Trek Day 2: Shana to Sot Thangthanka

Updated: May 28

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.

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