Nako, July 16, 2016, 1045 hours.
It’s been drizzling for a while now and that makes the walk that much more enjoyable, with a sweeping wind chilling one to the bone. And Kaushal has been warning everyone to be careful in the rain. “At this height, you can easily fall ill if you get wet.”
At the moment, am just loving the feel of the raindrops, the sight of the rain-soaked misty mountains and the company of the huge Prayer Wheel on this little hill above the #Nako village.
I can see an old cluster of stupas much higher up from where we stood now. That was our next destination. The beautifully inscripted #Mani stones and Mani stone mounds populated the otherwise bare mountainside. I wistfully looked over to the high trail we had seen from below – that trail led to the #Ka village (the solitary patch of green amidst barren rocky landscape we had encountered on the way to Nako). It was unlikely that we would travel that trail today. In fact, the drizzle has grown up to become a rain and we are turning back to the village.
Walking back down, I can’t help but admire the ingenuity of the people who have lived here through the ages. Nor the sheer hard work that would have been required to make all this happen. The canals created with rocks to take rain and stream water down to the village and lake; the terraced farms; the patches of plantations; the fortified structures of the village… all part of the ingenuity.
I kept walking down, stumbling sometimes, and then all of a sudden I discovered the little mountain walker in me, the one who always took the path that wasn’t there. And I found a freedom in leaving the paved path and climbing down the mountainside in a steady drizzle and soon finding myself on a high ledge with only a long gravel slide down to the track to the hotel. I slid down the slope, a smile on my face, every fibre of my being alert and alive – this is the reason I walk mountains.