So finally the day of departure had arrived, today was the day we head off in to the mountains but before that I have to break the ice on my washing bowl as the water had began to freeze. This is not a nice way of washing, a room with no heating, no hot water and then having to break the ice before commencing washing, however it was painfully undertaken and the breakfast was good.
So before we knew it we was on the road and on route to Hemis National Park, the drive took around 2.5 hours and we had lots of White-winged Redsarts on route by the lower levels of the rivers.
And there it is, ever since watching the Land of the Tiger back in 2000 and seeing a Snow Leopard in Ladakh with Valmick Thapar leading the commentary about the ever elusive Grey Ghost of the Himalaya's I have wanted to get in to this place. Ok, it has been on the back back burner for a long time and niggling away at the back of my mind that I have to do this trip I have always left to one of on the "those to do list" well now it was time to do. The picture above does not do justice to the dramatic, powerful, harsh scenery.
We stopped at Zingchen and observed several Brown Accentors before continuing on to the end of the road just further down. There has been a lot of development within this area as they are currently undertaking the construction of a new road connecting Zingchen to Rumuk Village. This is resulting in lots of high explosions blowing through the valley and gorge as we were advised by the local we stayed with.
As the road ended and so we had to take to foot and head in to the gorge at Rumbuk, it felt like something out of The lord of the Rings, this unknown & unfamiliar environment, dark, eerily quiet and of tough terrain.
The going wasn't as bad as what I had expected but still tough all the same, Adam struggled a little with the altitude of which i was fine with but it was current injuries that were causing me concern. The gorge seemed to be never ending, just walking through this unknown gorge, packs on, not being able to see an end to the gorge, just more rock face. We stopped several times on route. At one time we whilst we were stopped small rocks began to fall from above, as we looked up there were the first Blue Sheep, moving on the cliff face above us. That was a positive sign and so we continued onwards. Then the gorge opened up and the end was finally in sight.
Once we had reached the end of the gorge the next set of mountain peaks became visible and so we had to continue towards Rumbuk.
Small trails became apparent and we knew we just had to continue, the ground was flatter and easier to walk on but we had now been going for a while and were starting to feel it.
Then just as the village came in to view, distant but still in view along came along a local with several pack-mules which could take our packs, typical right but even so we threw our packs on top with the owners permission and soon enough we were in the village of Rumbuk-we had made it. Time for a cuppa!