Trek Day 2: Shana to Sot Thangthanka
Updated: May 27, 2020
Mountains are imposing entities. They inspire those seeking to gaze upon their majesty, but they annoy those who merely want to be on the other side of them. I am in the gazing category.
Mountains are also notorious cloud collectors that love to hide themselves. I prepared myself mentally for the possibility that the Himalayas would never show their face on this trek. Today, I started to believe that might be the case.
It was drizzly and gray, so gray that the weather seemed to be on the precipice of getting worse. We heard a rumor that it was snowing on the pass, and that one group was turned back. I feared the entire trek might be like this.
A Muddy Trail
Today we had to hike 14.5 Miles with an elevation gain of 2,438 ft. The trail was very muddy, wet, and steep. There was a lot of horse traffic and they get the right of way, which makes the walking slow. Just when I thought I was making progress, I'd hear the yell of "horse," which meant I had to quickly find a place to perch myself as 5, 10, or more horses went up or down the trail. It was amazing to see how sure-footed they were in the mud.
The horses' hooves chewed up the trail badly, so I had to pay careful attention to my footing. I appreciated the fact that I brought gators, otherwise I would have been a muddy mess. There was a technique to hiking this stretch of the trail. I had to find rocks and tree roots in the mud and the hop from one to the other. Otherwise I risked stepping ankle or knee deep in the mud.
No Photos Today
When I managed to look up, I saw beautiful green scenery. The temperature was comfortable, so I didn't find it that bad walking in the drizzle. But the deep mud that was a bit distressing.
I was told that we wouldn't be within range of seeing the Himalayas until we reached our campsite. I tried to replace my fears of constant bad weather with the hope for clear skies in the evening or by morning.
I regret that I didn't pull out my camera on this portion of the trek. But my hands were occupied with the two hiking poles I used to feel my way through the mud. I also didn't want to get my camera wet.