I get to see the sun rise over a different set of mountains this morning. In the end I was too warm, having gone to bed with my fleece and thick socks on! A steaming bucket full of hot water arrives in each room at 7am but John is the only one who braves a proper bucket bath – Helen and I decide the air temperature is too low for that.
Tashi is keen to get away fairly early this morning so we walk down to the lake and I collect a diatom sample for Martyn. I hope it’s appreciated – there is ice on the little stream flowing into the lake this morning and the water temperature is low. There is definitely something growing on the rocks though – I hope it’s diatoms!
Things we do for love…
Because we have a lot of ground to cover, we drive straight back to Leh, with only a brief stop at Chang La for toilets. The journey back is enlivened by seeing, first, a group of wild asses and, secondly, some very tame marmots. The latter are obviously used to humans, and perhaps to being fed, and approach the car when we stop. To Tashi’s excitement, one more or less tries to climb into the car! As a devout Buddhist, it’s clear he has a great compassion towards animals, as well as fellow humans – a lovely man.
We are back at the Grand Dragon hotel early afternoon for lunch and they kindly give us room keys so we can shower. I talk to Danish and Yasin about what happens next. We had wondered about asking to stay in Leh another night but it turns out there is some kind of strike on tomorrow which means we’d have to leave Leh before 6 am to get to Uletokpo.
This doesn’t seem like much of a plan so we leave around 5 pm for Uletokpo, armed with goodie baskets from Danish. We drive past the point where the Zanskar river joins the Indus and along the Indus to near Saspol where we are to stay at the Uletokpo Eco Resort. We arrive just at dusk at an amazing location on a cliff, immediately above the Indus. A pity it’s nearly dark as it would have been good to explore. On our itinerary this is described as a ‘tented camp’ but we turn out to be in rather swish little chalets – no complaints! Dinner is another tasty buffet and the bossy head waiter provides the cabaret. There is time for some star gazing and a quick game of Scrabble before bed.