Expecting the Unexpected in India Day 237: Last Minute Arrangements

After breakfast Christoph, Sebastian, and I rented mountain bikes to explore the outskirts of town

Couldn’t leave Leh due to crazy Indian traffic and chain falling off my bike plus the constant fear of riding atop anything composed of two wheels (channeling Vietnam motorbike experience)
Went back and luckily got my money back thanks to Christoph and Sebastian showing up just in time thanks to their own problems
Bought trekking shoes for cheap ($45)
Bought some hopefully real saffron for gifts and my own personal culinary use
Kept updating myself on the status of the road as well as the Stok Kangri trek while all the others went about doing their own thing
Even though the group seemed content with moving southward to Manali once the road reopened due to money issues, time constraints, etc., I couldn’t accept such a fate that left me so close to the Himalayas amongst the Ladakhi Range within grasp of the easiest 6000m summit I will ever experience in my lifetime
I kept looking for alternative treks in the area especially the very popular Markha Valleu which includes the possibility of solo homestay trekking but as expected the valleys were hit the hardest from the storms and any trekking was unpredictable for at least the next several days
After doing my accumulating research hearing mostly the same which was everyone knew little to nothing and the German speaking Ladhakian still off on a day trip till the evening, I went back to hang out with the group including our lovable Israeli teddy bear Shai playing various card games until we went to get dinner at a place other than the fantastical, scrumptulescent Wonderland Cafe per Miss Energy’s request
The group of us men gorged on Indian food as per our habit along with after dinner snack of wicked pizza despite Miss Energy’s sole desire to ruin food for all with her tales of estrogen and other chemicals lurking in every bloody food that stood a chance of finding itself upon a dinner table
We went past the Venture Ladakh trekking office with word that Sonam, the German speaking gentleman, might show up in an hour
As the clock rolled past seven, my optimism was draining as the guys needed some confirmation in one direction or another. In the meantime, we picked up beer with me somewhat acknowledging the likelihood that the Stok Kangri trek wasn’t in the cards and falling flat upon my summiting dreams
On the way back we finally caught our man and planned out the Stok Kangri all last minute which was astounding to me considering the reliable, recommended travel agency Markha Travel required three days notice to assemble a crew
And so it was set in stone that the three of us (Christoph, Sebastian, and myself with Shai initially toying with the idea of joining us bless his heart with questions like ‘will there be guesthouses along the way?’) would be setting out tomorrow to trek with little prepared for. Although Christoph with his German engineering practicality having most everything under the sun packed and ready to go, I needed essentially all that was required.
Sebastian and I tried on their trekking boots best suited for ice climbing as this trek would require some actual mountaineering in the form of ice picks and clamp ons for the boots to keep oneself firmly stuck to the mountain and not tumbling downwards like a snowball to an unfortunate doom
Back at the guesthouse we drank our slowly warming beers while playing Shithead with this night being likely our last together for some time
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