I left Srinagar in the midst of the fun. Cars, flags, loud men, “Hindus get out back” and all that. Who cares, a good article about this is stamped on Wikipedia https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_conflict . For me, the mountains were more interesting than the conflicts, and I moved to the peaks with a backpack.
Not far from Srinagar, about 100 km, there is a picturesque tourist spot – Pahalgam. This is in the Overa Aru Wildlife Sanctuary. This in itself is a very beautiful place that is worth visiting, but through it I wanted to get to the village of Baltal, which is on the road to Ladakh
Hitchhiked, slowly, in dashes. Stopping to take pictures. There are a lot of buses here every day, there are also jeep tours for those who like more comfortable.
There are no longer any military or protesters. Only locals and tourists, calm measured life, almost Switzerland.
Although you are unlikely to meet women washing by the river in Switzerland, this is normal here. Almost no one has washing machines, as well as refrigerators. Even electricity in many homes is either absent or very limited. 2016 *
The best views are where the road ends. You need to gain a little altitude along the path and see your path traveled. At the bottom of the road there is a village where you can rent a house, leave your bulky backpacks / suitcases and go up the mountains lightly. There are several routes, so it is quite possible to stop here for a few days. Some travelers stay here for a month to “refresh”, write / read books, shoot videos, etc.
I moved right through and planned to put up a tent a few kilometers further along the path. There are several military concrete fortifications on the pass. Previously, they were actively used, but now they look more like ruins. However, local shepherds and military use them as a temporary camp. They told me that I was a fool, that soon evening and it would be safer to spend the night with them. Here they are in the photo below, at first glance you cannot say that it is safer with them, but it is so convincingly said!
На самом деле клёвые ребята, хоть и ночуют в таких ужасных условиях. Они предложили горячий чай с булками, я поделился печеньками. Славный вечерок. За чаем мне рассказали, что дурачок я потому, что пошёл сюда один, да ещё и в это непростое время года. Дело в том, что здесь водятся медведи в изрядном количестве, заповедник же. Одиночный турист хоть и со страшным рюкзаком будет хорошей добавкой к рациону этих пушистых зверьков. Особым шиком было бы вставать на ночевку одному дальше по тропу, ведь там ещё нет людей. Время весеннее, не все тропы открылись из-под снега, а военная часть дальше по пути населена только духами.
Here it would be to turn around and immediately skip a normal road, but that’s not all. But it’s me, I should have at least tried it. Complete nonsense. the guys told what and how. What are the options and what should be especially feared. For example, if the trail has not yet appeared from under the snow, then it will turn out to be too dangerous an adventure, only to find out it was necessary to walk a few kilometers
With dawn and the local shepherds, I set out. These guys are early risers, so we weren’t even the first. Together we walked 3-4 km and split up, like in a normal horror movie.
The first obstacle on the way is there is no bridge. During the winter everything was blown to hell and we had to look for a detour. The streams are violent there and if you get into it, you will not get off with fright. In the photo below the remains of the bridge, and even below is a view of the trail and the remains of the bridge. There it was more or less safe to cross the stream.
The trail went higher and higher to the pass. There were no bears to be seen, and the road was quite obvious and well-trodden. The green slopes were replaced by snow, and the sun scorched like crazy. The altitude is about 4000 m, the pass is at 4200 m. My sun protection cream let me down here, I went about two weeks later with a scalded face. He was young, stupid.
I got to the base, it naturally turned out to be empty. There were some traces, it seemed even quite human, but there was no normal unambiguous path. I climbed the pass and there is the same garbage. That is, from the side of Pahalgam, the people of the court were still getting, but from the side of Batal they did not. To cross in such conditions, without a trail, in the snow alone – it was inadequate even for me when I was young, so I turned around and made a detour about 200 km, instead of the remaining 20. Is it bad? Okay! Who knows what would await me next.
And here is the village of Batal. Somewhere here I was going to get out after the pass. A beautiful place. Well, a little dangerous, infection!
This time I was on my way. The main road is one and that twists serpentines to the honey of the mountains. Walking is quite possible, but then I had not yet acquired the hobby of long-distance jogging, and the backpack was the most hiking, not running. Well, let’s see if we still have to return to these places with a new task.
The weather was changing, the altitude was gaining! I was waiting for another pass in a thousand at 3500m
I spent the night in Sonamarg with local hikers. Even before dark they stopped in a jeep and offered to take them to the pass the next day, as they work there. In the meantime, stay with them, get acquainted with the family. Who the hell will offer you this in the hotel, but not everyone needs it, but I’m very interested in how and what the locals live in. The guys neighing at my idea of transferring to Batal in the spring, but they also offered to go to a couple of three interesting places next time.
Local roads sometimes make you breathless and not breathe. There, behind the fog, there is an abyss of several hundred meters, but somehow it is necessary to disperse.
There is snow on the pass. A lot of snow. A normal topic in such places. It has already melted, there are walls and much higher.
The little guy worked in this camp for tourists. In fact, a crossing point with cafes and special entertainment. Sledge! Sledge, fuck! at 3600m, that’s an attraction!) Dragging them up is also an attraction, of course it’s worth it! Going down for the first time PPC is dull, and then you get involved!
Coal man! I don’t know why he’s here, I wasn’t able to ask, but I don’t see hookahs. But it looks very interesting!
Hot food awaits in the stalls. Tea, coffee, beach packs. A favorite place for tourists. Mostly local. It won’t take them long to get here. Playing snowballs and sledding with children is a unique opportunity for India. And then relax and warm up with a cup of tea in such a tent.
So I haven’t brewed a biscuit pack yet! everything went wrong! In the fresh air, any food comes with pleasure in an especially large size, so the beach package is great!