Kishtwar to Baltal -Day4

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Day 4- Yordu to Inshan

( map trek colour purple )

The Route of the Great Trek from Kishtwar to Baltal

I slept well. It had been a long day yesterday and it was good to stay with a nice family. We didn’t start real early as Ualfat had to see to his cows  and I presume go to the mosque as he was a devout Muslim.

His brother Bilal and the other guys in the room didn’t seem to be as religious.  We talked over breakfast and then Bilal’s dad said that Ualfat’s child had a stomach problem. I think I might have given the child half a panadol but wished I could have been of more assistance. Medical problems are often common dilemmas for families in these remote areas. Specialized treatment or emergency treatment are probably unheard of meaning that many people suffer and perhaps die.

As we left Bilal’s other brother asked us to visit his family whose house was very close to the new bridge. I took some photos but time didn’t permit us staying for tea although he would have liked us to do so. Eventually we all crossed the bridge together and then said our goodbyes. Ualfat leading with Kharid the policeman next and me in the rear.

It wasn’t very long before we had left the large mosque on this side of the river and the few houses and were walking on the track between fields which eventually led into forests as the top end of the valley closed up. As with yesterday’s trek this stage of today’s trek was very beautiful with a fast moving river on our right until we get to the bridge just before Kolihal.

Kharid came with us as far as this place where we had a simple lunch as one of the two dhabas which was all that I could see made up this place. A few horses and their masters were also resting here. On the trek we met several horse parties either carrying goods or passengers.

Apparently once we crossed the bridge we were in another area of police control maybe we had left the district of Marwah but I am not sure. Kharid was a nice enough guy but I am still not sure why he stuck to me like glue.

It seemed like some of the tension went when just Ualfat and myself were left to proceed on our own. I didn’t know it then but Ualfat became a very comfortable man to be with and even though we didn’t speak a common language we sort of bonded very well. Ualfat wasn’t as tall as me (maybe 5ft 9inches) , quite strong looking.  And he has the most amazing blue eyes and a cheeky but somewhat shy grin.  Needless to say I was very lucky that he had offered to be my guide.

We are now on the right hand side of the river and remain on this side until more than halfway to Sukhnoi. There are a few tracks going up the side valleys. One which was pointed out to me crosses the river again and goes to Shishar Gali past at least one small village which I could see on a distant ridge. Also along the river where the ground was suitable small farmlets were visible. Often these sort of activities might only be warranted in the summer months with the inhabitants  going back to a bigger village as winter closed in.

Not so much further on and we see the dreaded roadworks. Once tracks change to roads the beauty seems to go too. The excavators push over the deodars bordering what was once tracks; cut into the mountainsides to increase the width of the road; push the material cut out of the mountain over the edge with no regard as to what was there before.  No time or money ever seems to be applied to ensuring that nature maintains something in the face of this onslaught.

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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.


Kishtwar to Baltal -Day4 — 2 Comments

    • thanks for the comment , yes I really ought to tell you that the trek is in the Himalayas in Kashmir, India.
      I really need feedback to see what else I should be saying. It has been difficult writing this trip up as my camera and lots of unique shots and reminders was stolen. I also have two more days to add so don’t miss checking again as they were quite different to what hasreported to date.

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