Sunday, March 21, 2010

**KASHMIR** The Himalayas - Part 1

My first trip in the Himalayas.
Pahalgam: The Arrival
We first arrive in the early evening, and the weather is nice, so we decide to go for an evening stroll in the mountains. It's Winter time, and you can still see Earth! To my surprise, there is no snow.

Pahalgam: Day 1 - First full day

Then, to my surprise, I wake up in the early morning the next day only to find the ground already covered with over a foot of snow! I came here to hike, but this snow did not deter me from wandering around in the mountains. In the afternoon, Manzoor and I tried to "wait" out the snow. Ha! It just kept coming down. I said, "Manzoor, let's go!" And we went. At this point, there was more than two feet in some places. I was prepared, as much as I could have been at least. After two or three hours up, we made it - don't know where we made it, but we made it!Pahalgam: Day 2
Ha, blue sky - it's simlpy beautiful. Mother Nature has done it again, and she will continue to do it. Again, I came to hike, but what I didn't expect were the subtle unexpectancies. We hiked 7 km on some random road, some in snow, but some parts were cleared by the people living in the village. We were pretty tired, so Manzoor began speaking with one of the gentlemen clearing the snow. He kindly offered us some chai at his house. We accepted. Their house was a small hut, and this is what we saw. Two women and their children, although just one family lives here. They were making chai and chapati bread for their husbands and family working outside in the snow. This is their kitchen and their house isn't much bigger. Their entire house is made of clay, including their oven, which they use not only to make their food, but also for warmth. So, what was to be a simple stroll to enjoy the beauty of nature, came to be a new found awareness: The People.

And, of course, The Monkeys - What a life!

Robyn, I see you - you're on the rock on the top left, stay warm.