8/15/2010 to 8/16/2010 | India , Ladakh

Zingchen to Stok

One of the reasons Tam and especially Kip had come to Ladakh was to do some trekking in the high mountains.  The rains that brought such havoc on Leh had also washed away many trails and had swollen rivers to the point that they were impassable, not to mention the logistical nightmare of getting two and from starting and endpoints of many treks, with roads still blocked by landslides and bridges washed away.  Our trekking possibilities were quite limited.  If fact I determined our only real option was the short two day trek form Zingchen to Stok via the Stok la.  I had trekked the Stok la before from the other direction, though I had never trekked the portion form Zingchen to Rumbak, as previously I had trekked into the Markha Valley from Rumbak.  Rumbak was a nice place to stay and would give Tam and Kip a taste of Ladakhi village life, and the Stok la while far from the nicest pass in Ladakh has some decent views across the Indus valley.  Joining us on the short trek was my friend Sunny, a Taiwanese girl I had first met on the way to Yushu in Tibet in 2007, and then again this past year in Hyderabad where she was studying for a semester.  During the flash floods she had been in Zanskar, in her quest to visit nearly every Tibetan monastery on the planet at least that what it seemed like at times.  Though her formal studies are in business she has a keen interest in Tibetan Buddhism though from cultural perspective more so than a religious one.  She had recently hitched and walked her way back to Leh from Zanskar, after the floods, between the several washed out bridges along the way.

We took a taxi as close to Zingchen as landslides would allow cutting out the long boring walk from Spituk to Zingchen.  The river that the trail to Rumbak follows and crosses several times was quite high, which made for some “adventurous” river crossings but otherwise the area had been spared the brunt of the recent storm.  The North facing slopes of the Indus valley faired better than the south facing ones.  After the first day of river crossings, the rest of the hike was relatively uneventful.  We enjoyed decent if not great weather,  and I had the benefit of seeing the top of the Stok La without suffering from a gastrointestinal bug, which I had last time I hiked the pass with my sister and brother-in-law.  The lack of said bug allowed me to hike further up the ridge for a more expansive view of the Indus valley, recommended for those readers who may be contemplating doing this short two day trek.

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