“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”
The last few days before Leh proved to be more difficult than we had thought. After completing two passes in a day, we figured we would have an easy two days out, gaining only about 500m of elevation in order to reach Leh, the capital of Ladakh and a pleasant tourist city situated in the mountains. Boy were we wrong! Instead of simply gaining the elevation we needed, we instead climbed another two unofficial passes, gaining and loosing 600m… Twice. And that doesn’t even include the smaller ups and downs which lead us through this high desert terrain. It wasn’t simply the altitude (3,500-4,000m) that was difficult either, it was the extremely intense heat (40c) beating down on us constantly and, as we were really in a desert, there was no shade or water.
Cycling on the moon. Ladakh certainly has a very different landscape from the surrounding areas. It is extremely dry all year round, and though there was a bit of snow left on the higher peaks, for the most part the landscape looked like something from the moon, a dry deserted type of place where no humans can live.
Every once and while we would turn a corner and encounter a small oasis of green which typically hosted a small village. The houses here are made of rock and blend in with the desert landscape.
Many of the villages throughout the area were also built around monasteries which were always perched on some cliff. There were also remains from monasteries which are centuries old.
We followed a beautifully turquoise river for a day, the famous Indus, which reflected the light of the sun in a way we had never seen. The clean water was extremely cold (snow melt) but was perfect for an after-cycle bath.
The best part about these rough few days were definitely the descents, where, for the first time since cycling in the USA ten months ago, I surpassed 70km/h!
Oh, and the yaks, they were pretty great too! (Especially when you find them outside a temple’s bathroom).