Nomads of Changthang
Juley Juley - We are on the third and final day in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, after an incredible week in the eastern plateau of Changthang where we tented alongside nomads, who gather on the side of Tso Kiagar (Kiagar lake) - at 15,000 ft! - once a year to honor the birthday of the Dalai Lama. Horse racing, traditional Tibetan dancing (most of the people in this remote region are refugees from Tibet), and vistas that seem endless due to the thin dry air were unlike anything in the US. And at night, when temperatures plummet, the stars emerge and the Milky Way seems close enough to touch!
We are stocking up on many good meals, as Leh is a destination for trekkers from around the world, and have visited various NGOs including those relating to environment, tourism, and women's empowerment. Tomorrow early we embark on another two-day jeep traverse down the Indus valley, making a sharp right turn and up the Suru River - one of the most spectacular watersheds imaginable, between the Zanskar and Himalaya ranges. This will bring us to the Zanskar valley, where we will be in home stays in small and remote villages, and working on an artificial glacier project, staying also in monasteries or nunneries, and trekking through rugged terrain.
Everyone is well, acclimatizing to altitude, getting along as a team, and learning so much. Thank you all for your continuing support! We will try emailing from Zanskar when possible.
Best, Charlie and James