June 8, 2009:

Day 4 of Trek:
Shingo (4,050 m) to Chaluk (3,525m) through the Markha Valley
We left the beautiful campsite at Shingo around 8:15 am and continued our way down to the
Markha Valley. The valley was beautifully wild with different rock formations at every turn.
The scenery reminded me of some of my Grand Canyon treks. After about 3 hours we were
in Skyu where we entered the Markha Valley.
Before we got to Skyu there were many chortens making for a dramatic entrance. We
visited the thousand year old gompa perched high above Skyu. Inside was a huge Maitreya
Statue and the assembly hall was filled with many butter lamps. There was a lama who was
outright dirty and smelly and when I also found out that he was going to brew us tea at the
teahouse below the gompa, I rather kept going. On top of that, Marc felt dizzy and nauseous
and wanted to continue walking. Come to find out, he hit his head pretty hard on one of the
low beams in the gompa.....
So while the group stayed at Skyu for a cup of tea, Marc and I continued along the valley
floor. It was pretty hot now as we were down to about 3,500 m and exposed to the sun.
The rest of the group caught up with us after a while and we had lunch right beside the
river. Lunch always consisted of either a rice or noodle dish and then Tibetan bread with
fresh veggies (tomatoes, cucumber, carrots) and cheese. And, of course, cookies. It was
pretty good and I always looked forward to it.
The afternoon now was pretty hot and my trekking companions wilted. As I live in the heat
and humidity, it did not bother me one bit and while everybody was sweating and
complaining, I was in my element. Those wussies.....
Later in the afternoon, we crossed the Markha River on a
high footbridge and soon thereafter were in camp, around
3:30 pm. It was nice and warm and we used the weather
to sit outside, read and drink tea.
Dinner was the usual and when we
left the dining tent in the dark, the
full moon illuminated the entire
valley and the stars shone brightly
(wow, that sounds like from a
children's book).