Fly to: Kathmandu, Nepal
Internal Transfer: 2 flights to Nepalgunj 1hr & Simikot 50mins
Visa required: Yes if British plus a remote access trek permit
Time Zone:+5hrs45mins GMT
Day 9, 18/06/10: Humla & Limi Valley
A beautiful feeling to wake up this morning in such a prestine & expansive valley, the mornings task, as is every mornings task, a game of I-spy. I spy with my little eye....is that one of our mules back up near the pass, oh & there's another one by the nomad settlement and isn't that one down by the river...
It would seem that the mules broke free in the night - the little buggers. Eventually after the muleteers went on a recovery mission they were all retrieved, loaded and we were able to set off down the valley. Completely different to any of the other valleys we've recently walked through, this one shaped like a wide basin was filled with grass, a large river which collected into numerous turquoise pools, wild yak and rather obscurely, sand.
This place was a paradise for rare & wonderful species of wildlife; there were ground squirrel, musk deer, Himalayan marmot, wild goat and herds upon herds of wild yak. Here, unfamiliar with people passing through the animals are not fearful but instead curious; they looked upon us as if we were an equally rare species out here (which I suppose in actual fact we were). It was wonderful to be able to stand back and watch as the animals played and frolicked, ate and slept uninhibited by our watchful eyes. What makes this experience so special is the scenic valley we are in, up ahead approximately fifty wild yak can be seen basking in the turquoise lake waters.
I saddled up and rode down the lower section of this valley and whilst up close and personal to wild yak all we received in response was a passing & vacant stare. As the horse walked its way through fast flowing glacial waters I was pleased to be in the saddle, judging from the gasps of the others this water was cold and being knee deep I should imagine painfully so.
As we reached the lake's end and edge of the valley we were soon surrounded by the purest of white, silt beaches; beneath our feet the grains glistened like a thousand twinkling gems. I feel quite overwhelmed by all this, I suppose I'm genuinely awe-struck, this whole experience just feels like an epic journey, an exploration into new worlds, an unwritten adventure.
As I stood at the top of a giant, white silt dune, lost in my daydream, one of the mules took a dramatic fall. Squirming flat on its side it was sinking further into the silt; with the weight on its back it couldn't seem to regain any footing. A sombre feeling came over me and I was once again taken back to scenes from 'the never ending story'. This moment as it unfolded before me, reminded me so much of how Atreyu had watched helplessly as Artex slowly sank in the swamp of sadness.
As we rounded the corner we were soon to find ourselves entering the upper reaches of Limi Valley, here the scenery took on a delicate transformation. Each step we now took landed in the serene, purple haze that blanketed the ground, to our left flowing calmly were the waters of the Tankchhe Khola. As I glanced around I was more than aware of a lump forming in my throat, here I felt an immeasurable sense of peace, respite, shelter; it was here that I felt I'd entered Heaven's Kingdom.
As I sit here pencilling my journal, listening to the soft & uninterpreted birdsong, two Limi women who had been out collecting Yak turd for fire tinder come over. They are fascinated by our tents. Watching me as I write one of the women giggles emitting the sweetest of intention, filled with joy she tells us (in a Tibetan dialect) how her own daughter is also left handed. Removing their hair clips both women look over at me, poised with a knowing, mischievous smile... oh sh*t!
Although I'm merely a transient here and that each moment that passes is forever lost to time, I feel touched, my soul branded somehow. This truly is a special place & I feel not just privileged but genuinely blessed by its very existence.