I remember falling in love with the concept of chadar treks and being able to test my ultimate limits. I’ve never stopped achieving the same thing over the years since 2001 and I rarely get nervous about the upcoming walk.
The Chadar trek took me back to my roots and inspired me to be a better trekker than I have ever been. To show gratitude to the place, I will tell the story of an adventure seeker in this blog describing the countless natural wonders which have enchanted me with this Ladakh adventure.
Day 1: Leh and Acclimatise arrivals
As my flight arrived on Leh airport runway the pilot announced a temperature of -10 degrees outside Leh Ladakh. I soon moved out of the aircraft’s comfort to the harsh cold outside weather. I was well equipped with my fleece, jacket, gloves and balaclava packed in your handbag for the cold. As I left the plane, I was struck by the beautiful views that I only knew about books around the airport.
It did not take long for me to conclude that the books I read undermined Leh’s real colours. I was barely reluctant to drop my bags and continue to climb the frosted peaks of the place. I was so spectacular that it took me some time to feel the bitter cold that knocked my skin away. I booked my taxi off the airport at the counter, and went to the gîte where I would meet my other mates. I’ve been in Leh two days and I’ve got to get used to the steep weather changes and the high altitude.
Day 2: Leh airconditioning to avoid sickness at high altitude
I couldn’t help but explore every nook or cranny of the place before the great day despite the freezing temperatures. The local people caught me up in their culture while exploring their souvenir markets. I was ready for the big day with a few last-minute stores from the army store.
Day 3: Leh to Shingra Koma Chilling
And the trip starts.
Finally, the day I waited for years came. I began my search for the frozen Nerak waterfall. It made my journey more exciting because I was supported by some of the best batchmates. I wish it was a little longer for Tsomo Paldar drive. However, at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, which was just one of our designated stops, I managed to take some wonderful photos. We continued our journey after a conversation with the local people and a cup of hot coffee.
Finally, the car stopped. We stood at the edge of the road and I could see the Zanskar river, which seems to be a natural wonder.
A tiny shiver of fear grabbed my heart as I took the frozen river Zanskar my first step. I have climbed and conquered steep mountains before without feeling almost related to the feeling I now felt.
The thin surface of the ice was covered by a thick layer of snow. Our experienced guide has warned us not to hurry up to measure every step we have taken. We had to tread at a slow pace attentively. Underneath our foot there was a risk that the ice would crack. I got used to it after a while, and my walk went back to normal.
The difference was that it was combined with a stunning view and a frozen river under my feet. It started to feel like another walk. The beauty of the frozen Zanskar River, I can never emphasize enough. I was totally unaware of the fact that I could watch stagnant, time-frozen river droplets just there. I was there enjoying the view until I got out of the trance with one of my batch-mates. The Trek of Chadar was a fantasy that became a wonderful truth for me.
A night under the stars
But I’m happy to say that I was totally wrong, I think I already knew the viewpoints I would experience on my journey. As everyone became comfortable in their own tents, I decided to go out and introduce myself personally to the place. As I went out, I was stunned by the countless stars that danced in the sky of the night. I have seen a sight like this before, but it certainly happened on a different level. I decided to take full advantage of it by admiring it until I had been held in absolutely freezing temperatures.
The Chadar trek took me back to my roots and inspired me to be a better trekker than I have ever been. To show gratitude to the place