We hired a driver to take us from Haridwar to Uttarkashi. We stayed 5 kilometers outside of town at the Shakkir Nature Preserve. “Preserve” is overstated, but they have considerable waterfront on the Ganges in a pretty mountain setting. We stayed in huts (or fixed tents) with attached baths. Meals are included. It’s all very civililzed. In late afternoon, they serve tea and biscuits in the shade beside the tent. We are addressed as “sir” and “madam.”
In the morning, women with baskets climb the mountain across from our lodging. Men with mules go into the riverbed and sledge hammer stones apart for construction material. Some shepherds drive their flocks to higher ground. A couple of young women gather watercress where a brook enters Mother Ganga.
I read “Touching My Father’s Soul” by Jamling Tenzing Norgay. The son of Tenzing Norgay tells how his father became the first man to climb Everest with Sir Edmund Hilary. He also tells his own story of his relationship with the mountain. Many of the places he writes about are places I have just visited. Many of his comments about Tibetan or Sherpa life correspond to what I observed. It’s an interesting book that weaves serveral stories and themes together. When I was finished reading it, I gave it to a young climber from the Nehru Mountaineering Institute. He was happy to receive my gift.
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