Spiti-Trek – Day 3: Army, Cold and Hot Water Bottle

16. October 2023

 

 

Unfortunately, the clear night sky did not last and in the morning everything was cloudy. After the best Alu Paranthas with homemade yoghurt for breakfast, I put on all the warm clothes I had with me and said goodbye to Tsering. A glance at maps.me made me smile. In Nepal, too, 22 hours were predicted for a 6-hour tour.

 

maps.me

 

There would be a more direct route, i.e. not 25 km. But even for those, I found the estimated time very generous. Anyway, the destination was Demul, a few metres lower in altitude. At first, I was on a dirt road, and I was amazed. I had already seen a bit of the army the day before, but it was only when I was hiking through that I realised how many sites there were here and how many soldiers were stationed. They were also busily doing this and that – and the only people I met until I reached the target village. There were no vehicles on the road either.

 

short light

 

Bybye from Komic

 

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There was a kind of mini-pass and then no more army. It went along a track for a bit and then branched off onto a path. I was a bit cold and the landscape would have been fantastic to look at, but not quite in this cloudy grey. It would actually have been the most beautiful hiking day scenically, but unfortunately only suboptimal in this weather. But at least I didn’t get lost in driving snow!

 

Stra├čenneubau?

 

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At least I found an acceptable lunch spot and was once again glad to have taken a small thermos with me. Such a warm tea is already great! Then I reached a pass at about 4,800 metres. The landscape was really magnificent, but the grey clouds made it difficult to take pictures.

 

Pass

 

Shortly after that I could glimpse the goal of the day: Demul, another 400 m altitude down.

 

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At the entrance/exit of villages, there are actually always mani walls, i.e. walls with stones on which Buddhist mantras and the like are carved. I already have lots of photos of them – but here I had to pull out the camera again because it was the first mani wall with such a great orange colour. Super beautiful!

 

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And I have never seen such a ruined house before – I wonder if there really was a pointed roof once?

 

ruined house

 

There will be pictures from Demul in the next blog post, I didn’t use the camera that day. Demul is a special village where, same as in all villages, there were many homestays, but they were managed together on a rotating basis. There were no homestay signs and thus no competition. A man led me to the one that was my turn this time – and that was the house of the coordinator Sonam. He greeted me somewhat cheekily: “It really took you seven hours? You are slow!” Yet the route is given as 6 hours’ walk and even though it was cold, I took three longer breaks, also to make phone calls. Pfft!

 

But I was lucky that I could sit in the warm room and the stove was heated almost all the time. I felt myself shivering inside and didn’t want to leave the place. Not only Sonam spoke English, but also his wife Yangchan. She had studied zoology in Shimla. They had married two years ago, an arranged marriage, which is still very common here. Yangchan is from Langza, my first trekking overnight stop. She is very interested in agriculture and plants and how to use them even better for food and natural medicine. She has broccoli growing in her greenhouse and even strawberries! There are so many different types of “spinach” here. Otherwise, she says, farming is different from what it was at her previous home, you have to go further away to the fields, the natural cycle is a little different and who does what and when. She has a lot of enthusiasm and it was a pleasure for me to see that.

 

She cooked a delicious dinner for me and then came with the nicest surprise for me: a hot water bottle! With it, I was really cosy and warm in my bed in the otherwise freezing cold room. I only had to go down the steep wooden ladder to the toilet twice and slept really well and a lot.

 

By the way: I was almost the only trekker far and wide. A German couple had spent the night in Demul 2 days ago and the day before, two Dutch girls only walked from Komic to Demul, but were picked up there by car. And that was it.

 

Would the bad weather period finally be over now?