As the new year began I got more and more excited. I’ve been to Ladakh before but this time it would be different. This time I was going on a 7-day trek on top of the frozen Zanskar river. I guess it was also due to my excitement that I almost forgot how freezing cold it will be. From the point me and my friend James arrived in Leh we wouldn’t stop shivering and there was no point at all of getting our clothes off as the rooms in our guesthouse were just as cold as it was outside and there wasn’t any water supply, of course. We bought a water bottle at the market, which was apparently a stupid idea because after two hours in our room the water inside the bottle simply turned into ice. Yay!
And this was just the beginning of our journey. For the next 6 nights we would sleep just in a tent somewhere out in the Zanskar valley. All I can say now is that I am proud I did it and it’s such a great experience to tell people about! I loved our group as we became a good team during these days and had lot of fun. I think everyone was getting used to the cold and during the day time we kept ourselves warm by walking for hours. I love the sound of my feet steping into snow. It’s a sound of nature. It’s a sounds of contact between us and that nature.
And also there is this undercurrent silence in it, which is really beautiful I think. Many times we had to walk with our eyes down to focus on not slipping on the ice (here I have to mention my friend James who didn’t fall once during the whole trek, homage to him!) but then I looked up just into the sky and to the summit of these stunning mountains. And mountains in their imposing and stately nature will always evoke that feeling of stillness and grounding within me.
“Chadar”, as our guide explained us, means something like “the message that came with a bird”. “Cha” means bird and “dar” means message, this name was given to a trek according to a story where the king of Zanskar received the message from a bird that there was a way out of Zanskar to Leh, the frozen river. For now the “Chadar Trek” is closed since the river began to melt again. Generally they told me it wasn’t sure how long in the future this trek will be open as they are constructing a highway from Leh towards Zanskar.
Also watch my video from the trek: