Sunday, 23 July 2017
Sounds of a Ladakhi Trek
(A Little Bit Up)
No sound is more constant than the racing, bracing, gushing, tumbling rivers by every campsite, full to a rare level creating many crossings with frequent boot changes, wet socks, stumbling feet but with many helping hands to cross.
Mule bells both tinkling and deeply ringing, often accompanied by donkey braying both close and distant – day and night, comforting and sleep disturbing especially when right next to your tent! The mules must eat all night- I don’t know when they sleep!
Huffing and puffing, deep breathing and sighing accompany the uphill climbs with a longing glance towards the unseen top.
Dishes bashing as they are scrupulously cleaned after every meal.
Early morning calls for tea are welcome and a reminder to get your butt into gear for the day ahead.
Zips on tents and sleeping bags slide back and forth, more frequently in the evenings and early mornings.
“How high are we?”, “How much further?”, “What’s the trail like tomorrow?”, “Are there river crossings?”, “How many?”, “Are we nearly at camp?”, “Will it be hot?”, “Will the rain stop?”, “Is there any chocolate left?”, “What number tent is that?”, “Jullay, Jullay”, “Chullay, Chullay”.
Less welcome is the sound of rain and wind as they dampen many belongings and bring a chill to the day.
Joyful laughter and groaning emanating from the Eating Tent as card games proceed.
But – one of the most comforting sounds is the chuffer, or kerosene burner, as it bursts to life in the mornings with the knowledge that hot drinks and food are soon to follow, after lunch has been made for the day.