Into the Zanskar Area

We flew in to New Delhi and went up to Manali for a few days to acclimatize and do some hiking in the area. Then we took a bus about 4 hours north on the Manali-Ley road and started an 11 day trek that would take us through the Himalayan range into the Zanskar area.

On the 4th day we had to go through the first pass over the Himalyan range at about 16,800 feet and I wasn't sure if I could make it. My friend said that they had a back-up plan and that if I couldn't do it they would take me back down to the start by horse and I could go by bus to the ending point.

We started the 4th day and I was going very slow, but they put me at the front with my friend and after about 2 hours I had spent most of the time looking down trying not to trip over the rocks, my friend said, "we are here."

I looked around and several metres ahead there was an area with a lot of stones built up and several prayer flags. I felt like I had just climbed Mount Everest, for me
this was my Everest.

We stopped for a rest and I got out a prayer flag that I had picked up in Manali. My friend helped me tie it to the others. It was an incredibly emotional moment.

On my way down from the pass I hurt my foot because my boots were actually too small for me. At this point I was stumbling over rocks and every time I hit my toe against one I would be in incredible pain. They finally put me on a horse for the final descent, but I had made it, I got over the pass!

(words: Steve Dunsford, Canada; picture: Steve Wing, Florida)

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