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Mt. SECMOL

Starting at 5:00 AM SECMOL time, 4:00 actual/Leh time, dragons grouped together with our water bottles filled and our headlights on and ready. SECMOL is one hour ahead of Leh time on account of the community’s reliance on sunlight to complete daily chores as well as energize their solar panels, so the community wakes up with the sun to fall asleep with it as well. A couple of students led us through the campus and out the gate into a field full of sand, in which we began our climb up. Starting in the dark, I focused on the sweep of my feet through the sandy terrain turning into a crunch of the rocks that marked the side of the mountain. Then, as the mountain continued to reveal itself, at first in the light of my head lamp and then with the sun peaking behind the mountain, we saw a steep and never-ending journey ahead, so I started to focus on regulating my breath. With limited great and motivation reminding, we were able to see the prayer flags that marked our final point. We overlooked the, what appeared to be tiny, Indus river frozen, as we were unable to see the white water created by the rocks, now the campus that had once seemed of size, was hard to spot. We saw villages recognizable by their green and lush landscape, surrounded by the barren Ladakh mountains. On our descent down from the mountain, we shuffled our feet which ignited the tiny pebbles to tumble down the hill in hopes to not slip and if we did slip, we tried to make sure it was short lived. We went down singing any song that both dragons and SECMOL students knew, including top charted Justin Bieber songs, to distract ourselves from the scary and traction-less/small path that continued on in front of us leading us back to campus . We slipped and ran bouncing all around finding rocks to stomp on to give us moments to catch our breathe and continue on. Mount SECMOL led to an amazing view and provided a great workout to prepare us for our next trek.