Kishtwar to Baltal -Day3

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Day3- Hanzal to Yordu

The Route of the Great Trek from Kishtwar to Baltal

Today we walked from Hanzal to Yordu. Today is an equally beautiful trek still along the Marau River.
We left our new found friends early in the morning. A small breakfast of rice and then off we go with Farooq still carrying my rucksack.

The trek is quite easy going as the path is in good shape and the gradient easy. Quite a few horses carrying goods making for Hanzal as we head in the opposite direction. I later learn that they load up at Inshan where the road  that comes from Anantag finishes. There are also quite a few travellers on this section of the trail perhaps visiting the other villages  Nagerwal and Khum on the other side of the river.

Along the rivers edge deodars and birch and other deciduous trees grow. The river is a constant attraction as it changes direction and verocity. In places it passes swiftly through rocky restrictions and later it slows down in the wider sections and sometimes forms beaches of white sands. Underneath the canopy grasses and sometimes strawberries and mushrooms can be seen. The sunshine flowing through the canopy changes constantly. Sometimes it can be quite dark on the trail where the light cannot get through.

I have really been enjoying this and the previous day. Except for having to put up with Farooq who isn’t really a bad guy just a bit of a weasel. I guess the main reason is that my confidence has increased as I have managed to get fed, accommodation and found that the perceived dangers of terrorism etc didn’t materialize.

Just a few notes about this day. The valley is quite steep sided until one approaches Narwajan. The track we were on didn’t actually pass through this village which is higher up the ridge. I think this is because the landscape is better suited to cultivation where the village is located. As one approaches this area some houses appear and cultivation of barley I presume occurs behind rock walls with thorny bushes on top.

Next on the agenda is  a large area of morrainal debris through which the path goes. Not large rocks but a more barren landscape where only small trees and bushes grow. We see girls and ladies collecting wood for fires. They cut the smaller bushes down and carry them back to their villages in what look like very heavy bundles on their heads. All the time chatting to each other it might appear to others that this is an easy and enjoyable  activity.

Marwau River uploaded from photo by Aditya Paranjape

Marwau River looking south from Yordu Bridge

We now have a view of a large wide valley to the north and can even see Yordu nestled as this valley close at the top end of this expanse. But before Yordu are several villages on our side of the river. The first one we reach is the village of Chanjer, district Marwah which is not mentioned on my map. Chanjer is on our side of the river and is just as  delightful as was Hanzal.

Chanjer seems to have more shops than Hanzal with a more comprehensive range of goods.  As we entered the town we walked past a primary and secondary school. They looked pretty run down and not a very stimulating place. But maybe that is just a poor assessment because the school children may have been on holidays.

The buildings aline a smaller feeder creek to the Marwau River and are largely made of deodar trees. Beautiful structures and this part of the village seemed quite tidy.  On my way into the village I stopped at one of the shops probably to ask where we might get something to eat. Farooq was starving and begging me to help him find something to eat. I told him go and find something whilst I talk to this man.

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About Denis Buchanan

Once upon a time I was a Chemical Engineer now I am a born again Farmer. The transition was really quite easy with the major change that the life of feasibility studies has ended and any experiment that I wish to undertake is at my peril.


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