Day 7: Trekking from Likir to Yangtang

Yangtang Travel Blog

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Camping with a view !

"(...) on the bare flank of the hill opposite there was a mani stone, the first I had ever seen, a large black stone with OM MANI PADME HUM ('Praise to the Jewel at the heart of the Lotus') vivid in dark bold stripes on its surface. (...) As I watched them in that light, the syllables of the sacred mantra of Tibet, the mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisatva of Compassion, seemed to become alive, as if the rock itself had written them (...)"

 

A Journey in Ladakh - Andrew Harvey

 

Although wake-up time wasn't until six we actually woke up at 5:15 AM.

Wake-up call with tea and warm water.
One day there would be a morning I would wake up in Ladakh without a headache and the feeling like a train had run over me. This wasn't that day ...

 

The service provided by the crew was excellent. Not only had they set-up our tents and provided constant drinks and food, they also brought cups of tea and tubs of warm water for washing to every tent in the morning. At seven o' clock they served us banana porridge, toast and eggs. A good breakfast for today's hefty trek, which started shortly after 8:00 AM.

 

We left Likir (3500 m), crossed the Likir Tokpo stream after a steep descent and slowly started to ascent to today's first pass, the Pobe-La. Before long Likir's green barley fields changed into a barren moonscape. We passed small white chörtens and after an hour we arrived at a mani wall, a wall made of stacked stones, among which several beautifully made mani stones.

Breakfast at Likir.
A little further along the way we spotted a herd of running deer-like animals.

 

At 9:20 we arrived at the Pobe-La (3550 meter), where Dadul and Jimmy tied up the prayer flags he had asked the monk of Likir monastery to bless yesterday. He also had us shout out 'Larga-Lo !' (the truth shall prevail) three times, after preceding this with his own ‘Kiki Soso!’. Near the Pobe-La I build a little tower of stones I had promised Saskia to make for her family.

 

We started our steep descent, 150 meters downhill into the gorge beyond Pobe-La. The enormous contrasts in the landscape are indescribable. One minute you're in a green field, the next one you're in a desolate wasteland and then you're walking through gorges of multicoloured rock, trying to conquer another mountain pass. At 11:00 AM we arrived in another green valley between the mountains.

Leaving Likir.
This place, Sumdo (3470 meter) was inhabited by just one family and owed its green fertility to the Saspol Tokpo stream that runs through it. A perfect spot for a half hour of rest and some snacks in the shade of the trees.

 

Next up was the toughest part of the day. We entered another gorge for a 300 meter ascent to the Charatse-La pass. Taking tiny little steps and having two small breaks to catch our breaths we reached the Charatse-La (3710 meter) an hour later at 12:30 PM. Jimmy and Dadul had both brought a long stick and while we had lunch they constructed two poles between which the prayer flags that Kirsten had brought could be tightened. A lovely sight and the pass was immediately renamed Sawadee-La (after the travel agency we had booked our trip with).

 

We could already spot the next green valley from the road: Yangtang, our destination for today.

Leaving Likir.
A 35 minute walk along the motorway brought us to our camping site, arriving at 13:40. The crew were already waiting for us with tea and cookies. Judith and I installed ourselves in one of the tents and had some time to relax, take a nap and work on our journals and diary.

 

After the four o' clock tea and snacks (fried potato chips) Dadul took us to the village of Yangtang. This was a place where time has stood still. People were living the simple lives of farmers with the women at home in the village and the man at work in the fields. The women we met in the village were enormously kind and more than willing to have a chat and their picture taken, as long as we would send them copies. An old woman opened the small local gompa for us which had a wonderful statue of Avalokiteshvara as main object of worship.

Mani stones.

On the way back to the camping site we had to cross a stream that was too wide to step across. An attempt by one of the team members resulted in a partial collapse of the adjacent wall of stacked stones, meant to keep the cattle moving into the right direction. Fortunately this could be fixed easily.

 

After another hour of relaxing and reading, dinner was served. The crew had again done their best with soup, pasta and chowmein. After dinner some of us stayed a bit longer for a chat, but shortly after nine everybody wandered to their tents. I stopped in the middle of the camping site where the tents were placed in a circle, turned off my flashlight and looked up. Amazed I spent several minutes looking at the night sky that was filled with bright stars and even showed the Milky Way. I handn’t even seen the stars this clearly in the Egyptian desert! A wonderful end to another day with experiences to be cherished. 

 

Everything is dark by ten.

Mani wall beyond Likir.
Leh is given over to the night, vast, cloudless, soaked in moonlight and starlight, the Milky Way lustrous in this high mountain air, each cluster of stars, each swirling nebula, precise and dazzling ...

 

A Journey in Ladakh - Andrew Harvey

Devika1985 says:
"Everything is dark by ten. Leh is given over to the night, vast, cloudless, soaked in moonlight and starlight, the Milky Way lustrous in this high mountain air, each cluster of stars, each swirling nebula, precise and dazzling ..."

zooow mooi..
Posted on: Aug 16, 2008
Devika1985 says:
wat een ervaringen weer... zoooo cool :D
Posted on: Aug 16, 2008
Devika1985 says:
"One day there would be a morning I would wake up in Ladakh without a headache and the feeling like a train had run over me. This wasn't that day ..."

wahahahaha :D
Posted on: Aug 16, 2008
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Camping with a view !
Camping with a view !
Wake-up call with tea and warm wat…
Wake-up call with tea and warm wa…
Breakfast at Likir.
Breakfast at Likir.
Leaving Likir.
Leaving Likir.
Leaving Likir.
Leaving Likir.
Mani stones.
Mani stones.
Mani wall beyond Likir.
Mani wall beyond Likir.
Desert beyond Likir.
Desert beyond Likir.
Desert beyond Likir.
Desert beyond Likir.
Daduls blessed prayer flags at Po…
Dadul's blessed prayer flags at P…
The gorge beyond Pobe-La.
The gorge beyond Pobe-La.
The gorge beyond Pobe-La.
The gorge beyond Pobe-La.
Nearing Sumdo.
Nearing Sumdo.
Nearing Sumdo.
Nearing Sumdo.
A short break at Sumdo.
A short break at Sumdo.
Less fortunate travelers ...
Less fortunate travelers ...
Climbing the Charatse-La.
Climbing the Charatse-La.
Climbing the Charatse-La.
Climbing the Charatse-La.
Charatse-La becomes Sawadee-La.
Charatse-La becomes Sawadee-La.
Getting closer to Yangtang.
Getting closer to Yangtang.
Surroundings of Yangtang.
Surroundings of Yangtang.
Camp site at Yangtang.
Camp site at Yangtang.
Ladakhi woman at Yangtang.
Ladakhi woman at Yangtang.
Ladakhi woman at Yangtang.
Ladakhi woman at Yangtang.
Yangtang.
Yangtang.
Inhabitants of Yangtang.
Inhabitants of Yangtang.
Judith and woman from Yangtang.
Judith and woman from Yangtang.
Yangtang Gompa.
Yangtang Gompa.
Inside the small Yangtang Gompa.
Inside the small Yangtang Gompa.
Prayer wheels ... sponsored by ...
Prayer wheels ... sponsored by ...
Life at Yangtang.
Life at Yangtang.
Surroundings of Yangtang.
Surroundings of Yangtang.
Damage control ...
Damage control ...
The trekking crew.
The trekking crew.
Todays toilets.
Today's toilets.
Yangtang
photo by: edsander