For the first part of this essay please do visit http://www.sujoyrdas.blogspot.in/2014/02/the-markha-valley-trek-part-i.html
Day 4 (7th September 2013) – Skiu - Markha
After a breakfast of omelettes and muesli, hit the trail by 8 am. First sighting of the lone ranger from Barcelona on this stretch, who was with us until Hankar. Steady climb, on a narrow trail for a while before flattening, until we reached a tea house at Pendse . Used to be a proper eco resort until it was washed away by the floods in 2010. Only the main building left, which offers refreshments and sells handicrafts made by the Ladakh Women’s Alliance Group. Back on the trail for several hours, down to the river, crossed a two-logged bridge (the ponies waded through the water), moderate climb to a shady glade where we take a short halt. Soon after, cross Humarge village and after an hour so reach Sera village by 1 pm where we stop for lunch at the tea house.
The sun had been beating down on us relentless throughout the trek from a brilliant clear blue sky. The first thing we did was to remove our shoes and hang the socks to dry. Washed our feet and faces with the deliciously cold water from the hand pump before tucking into our lunch. The tea house was stocked with assorted cold drinks and toilet paper rolls (for sale). It also had waste segregation bins. A signage by Exodus Travels informed us that every year 15,000 plastic bottles of water sold. Their objective is to reduce plastic waste by setting up water purifying units.
After an hour’s break, set off again. What had, until now, been a narrow gorge, now opened out into a wide river valley. Long trudge, which went on endlessly, or so it seemed, due to the heat and the extreme discomfort caused by the rock/stone strewn, rough trail. A short climb to a pass with prayer flags and a fascinating assemblage of yak horns and prayer stones. A rapid descent to the river and then the first river crossing through ice cold water! Back on the trail, thinking we were finally on the home-stretch. But obviously a wide gulf separates Tenzing’s notion of distance and time from ours because it went on interminably like the proverbial last mile.