Trans Himalaya 2019 – Shilla to Kanji, Aug 3

We woke up around 7am at our secluded paradise at a deserted home near the stream outside Shillakhong. The covered portico kept us dry from the morning drizzle. We went to collect water from the stream and cooked yummy vegetable noodle soup.We collected a handful of small sweet apricots from the trees in the garden and bid adieu to our fairytale campsite. We started walking upstream over the rocks in the riverbed along the medium sized stream.Soon the open valley turned into a narrow canyon with huge vertical orange colored rock walls lining both sides. The stream had cut its way through this massive mountain range over millions of years. The river snaked its way turning left and right between the steep canyon walls forcing us to cross the water a dozen times.Lucky the snow / glacial meltwater had reduced by early August so the force of the water currents allowed us to cross safely at knee level. Earlier in July crossing the stream would have been difficult. This beautiful canyon passage appeared not used anymore by hikers seeing the absence of horse poop or any trail or footsteps.We met no one along the way except 4 small, lonely donkeys traversing the canyon in the opposite direction. It took us a good 6 hours to cross the 20km long (200m wide) canyon with no trail, halting several times to breathlessly take in the magnitude of this unearthly landscape.At 3pm we finally reached the end where the valley opened up into the no man’s land between the Nigutse La and Yogma La passes. We turned right climbing up 600m along an infrequent used trail to the Yogma La at 4700m. The altitude was pretty high for Ganapathy my co-trekker on his 2nd day but he seemed to keep up well.From the top of the pass we got treated on beautiful views of both valleys. Below a herd of wild yaks was peacefully grazing the green meadows. Now and then the squeeking sound of a marmot who earned his companions of our approach. Strangely also I had been seeing quite a few pigeons during my traverse of Ladakh.Just before nightfall we reached a small hamlet at the base of the Yogma La. Three lonely homes inside lush green farmlands in the barren desert landscape. At one settlement we asked three elder gentlemen if we could stay and cook. They were cattle herders cum farmers having domesticated yaks, horses and sheep.They generously offered us firewood and some leftover rice and green veggies. We settled down in one of the animal enclosures which kept us warm from the cold wind at 4100m. Ganapathy prepared yummy oats with jagery for myself and had the rice himself.We dreamed off as Milky way slowly appeared in the night skies above us after the sun had settled below the horizon. Nothing but absolutely peacefulness band the distant music of the water in the stream.