Back from Trek!
3 young women met near Uritse
We just got back today from our 8-day trek in the Himalayas on a trail south-east of Leh. We walked with our guide, 14 horses, a cook, his two assistants, two horsemen and a partridge in a pear tree. There were lots of other trekkers out there to keep us company and Ladakhis happy to greet us with a friendly "Julley!" (Translating to "hello," "goodbye," "thank you," or general good wishes.) Most days we walked about 6 hours over all different kinds of terrain... mostly on rocky paths along the Markha river. Along the way, aside from amazing mountain views, we saw monasteries perched on cliffs, stupas (Buddhist shrines), prayer walls (walls made up of stones individually carved with prayers commissioned by faithful Ladakhis),
prayer flags (as the wind blows the prayers are sent to the heavens), tea houses made from parachutes, blue sheep, goats, marmots, yaks and Himalayan roses. Our highest climb was to a pass at 17,000 feet. It was mostly quite warm during the days and chilly at night... one morning we woke up to a light coating of snow on our tents. The food was amazing. Our cook, Marco, worked wonders on his two gas-powered stoves and served us delicious multi-course meals every evening.
Despite some blisters and upset stomachs along the way everyone did a great job rising to the challenges of our long and strenuous trek. We all have some incredible pictures and memories to share with you when we return!
*Some student reflections on what they learned on the trek:
Travis - To be patient (like when we had to walk over 9 hours), and that eventually you will get what you want (getting to camp!).
Rebecca - To stop paying attention to time and to be OK with just walking. I also realized I really like to be clean!
Brian - How not to get sunburned. I also realized I'm OK with being dirty.
Perrin - I had some medical challenges but I am very proud that I was able to be patient with myself and push through.
Over the next few days students will be staying with local Ladakhi families and building composting toilets for their community. We will also have some time to visit nearby monasteries and learn more about Leh's quickly changing culture. We will be in touch and are all thinking of you back at home!