June 7, 2009:

Day 3 of Trek:
Ganda La High Camp (4,550 m) Over Ganda La (4,985 m) to Shingo (4,050 m)
Woke up to snow all around us. As a matter of fact, it was snowing so heavily that Lakpa
removed the snow off our tents several times during the night. Early morning, the sun
came out a couple of times and the views were beautiful.
Kim gave us the go ahead to start hiking up
the pass shortly after 8 am. By then it was
cloudy, snowy and cold. We went up the
valley which soon made a bent to the right.
Here we encountered a few switchbacks
but nothing too steep. For me, however, it
was difficult going, as I had lost a lot of
energy during the last couple of days. I
was trailing my fellow companions the
entire time who continued to yell
encouragements from far above me.
A...holes.....payback time will be sweeeet. I
got up to the pass at 9:30 am, 10 minutes
later than my son as he triumphantly told
me. I wish he would have had bad bacteria
rummaging in his stomach because then I
would be the one laughing!
Anyway, up on the pass, I got my camera out and took a few shots. It was cloudy, so we
could not see Stok Kangri. Everybody was cold (well Graham, no wonder if you wear shorts
in the snow, you get cold....Aussies!!), so we left the pass soon, way too soon for me. The
further we came down, the better the views became and the warmer it got too.
After a while, we came upon a few chortens and then we reached the village of Shingo,
about 2 hours after leaving the pass. A little further on and there was a great camping spot
where we stayed for the night. We had a late lunch there. In the afternoon, I washed a
couple of clothes and then, to the entertainment of the entire group, tried to wash my hair
in those little bowls provided for washing. Of course, Kim had to "help" me by dumping a
bucket full of ice cold water over my head. Had a brain freeze afterwards!
Almost every day, we got together in the dinner tent at around 5:30 pm. Kim either had
cookies, popcorn or fresh fruit for us. Also, there always was hot water for tea. Then, dinner
started at around 6:30 with soup. All the soups were delicious. After soup we had dinner,
for the most part veggies in all kind of forms, tastes, colors, etc. Sometimes the food was to
my liking, sometimes it was not. But Graham thought it was excellent throughout and I
came to the conclusion that either Graham has no taste whatsoever due to his British roots
or I am a spoiled old man when it comes to food!!! As always, the truth most likely lies in
the middle.

After every dinner, our cook brought us Kashmiri tea which I really liked and then, to round
it all up, we had dessert. Again, for me old spoiled man it was not always to my liking, but I
am not easy to please. Then, we sat around the tent for another hour or two telling each
other stories of our lives or listening to Graham telling stories of whatever. By week two of
our trip, I knew most of them! We also had disco nights, i.e. we shared each others i-pod
music on Kim's "stereo system". Luckily Graham does not own an i-pod, otherwise we
would have been exposed to classical music and the quiet valleys of Ladakh might have
witnessed a mutilation of an Aussie!!!
Marc's tent snowed in