Once upon a time, traveling from Leh and after crossing the formidable Kardungla (at 18329 feet the highest motorable pass in the world), you could gain access to a valley so remote and exclusive that it could well be a figment of your imagination. This is a valley carved by the Shyok river during its tumultuous journey through Ladakh. The landscape is dominated by mountains – big, barren giants towering over the thin blue-green ribbon of the Shyok as its battles its way to reach its final destination – the Indus.There are isolated monasteries precariously perched on craggy outcrops and the occasional village close to the river that creates a splash of green in summer or orange in winter but the overall feel was one of remoteness and a disconnect from the outside world.
The people are simple and hardy in an area where the window of opportunity to work is small …… and winter is an omnipresent threat.
The yak is a beast of burden for the locals but even its genteel nature can be stretched to the limits when uninvited guests drop by!The Shyok can occasionally rise in rebellion when the its snow fed tributaries give it courage. It then swells with aggression and thunders down the valley, rich brown with indignation. Crossing it in this condition is not for the faint hearted.If you were looking for the road less traveled there were few better places….but time and tide waits for no man.