Hiking Days – donkey boy, bachelors and the vastness

01.04.2022

slightly up

 

The next day we shouldered our smaller backpacks and set off on a 3-day trip to visit more of Rakhat’s relatives. They live in a farmhouse at the edge of the higher mountains.

 

path explaining

 

We could also have driven the track by car, but we wanted to walk. First we walked through the village. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the air was clear and off we went.

 

Let’s go!

 

Soon we had left the houses behind us and entered the vast barren landscape.

 

last housing

 

At first, the landscape looks like it is the same everywhere. But when you walk, you see many differences and encounter living creatures.

 

horses in the far

 

flock of sheep with rider

 

And then a little rider came riding up on a donkey with a dog.

 

Donkey boy with camouflaged dog on the left

 

Fortunately, the local dogs are not comparable to the Armenian herding dogs. They are very well-behaved animals that didn’t scare me. The boy rode up to us, accompanied us and had lunch with us. He has unusual grey eyes. Rakhat asked him a few questions. His parents released him from school for 2 days because they needed a shepherd. He is a vegetarian. There is an albino in his school, who is teased by the other children. Otherwise, he with the light eyes might have been the victim.

 

donkey boy on donkey

 

Lunch

 

the donkey also wanted some Lunch

 

The boy then rode off again and we trudged on up the expanse. It was about 17 km and it looked flat, but it went steadily uphill and was thus a bit of a slog.

 

vastness – ascent

 

We met other horses

 

horse view

 

And also some farms could be seen

 

farm in front of snowy mountains

 

The snowy mountains didn’t really want to come closer

 

hiking

 

And then it appeared after all, the farm! Really the last house on the slope.

 

Farmhouse

 

We went in and came to a) sit on cushions around a low table and b) be handed treats. Homemade bread, homemade blueberry compote, homemade cream. Delicious! Also a milk tea, prepared on a stove. In addition, an elderly woman beamed mischievously at us, always found something to laugh about and the atmosphere and smell and generally: almost like in Ladakh! It made me feel at home right away!

 

Snack

The 62-year-old Aiteng├╝l (or similar) lives here all year round with her husband, 2 sons and a hired shepherd. We were the first visitors for weeks. She had 7 sons, 1 died foolishly handling a shotgun, 4 have married elsewhere and only 2 are keen to stay here and run the livestock. But alas, a big problem plagues them: where are the wives and offspring? The search is on, but no young lady can be found who would like to live such a life. The younger one is the same age as Rakhat, the older one already 38. Both are quite handsome guys, friendly, hands-on and cheerful. But this bachelorhood and with it the uncertain future of the farm, that plagues her! She is slowly noticing her age and her husband has high blood pressure and is not so fit anymore either.

 

They have tons of sheep (each worth 2-400 USD), chickens, cows, horses, solar energy and a warm atmosphere. Only they didn’t like to be photographed. So out to the animals

.

 

chicken

 

part of the sheep

 

dried sheep-dung

 

The sheep dung is dried and pressed and used as fuel and as a base for the lambs, which are often a bit damp and need dryness to survive the cold nights.

 

dried sheep dung, stabled

 

Mummy sheep in the barn with fresh dry sheep dung

 

And then I couldn’t tear myself away from a freshly born lamb and the observation of the mother licking it, losing her umbilical cord and the little one then soon standing up on its wobbly little legs and looking for the milk. Mum and baby got bands of the same colour – then you don’t get them mixed up.

 

new lamb I

 

new lamb II

 

Dinner, unfortunately, was my horror with fatty mutton, where I forced myself to politely eat something and then I got a little sick. The only difficult part of this visit.