Trip to the Tso Moriri Lake
Together with Patrick, Bettina and Anneliese we booked a trip to Tso Moriri some 210 km from Leh. The lake is only accessible for tourist since the middle of the 90's. These days you still need a permission because it lies in a restricted area. With public means of transport it cannot be reached.
The journey went on for a long time along the Indus Valley on a good tared road. However we had to leave this road and drove for hours over gravel and dirt traks, passing through bleak moon landskapes, over mountain passes to finaly reach Tso Moriri Lake after six hours at 4500m above sea level. There is a only one small village at the 27km long lake, which lies to the feet of the highest mountain of Ladakh (Lungser Kangri 6666m). For tourists tents are available to stay overnight.
The lake with the mountains surround it, as well as the light of the sun making fascinating silouettes in the water, was a marvelous experience.
For me the altitude sikness with sleeplessness as a symptom, was not as great. Through this though I was lucky to see a starlit sky, which was not disturbed by any artificial light. And you will not find such a silence often too.
We got up early the next morning to go up the valley for an hour. We were told there us were nomads with their yaks.
Another world was awayting us. On lush green medows with many streems there were many black and white tents of the nomads. Donkeys, pashmina goats, dogs, cows and yaks  were chewing between them. We walked through this area watching the busy nomads. The women had driven the goats together to milk. Men with hand spindles were spinning the the pashmina wool and children were jumping around.
At a somewhat wider stream courage left me and I saw no possibility to jump over it or to wade through. Elias was already standing on the other side and a loud conversation developed between us. Our controversy scene was observed by an interested nomade girl. After some time she jumped over the water and came to me. She spoke no word, only looked at me and jumped back to the other side in another place. So finaly she showed me the place, where I could jump over stream.
We had a picnick amidst the munching yaks and returned back to our tents
later. The time passed quite fast and in the evening it became quite cool so we went to bed early.
The next morning we packed our things early and drove over gravel jeep traks to the Tso Kar Lake five hours away. This lake is a salt lake, looking like lumps of eis cacking the edge. On the way we saw many murmeltiere, a kiang (wild donkey), bizarre landscapes, stone deserts and green valleys. In a bleak landscape in a totaly
remote area there was a large building. The driver explained it to be a school for the nomads. The imagination of living and learning here frightened me.
After the Tso Kar we soon arrived on the well-known Manali Leh road. We still had 140 km (4 hours) of jeep journey ahead of us. We crossed the Tanglangla Pass (5328 m), the second highest motorable pass of the world and reached Leh in the evening completely stinking, exhausted and with muscule pains in the back side. Desite the hardship a beautiful experience!

Susanne, August 2005

Tso Moriri, a 27km long lake at 4500m altitude

On a high medow between yaks

Prayer stones

Tso Kar salt lake

Taglangla pass, aparently the second highest pass of the world