India (July-August 2019): A meandrous 24-day trek in the Kargil and Kishtwar districts of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir

Leg 3: Agsho to Sani across Agsho La and Muni La (Part 2/3)

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Views of the itinerary in Google Earth:

[Reminder: Click here (kmz file) and open the downloaded file in Google Earth to access the GPS waypoints that I recorded during the trek: red pins for starts and finishes, green for camps, brown for passes, and yellow for other waypoints. Orange markers have been added; they are not GPS waypoints.]


Left: View of the entire third leg, with only a subset of GPS waypoints. Right: View of the second part of the third leg, with all the waypoints.




Brief description:

On the first day of this section we continued our descent of the valley south of Agsho La, until we reached the valley of the Bujwas Nala. We set our first camp at the hamlet of Sumcham (WP #091). On the second day we entered the valley of the Danlong Nala at the hamlet of Drangha (WP #093). We then hiked up this valley, putting two successive camps at WP #097 and WP #101. While the permanent settlements in the region, like Sumcham and Drangha, are predominantly Buddhist, we encountered a number of Muslim shepherds in the valley south of Agsho La and in the Danlong Nala valley. These shepherds, who live there only during the summer months, are members of a non-Kashmiri semi-nomadic tribe, the Bakarwals, distributed over parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Unlike most of the rest of the trek this part of the itinerary lies in the northern region of the Kishtwar district of Jammu & Kashmir, known as Padder.


Day 19 (of trek): From WP #086 to the hamlet of Sumcham (WP #091) in the Bujwas Nala valley

View toward Agsho La at sunrise from the camp at WP #086, with Chiring peak partially lit by sunlight.


View toward the south from the camp.


Reflections on the lake.



Further down in the valley south of Agsho La.


Shepherds, sheep, and horses.








As we had made a break to drink tea, this shepherd came and talked a lot. I have no idea what he told us.


View of the lower part of the valley.


We then reached the Bujwas Nala valley. In 2018, I had pitched my tent in this meadow after descending from Umasi La (another pass between Zanskar and Padder). This year the meadow was flooded.


View toward the east of the Bujwas Nala valley. (The Muni La West pass marked on the Olizane map is somewhere in the background.)


Day 20: From Sumcham (WP #091) in the Bujwas Nala valley to the camp at WP #097 in the Danlong Nala valley on a rainy day

Huge hard-packed snow patch covering the trail and the Bujwas Nala below Sumcham (on a very foggy morning).


Woman and child crossing the snow patch.


House in Drangha (WP #093).


Inside that house. The family living there were relatives of Tundup. They invited us to drink tea and eat chapattis with butter.


Shepherd in Drangha. The hamlet serves as a sort of trading post for the shepherds in the nearby valleys.


Misty Danlong Nala above Drangha.



In a friendly shepherd settlement along the way, where I was offered tea while it was pouring outside.



Other shepherds at the settlement, apparently visiting from other settlements.


We set our camp a short distance above the settlement (WP #097) on a nice flat meadow next to the Danlong Nala.


Day 21: An entire day along the Danlong Nala, from WP #097 to our camp at WP #101 next to another shepherd settlement

View toward the west at sunrise from the camp at WP #097.


Further up in the valley, still in the early morning.


First view of the valley under bright sunshine.


Tundup facing a cut in the trail caused by landslide.


Shepherd encountered in the valley. He was well-dressed and was probably going to Drangha or perhaps even further to Gulabgahr (the main town in the Padder region).


The impressive walls and glacier of Kalidahar (5370m), on the left (south) bank of the Danlong Nala.




Islands of pink flowers in middle of the valley.


View of the entrance of the side-valley that will take us toward Muni La on the next day.


A peek into the side-valley.


Pink flowers at the entrance of the side-valley.



A peak (5340m) forming a quasi-perfect pyramid standing in front of the side-valley, on the opposite side of the Danlong Nala.


Shepherd settlement where we pitch our camp (WP #101).


Lenticular cloud above a small peak at the entrance of the side-valley, seen from our camp in the evening.




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