Nine days, sixty-five km, two new blisters and a lot of Ladakhi pasta and milk tea later, I’ve completed the Marka Valley trek. It was such a great adventure, hiking through spectacular mountain scenery from tiny village to tiny village in a fairly remote part of Ladakh with no roads.
Thanks to our lovely guides, we learnt the Ladakhi for “it’s sunny” (“nima duk”), “it’s raining” (“cherpa tang duk”) and “it’s snowing” (“kha tang duk”), all of which came in handy at various points along the way.
We crossed some high mountain passes with lovely fantasy-novel names – Ganda La (4850m) and Gongmaru La (5260m). Relevant Ladakhi vocab: “I’m tired” (“nan nal ta ra”) and “This mountain is difficult!” (“Ri dulces ma kakspo duk”).
Accommodation was in more cosy homestays, with the exception of one rather chilly night in a tent at Nimaling, 4740m above sea level. I slept in three pairs of trousers, five tops, two pairs of socks, two sleeping bag liners and two blankets, and was still not all that warm . . .
I did the trek with an amazing group of women who endeared themselves to me forever by singing as we hiked (Adele, The Beatles, “I Will Survive” and The Twelve Days of Christmas) and by laughing obligingly at my trek jokes:
“A cow crossed with a yak walks into a bar. ‘How’s it going?’ asks the barman. ‘Ah, dzo-dzo,’ he replies.”