I remember on my second day, I stayed back in Dhankar to watch the brilliant sunset. I had to go back to Kaza so I hitch-hiked in an Innova with a group of people from Pune. They were to drop me off near the de-tour to Lalung and I had to hitch-hike till Kaza again. Mid-way it started getting dark so they wanted to drop me somewhere only if I found a cab. After driving a little bit ahead of the de-tour, I insisted that they drop me there and leave as I didn't want to derail their travel plans. After a few minutes it got very scary as there was absolutely no light around - just huge mountains in pitch dark and the sound of the river. I didn't realize how scary the sound of water can be till that point. I kept my calm and decided to walk till I found a house.
I ran away to the valley of Spiti for a couple of weeks this August. As you can see from the pictures, words can't do justice to the splendour of these Spitian villages (if it doesn't seem so, blame my photography skills). But Spiti isn't for the weak hearted; you have to travel on few of the most treacherous roads, ride through high altitude passes and walk across ice-cold nalas at times (on one occasion we did so by forming human chains). I was alone and thrown out of my comfort zone - I changed plans on the spur of the moment, hiked for hours on mountains and forged new friendships .
It's a lazy Saturday night and I stare at a map of Spiti for the umpteenth time wondering if I had come back from Spiti too soon. The memories are still fresh and the salty taste of the Spitian butter tea still lingers on my tongue. I lose track of time and wonder if I had left a little bit of myself somewhere back in those mountains, surreal landscapes and starry skies. Or maybe with those truly amazing mountain folks and travellers.