A way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 1st visit

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It is 10 years in 2014 since my first visit to Ladakh. There is something to celebrate I believe and thought going to Ladakh in winter would be a good way of celebration. That's what I did last January. Without any booking except that for the flights, with no specific plans, without big preparations. Just there was more cloth than usually in my rucksack.

I wanted to check how Ladakh looks like in winter. How much snow is there? How freezing is it?

I wanted to check what an independent trekker could do there in winter. I didn't mean the famous chadar which would require going in a group. As usually, I wanted to trek independently with all my stuff on my back (no guide, no horses) and on my own.

I expected it would be cold so decided not to take tent and rely on homestay accommodation. I also expected high passes to be difficult and quite dangerous for a solo trekker so I was thinking about rather easier routes along valleys with relatively short daily stages which could always finish in a village.

So I landed in Leh on Jan the 5th and checked in the Asia Guesthouse - one of my favourite places in Leh hosted by Sonam Angchuk and his family. They are normally closed in winters but seeing them in Sept last year we decided I could stay there on the homestay basis. Sounds perfect, doesn't it? This meant no heating in the room, no running water, Ladakhi composite toilet, etc. Quite fine for me... But I remember the thermometer in my watch laying next to me on my bed, showing -8°C at night. And the fantastic view of Stok Kangri in the morning from my room window. That is how it started. :)

Stok Kangri seen from Leh on a January morning