back from trek
Yesterday we finished our 9 day trek in the Markha Valley. We celebrated by eating chocolate cake, gulab jamin, samosas and peanut cookies – quite a nutritious meal! The trek was a wonderful experience – challenging at times, but definitely rewarding when we all made it through a snow storm and up the 17,300 ft. pass. The scenery – deep gorges, barren mountains, snow and ice covered paths, and fresh clear rivers and streams – was quite diverse and beautiful. Tracy’s knowledge of soil science and geology helped us better understand the impressive environment around us. Along the way, we experienced a few blisters, sore muscles, popped Therm-A-Rests and one near fridge dip, but we also enjoyed many great meals, valuable time to reflect, cozy nights in the tents, epic card games, and some silliness.
Most of us were psyched to take a refreshing hot shower when we got back. After we cleaned up, we met up with Galen and the Fort Lewis College: India Himalaya creative writing program. We spent the early evening watching a Ladahki cultural dance performance. It was also a great opportunity for the students (both Fort Lewis and Brahma to Buddha) to share their knowledge and experiences with each other. After a heavy sleep on beds for the first time in 9 days, we headed to a Ladakhi oracle. All agreed that it was a very interesting and unique experience. We watched as she went into trance and sucked liquid out of those who had illnesses or health concerns. A few of our students experienced her healing powers.
We will listen to our last lecture tomorrow morning. The students have requested a talk on the experience of a military officer in Ladakh, which will be presented from the perspective of a retired Ladakhi scout. We will spend the next two days in Leh visiting sites yet unseen, finishing up last minute shopping, and relaxing. Then we will head back to Delhi for our final two days of the program.