Thanks to having Jay guide us for the trip who has been to Leh several times we knew one thing, acclimatization was important to conditions of this high altitude and air that has a little less oxygen than the plains. However, its quite easy to be a little over confident and think and say nothing affects me. Well, for the first day we had planned to do nothing but to sleep and soak the cold in, sip in as much hot liquids and take it easy and just be happy that we reached Leh. So on day 1 whilst I caught up with a bit of the 3rd Test largely we stayed put in Siala Guesthouse the place where we were booked. In the evening we took a small stroll to Leh Market and fed ourselves some momo’s and thukpa to end the day on a content note! 😀 😀
The second day we had a group of another 4 people joining us, unlike us, they came a day late not giving enough importance to acclimatization, as fate would have it, one of the 4 fell sick, eventually they departed in another 2 days and could not enjoy their trip. I myself on the third night had an urge to leave the trip midway and actually head back. So my advice to all those who read this is, do not take the acclimatization bit lightly. People ask you to acclimatize in summers as well, this was peak winter. Oxygen is low in summers as well and in winters I assume it must be even lower because in the 11 days that I was there I did not see one green leaf!!!!! Yes, all trees are bone dry and no leaves are there in such a vast area at such an altitude no wonder the oxygen levels are low. You pant and pant and pant more. So take my advice, give your body a little time to acclimatize to the conditions and you will be able to enjoy the place like you should be doing.
Let me also tell you that we usually walked from 8.30 in the morning to 4.30 in the evening whilst in The Hemis National Park and climbed altitudes of about 2000-3000 feet every day with our base being almost 12000 feet and I did it without any Diamox or any other medicine. I am not a regular trekker or supremely fit and I could do it all just because I allowed my body to acclimatize. Just heed to the advice that Ladakhi’s or more experienced people of this terrain give you and you will not suffer or else the conditions could take you down. This is not to scare anyone but to inform about the care one needs to take.
I guess I have been enough of smart alec for the day, the next day we saw India save the 3rd Test Match whilst sipping lots of green tea and butter tea and that perked up to move about. We set out for Shanti Stupa and also managed to find a punjabi restaurant Neha Snacks that served really warm delicious Punjabi fare in a tiny place that seemed to attract a lot of visitors! With full bellies and slowly but surely getting used to the pace of life in Leh we were setting ourselves up for Rumbak in The Hemis National Park. We were to start early next morning and so we called off the day 2 early.
Here are a few pictures of around Leh and from Shanti Stupa! 🙂