Serie – III , through the by-lanes of high altitude Nerak Village : Chadar 2017

DAY IV : Wandering to Nerak Gongma & Nerak Yokma

Woke up to the sounds of other groups calling out for breakfast, today was a lazy day compared to the previous days. The agenda for the day was trek to the famous frozen water fall followed by a visit to the Nerak Yokma and Nerak Gogma villages situated up a steep mountain trail. The waterfall was definitely worth a visit, surprisingly it has no name and is basically spring water that freezes in the winter to create the magnificent effect. The climb to Nerak village was steep but definitely doable and after few hours i was at Nerak Gogma (Note : Gogma means upper & Yokma means lower ).  The village comprised of a rudimentary health dispensary and a solar plant. The children study at the residential school at Lingshed and thereafter shift to Ladakh for further studies. In the winters they come to village for holidays. The children trek to Lingshed village crossing Zingla pass at a height of 5200 mts. Now this is  definitely something to think about.

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Life is tough no doubt but the resilience of mankind makes it possible to survive here even in harsh winters. The ration comes from settlement of Wonla , a small settlement high up across the Zing La pass and in the olden days , the same used to be done as a part of community event using horses to take the load. The ration used to be purchased for the entire year view for even now Nerak village is connected to the outside world only through trails, there is no fixed roads that have been built.

The fields are tended in the monsoon and winter months; monsoon is a dichotomy for there is nothing called monsoon out here. Each family out here owns mainly yaks n sheep and maybe horses. The houses are all built using locally made material and catering to the climatic conditions. There is a satellite phone provided which is used to summon government/army helicopter assistance in case if serious medical requirement comes up. I saw a solar plant too being built in readiness to providing electricity demands through the year , a welcome step indeed.

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The village comprised of around 30 families and religious belief consists of a monastery built at the upper flat land overlooking the village. There is a gigantic Juniper tree in the centre of Nerak Gogma , which is the epicentre of belief in the Buddhism sect.Yaks are the mainstay out here with each house raising at least one , there are few horses too but Yaks form the backbone of support out here from tending the fields to lugging loads to organic produce.

After the visit i was back to camp site and had a late lunch and then relaxed for the remaining day. As evening approached I wandered around the camp site seeing the activities of various other trekkers, indulging in discussions and making new acquaintances. Tomorrow we would be retracing out path back to Chilling with the first stop being Hoton ahead of Tip Yokma itself.

The return leg is nothing that I would like to describe in depth rather I would work towards penning down few observations of this wonderful trek.

Various Camp Site locations

Zar 4 kms ahead of Chilling. Water available
Bakula  Open campsite. Few caves too available
Shingra  Open campsite .Water available
Hoton  Open campsite. Quite narrow. Water available
Tip Yokma  Open campsite. Few caves available. Water available
Nerak campsite  Open campsite. Two homestays also available. Ration available. Water available
Lingshed village  Homestays available
Padum  Homestays available.

Note on Ice.      Ice is the omnipresent factor of this trek and it has a changing face every day, every few hours. It is to be understood that we are talking about ice and not snow. The ice changes as per the prevailing weather and climatic conditions. A route that was safe and secure today will be the most adverse tomorrow, few hours in the night can change a successful trek to a failure and vice versa. The ice when frozen is very hard and definitely has the potential to hurt if someone suffers a fall on it while the brittle ice ensures that it cracks and plunges the trekker into the icy river water below. Hence it is of paramount importance that the trekker understands ice and its element adapting to it in order to understand.

In case one comes in contact with the icy waters, please understand that the particular wet clothing needs to be changed ASAP. If not done it would result in the water freezing thereby causing further complications to the trekker hence it is important to understand what to carry in the day backpack. Most importantly the clothing especially the lower pants have to be water proof to safeguard the inner leggings from coming in contact with water.

The trek is a experience in itself and the region is a world in itself. There is so much that one is exposed to and it is poured into the inner-conscious being every moment while one is out there .

Trek particulars will come in a separate article in a short time .

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