues. To the point that Nepalese peaks have lost all their appeal to me.

maps for a better idea

Descending back to the car takes two hours of focused labour, but along with the wind, there is sun in my face and with every step I draw more oxygen, so the walk is easy.

Without trekking poles I have to go slow, lest my knees refuse to bend no more. Even then, I make it back within fifteen minutes from my friends and without much idling we take off.

Thukje resort views

Tso Kar

About thirty minutes of driving brings us to the very heart of little Tibet, the More Plains and the Tso lake. It's ginormous and mostly dry, displaying heaps of salt like mounds of an army of moles going ham on the flatland nested in over 15.000 feet. It's rather windy.

We're spending the night in a small village Thukje on the lake's side, looking for a protection from the wind below its giant, unwavering neighbours.

As soon as we agree on a room, I snuff out, like a cut down tree. Simply laying on the bed seems like a hard enough work and staying awake until dinner is the best I can do.

We talk, but words wash over me like waves of tiredness which has finally claimed my body.

Taglang La

viewpoint above the Pass

The next day, Monday, we make our way across the Plains onto the Leh - Manali highway, which I won't have time to take back to civilization, as I had hoped. Dreams are for losers, anyway.

We make one final stop by the Taglang La and go for a casual stroll to 15.888 feet. Altitude are meaningless numbers attached to breathtaking views and the view point above the Pass offers some of the best in the area. I can't take my eyes away, but eventually we vacate even the last of vistas of my four weeks in Ladakh.

Windy Ridge

more amazing DSLR photos up on Flickr!

2 sides of the road

north towards Leh

south towards Manali

Raybo's occupants have changed once again; it'll remain full for three more weeks, until it will close for winter mid-October along with the rest of Leh. Where the people have changed three or four times since my arrival, the stories have not: Nubra, Pangong, Markha valley for trekking. The curse of tourism turning any place into a theatrical performance being played out over and over, without any regard for the actors populating it.

switchbacks down into the valley

viewpoint in centre, highway below, pass to its right

My flight to Delhi is on the following day, Tuesday, but that's a tomorrow's story.


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