Spiti-Trek – Day 5: Landscape, Walking and Apple-Experts

18. October 2023


My last trekking day started again with wonderful blue skies. It’s a real pity that I didn’t have that luck all the days. But no matter. I started right after breakfast and couldn’t resist to take more photos of Lhalung and fields. There were not many people on the road. On the top picture you can see two roads, the lower one I had come the day before, the upper one I continued on that day.
















I had often mused about simultaneity while travelling – and this time was no exception. I didn’t meet anyone for the next 2 hours or so, nor did any cars drive on this road. It went along the whole time at the top with no inclines and I couldn’t get enough of the many mountain variations of the views. At the same time, I was listening to podcasts about Israel/Palestine – and that got to me quite a bit. A kind of despair that the world can be so beautiful and so miserable at the same time. In between, I sometimes put on music and pranced around while walking. It was all strange. And of course I took pictures. On 11 to 13 you can see a few white houses at the top – that’s Demul, where I started from the day before.
























And then I turned around the corner and looked into the main valley. This is also the turnoff to Pin Valley – an area I was saving for my next visit. Somehow the stretch of road here didn’t look so attractive and I was starting to get a bit long in the tooth. But it was crazy: right there a car came, stopped and offered to give me a lift. There was a couple in it who wanted to go to Dhankar, my intermediate destination. The woman had recognised me: I had been at her cafĂ© a few days ago. But it wasn’t that difficult to recognise someone like me – there were hardly any western tourists in Spiti. Anyway, I was glad for the car ride.




Here I am already in Dhankar and have a good view back – on the left the turnoff to Pin Valley.










Dhankar was the former capital of Spiti. A fort is said to have stood prominently on the sandstone, but nothing is left of it. But there is a good view from there. A little further down is the old monastery in the middle of the sandstone. You walk steeply down through the houses. I met an old man with slippers who opened two separate temple rooms for me. In the first one I took a photo, in the second one he switched on mantra chanting on his mobile phone and we squatted around for a while. Then I went to the larger monastery, where I was not allowed to take photos inside under any circumstances.


maybe place of old fort


alley down


1. Templeroom


prayer flags


old monastery


dead animal in monastery courtyard


And then I might have made a mistake. There are 2 roads down, one asphalted, the other not, but closer to Kaza. I went to the asphalted one and thought that I might find a vehicle to hitch a ride. But nothing there. I only met one car, an almost empty taxi, and the person inside didn’t want to take me. But I did take a few pictures of monastery and village views:










And then I was nearly down on the main road.


nearly down


This made my feet burn again because it was quite long and a bit boring. The road made huge curves and shortcuts were hardly possible. Already from above I saw that there was very little traffic. Very very little. A bit limp I squatted down on the dust road. 1 full taxi drove past. 1 car full of animals as well. A few vehicles came towards me. Time passed. Then another full car came, but it stopped. I waved it off, but the passengers waved me in. They said they could squeeze in together. There were five men exploring for apples. Due to climate change, it has become warmer in Spiti and apple trees bear good fruit in the valley. The men were investigating how to improve all this in an organic way. They came from 5 different states in India. The one from Rajasthan seemed very frozen. The one from Madhya Pradesh seemed very patriotic. The one at the wheel (state forgotten) wanted a selfie with me. They were very nice and gave me tea. And gave me lots of apples. And drove me very comfortably to Kaza.


I again enjoyed a warmer room thanks to the special construction with the Trombe Wall and thanks to solar I also had a warm shower. Despite the presence of roads, I find the trek a very good thing for a village tour of Spiti. The walking times are not that long, but because of the altitude you are quite challenged. And you can still walk around in the villages. You can do it alone with smaller luggage (orientation without problems) – or of course take a guide with you to translate etc. and if desired, larger luggage can also be transported.