Trekking day 3

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Pahalgam, Jammu and Kashmir, India
This is the day for the long 16km hike to the Kolahoi glacier and back. Only Steve, Helen, Joe and I decided to go with our trusty friend Gulum and Ashraf's nephew Ifan.. They were all younger and fitter than me and I almost stayed behind, but in the end I decided to go even if it meant holding them up.
This was an unforgettable experience . We walked at a fairly good pace, but it was hard terrain and I probably slowed them down a bit. A couple of pack horses with their minders caught up after a while.
When we got to a river crossing that I had trouble with I relented and let them talk me into getting on one of the ponies. On the pony it was a bit scary going up and down tracks with large rocks and across streams, but I could watch the scenery instead of my feet.
The minder for my pony was a really nice youth. We couldn't converse, but he was helpful and held my arm when we came across tricky bits.
Still all along the way more huts and people.
After a while I walked a bit more till we came across a large river crossing. A very fast river with two tree trunks across it. ????? Tried it first and got across no problem. The others then followed suit. I suggested that I stay put till they returned, but they encouraged me to try. I started off on my hands and knees, but they didn't want me to do that. Eventually my friendly pony handler got me to hold on to him from behind and walk across following his footsteps slowly .
It worked, but soon there was another crossing, this time rock hopping over huge boulders with some rather wobbly. It was drizzling on an off all the time and the stones were wet and slippery. Even the fit ones were tentative ad wobbled. This time I said a definite NO.
The ponies couldn't cross at either of those spots. The water too deep and too fast. They went downstream a bit where it was flatter and the river spread out a bit so it wasn't so deep. So I joined them and crossed on one of the ponies with strict instructions to hold on tight and the helpful youth looking after me.
We walked further and came upon a little village of maybe 8 or so huts.
At this point we decided to turn back, so never reached the glacier.
On the way back we came across a man carrying a bundle and as I looked up I slipped and fell heavily with my face landing on a rock.
I was very lucky, nothing broken.
The sum never came out, but the scenery was still magnificent.
By this time my iPhone battery was well and truly dead, so no more photos. Will have to wait till I get some from the others.
We got very wet and once back at camp it continued to rain on and off.
We dried some of our things by the campfire, but our tent had puddles of water in it an my mattress was wet around one edge. It continued to rain overnight, but thanks to Ed's sleeping bag I was cosy and warm
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