Trans Hima 2020 – 34 Siri to Anyar Khal

We woke up from a cosy night below the warm blankets in a home in Siri, last village in the valley. Our host brought us hot chai and warm water to freshen up followed by home grown breakfast – chapattis with spinach sabji. He accompanied us to the house of his parents higher up the village where we got served another round of tea. Neighbours were curiousity onlooking to the strangers in shorts visiting their village.

We headed out of Siri following a nice path slowly ascending through a side valley towards the ridgeline on top from where we were planning to connect to the Anyar Khal, a pass crossed a few weeks ago. Along the way we passed through two smaller summer farming dwellings of Jamania and Saur, largely uninhabited during these winter months. The further you head away from the road head, the more traditional hamlets you encounter built from natural available materials.

At Saur we encountered multiple trails picking the one that took us up to a saddle on the ridgeline above. A steep climb followed to the top where we encountered first snow at 2500m at the Northern facing slope. A clear trail contoured around a local peak taking us directly towards the Anyar Khal pass. Here we met a group of local ladies in their seventies accompanied by one elder man proceeding in the opposite direction.

We attracted curious looks as they probably met the first outsiders (in shorts) in their entire lifetime in this remote, undocumented path. Many questions were fired – unfortunately with limited response due to the lack of a common language. Few people speak English in the small villages in North. After bypassing the local peak, we continued our way on top of the ridgeline descending towards the Anyar Khal.

A newly built road – hardly used – crosses the pass where an elder person man’s has a small dhaba. We settled around a big log burning outside to warm ourselves from the afternoon cold. Two Maggie – extra juicy – with egss and veggies were ordered and devoured with satisfaction after a 6 hour hike with solid elevation gain. We now descended along a rock path following a ridge into the valley bypassing the newly built road.

It took us through small picturesque homes, one of which locals where peeling hundreds of freshly lpucked oranges drying the skin and fruit seperately. The trail merged with the road near the colorful village of Medh, houses painted in soft pastel colors. With little traffic commuting we continued along the serene dirt road taking in the soothing sights of scenic hamlets below in the valley. 

Late afternoon we jumped into a passing Bolero share taxi heading towards Budha Kedar 15km down the road. The broken road hair pinned down into the valley as local ladies in the jeep were chatting with the young driver who smoothly navigated the vehicle around pot holes and steep curves. We reached out destination by 5pm and indulged in fried veg mommo’s after a short visit to the ancient temple.

We recharged phones and powerbanks while enjoying cream roles and black tea in my favorite dhaba which I was visiting for the third time. The owner, an elderly gentleman, knows me well always glad to assist with any needed guidance. The night was really cold along the confluence of Dharm Ganga and Bal Ganga rivers with a cold wind blowing through the open valley. The owner suggested we pitch up our tent on the grounds of the closed school near the temple.

We jumped the compound wall and slept off peacefully in the middle of the small town wind blocked from all sides. Tomorrow s plan was to climb up the ridgeline separating both valleys to the Masar Tal lake at 3000m, a 1700m ascent from Budha Kedar along a historical pilgrim route.

Trans Hima 2020 – 34 Siri to Anyar Khal We woke up from a cosy night below the warm blankets in a home in Siri, last…

Posted by Peter Van Geit on Wednesday, 7 April 2021