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A Photo Essay: The Himalayan Trek

It was only 48 hours ago that we were negotiating the busy streets of Pahar Ganj, New Delhi. Now with the sights and sounds of city life already pushed to the recesses of our memories, we exchanged rickshaws for ponies and were about to embark on one our most challenging travel adventures yet.

Our seven day trek in the Himalayas in pictures…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

And so it began…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

The mountain ponies all saddled up with our supplies for the next seven days – including food, water, and cooking and camping equipment.

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

The only way is up…

 

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Break time…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Ponymen…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

The rocky ascent… Having your body lean back to a horizontal position while the pony used its strength to leap up the steep inclines while its hooves slid around trying to gain footing was frightening at times. Especially in sections where the gap between their hooves and the cliff face was literally a matter of centimeters. All we could do was place all our faith in these amazing creatures, and they didn't fail us.

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

What do you eat for dinner thousands of meters above sea level? Fresh trout when you can get it!

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Room with a view. Base camp one…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Mountain goats…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Worth the effort…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Gorgeous lake..

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

We've reached glaciers!

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

One of the ponymen was nicknamed “Michael Jackson” for his dancing abilities. At night, he'd dance around the fire.

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Dancing with Michael Jackson…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

What do you do when there's no trout? Chicken curry…lots of chicken curry. With no way to keep food fresh on the journey, a box of live chickens was carried up with us.

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Melted snow is painfully freezing. I finally understood what Jack was saying in the movie Titanic when he says the water will hit you like “a thousand knives”.

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Out for a walk around the lake with the ponymen at our highest camping location…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

With the river crossings unbearably cold, one of the ponymen carried me on the return journey… :)

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

By the lake that everyone had been talking about since we set out…teeming with trout.

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

The chickens were let out of the box at camp. Don't make the mistake of naming them…it makes curry night all the more difficult…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Magnificent sunset…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Another stunning lake…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

How small we are against the imposing heights of Mother Nature…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Mountain flocks….

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Breakfast…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Saddling up for the return journey. It had been six days of trekking until this point. We were about to make the entire descent in one day. Long day ahead…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

All packed up and ready to go…

Himalayas, Kashmir, India, hiking, trekking, climbing

Views like these made days of altitude sickness worth it.

Like this post? Read about the journey that got us here.

Part One: The Houseboat

Part Two: The Practice Hike

Part Three: The Gypsy Family

An Evening with a Gypsy Family in the Himalayas
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The Water Trek, Srinagar, Kashmir
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Mavis

Sunday 31st of March 2013

The sights are jaw-droppingly gorgeous!!!

Jessica Korteman

Sunday 31st of March 2013

Thanks, Mavis! It's a little piece of paradise, isn't it! Definitely recommend the Indian Himalayas. Amazing scenery everywhere you turn!

vwlovers

Thursday 25th of October 2012

how on earth did you get down in one day but it took 6 days to get up there? did you go a different route?

Jessica Korteman

Monday 29th of October 2012

I know, it sounds impossible, right?! We did take the same route down but each day of trekking we didn't always go further away from where we began. We would trek every day but we only set up camp in three places. So we would spend one day getting to the camping spot where we would spend the night. Then on the second day we would go hiking further up a particular peak but then would return to the same camp. We'd then set out for our next camp the following morning. So essentially it took us three days to reach the elevation we were at when we started the descent. So the descent was about three days worth of trekking in one (rather than six in one). It's quicker to descend for starters and we just had a REALLY long final day! :)

Joanne Greenway

Thursday 4th of October 2012

Absolutely breath-taking scenery... and I like that the chickens got to run around and enjoy it before they became dinner :)

Jessica Korteman

Monday 29th of October 2012

Thanks, Jo! At least their final moments were in a place as beautiful as that.

Liz Picking

Tuesday 25th of September 2012

Once again Jess & Hai you didn't disappoint! Once again I held my breath at every printed word & outstanding views shared The only thing is that you have left me wanting for more. Maybe abit more insight on the evenings around the campfire and the Ponymen's life at home, although I do understand how exhausted you guys would have been at each days end. Outstanding and thank you for making my ordinary trip into town on a crowded train a great escape & bearable Ha!

adinparadise

Tuesday 25th of September 2012

Oh wow! This is such a wonderful post. That sunset is magnificent, and Michael Jackson looks like a lot of fun. I had a giggle at the 'Jony Walker' box for the chickens. :)

Jessica Korteman

Thursday 27th of September 2012

Thank you! There were certainly great views and company! Yes, the 'Jony Walker' box... :) Funnily enough, Jony Walker is a brand of mineral water in India hahaha

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