Driving along the curving mountain roads in the classic Leh taxis on the first day of our second trek, I looked out the window and down the rocky cliff. Hundreds of feet below, the river raged against the dark red mountain canyon. I expressed my observation to the taxi of fellow students. A friend added that she had been reading about how people fail to acknowledge that black can’t exist without white and vise versa, and how similarly, mountains and valleys must be considered together as one entity. I though that was very interesting, and I quite liked that way of thinking about it, as we continued weaving alongside the river canyon by car.
We set off on our trek that first day, walking mostly up alongside that river. Small streams branched off to our campsites, but each day we continued to follow a river, up and up the valley, farther towards the looming mountains and the rocky paths ahead. The raging river continued to be a constant presence as we hiked on. We have camped next to small brooks that feed into the fast-moving water. The peaceful constant noise of the rushing water over rocks is always around us, calming us at night and giving off refreshing air during the sunny days in the valley.
As we move forwards and upwards during this trek, we follow this winding river as it leads us closer to its source, closer to the secret of its aqua-clear color. With each new day here, we have gathered an understanding of the beauty of the mountains around us and the precious life that is sustained by the river.
As we camped each night, under the bright moon and blanket of stars, I think of where we are, of how these mountains formed and the river created valleys to flow through, as it carved its way down around rocks, collecting and carrying the high mountains’ magic and wisdom down to us in the valley.