Category: 2011 Indian Himalayas Cycle Tour

Cycling with Himalayan Hounds – fundraiser for Funda Nenja, township dog-training initiative

[caption id="attachment_1730" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Funda Nenja roughly translates from isiZulu to “learning with the dog” and that about sums up what an enthusiastic group of people are doing in Mpophomeni just outside Howick. Every Friday afternoon sees a gathering of about 10 volunteers and 65 dogs with their handler -children coming together to share interspecies and multicultural communication.The idea is to develop respect and compassion for all living things by…

The Baltistan village of Turtuk, Ladakh

Turtuk is about as close as you can get to Pakistan in India, physically and literally. This delightful village is crunched into the narrowing Shyok River valley in the furthest corner of India, right at the tippy-top of the map. Only when the Indo-Pakistan war ended in 1971, Turtuk (together with 5 other Balti villages) was then included within the Indian line of border control. It remained off limits until…

Those curious camels

While down in the Nubra valley, we spied a herd of those curious bactrian (double humped camels) munching on seabuckthorn berries close to another curiosity, a sea of sand dunes. Typically these camels are native to the central steppes of Asia, mainly Mongolia and Kazakstan. Apparently the Nubra valley formed part of the old trade routes between China and India, when this route collapsed, herds of the camels were left…

The Nubra valley

The large, desert valley of Nubra is formed by the meeting of the Shyok and Siachen rivers. This wide, high altitude valley separates the Ladakh and the Karakorum ranges and is accessed by the 5600m Khardung-la pass. Having cycled up the Khardung pass three times over the past years I have never managed to descend the pass into Nubra. This time however, I could finally continue down the 'other side'…

Climbing Stok Kangri (6130m)

Stok Kangri (6130m),  literally translates as 'snow-peak  of Stok village'. The peak is a perfect A-line that 'watches over' Stok  some 3000m below.  It is regarded as one of the easiest 6000m peaks in the Indian Himalayas, a trekking peak to be precise. Not one for heights, ice and on the-edge-kind-of-stuff, the suggestion to climb it didn't seem like such a bad one considering it is regarded as 'easy'. Besides this…

Not forgetting the other Passes

Sometimes I do get a little carried away with all the wonderful details, like the villages or the flowers along the sides of the roads, forgetting that I wouldn't have discovered these wonders, had I not pedaled over the passes which make Ladakh so impressive,( in)accessible (depending on how you look at it!) and alluring. Besides, I never finished the set of posts I was to complete on these majestic…

Himalayan villages: Chumikgiarsa at 4000m

Chumikgiarsa is situated along the wide sarchu plains just after the dhabba stop of Sarchu. It is however mostly viewed from a distance as the wide stepped river and plain keep it at more than an arms length. For the past 2 years I have always been very curious to visit this village that would appear as little dots of houses along a beautifully eroded river plain step. This year…

Himalayan villages: Old Manali

One of my favourite things about bike trips is that access to small, quaint and often forgotten about villages is a daily occurrence as you aren't simply whizzing by in the bubble of a bus and can stop at any point to meet the 'real' people. Old Manali and surrounding villages offer some interesting insights into the daily lives of tribes of Himachal Pradesh. The other nice thing is that…

Himalayan Hounds revisited

I consider myself to be a dogmother. No matter how pedigreed or 'mongrolled' a dog, I simply cannot resist giving those I meet en route, a little TLC. This usually entails a good pat, dog chat and something to eat. I often wish I had a stash of Hills dog food stowed away in my bar bag, but good old local Indian biscuits are always happily woofed back. Its not…