Next morning was also a pool of excitement and challenges. It was no less than a BSF fresh recruit training starting with never-say-die attitude porters vociferating for bed tea【read tent tea】The task was to come out of the sleeping bags and shred ice frozen on your sleeping bags, water bottles, chocolates, cigarette packs, biscuit packs, shoes, trekking pole etc etc etc... The list guess on. The Kashmiri kawa served as bed tea is no less than "Jameson on the rocks" in Irish cafe. It is super refreshing and fills your body with a much requisite warmth and stamina to step outside of your tent. Followed by high on protein and carbs rich snacks we were asked to wind up pack our bags up to get ready for a 10km long trek to Shingra koma.
It was a very tricky walk for all of us because the chadar was not formed well at some places. We had to take detours on the rocky walls and manage to find better chadar. Our trek guide Sandy was at his best to guide all of us. We were flabbergasted to see many frozen waterfalls and were all super excited to see pug marks of snow leopard too. I am more of a jogger than a walker however my wife n me, we had a different plan. Decided to not participate in a Drag Race but to have fun along the way, walk slow and inhaling every fragment of beauteousness the region had to offer, hence we walked the "Path less travelled". Along the way the mighty chadar showed us many of her colours from a coating of fresh powder snow, hard and shiny ice, a freshly formed chadar, chadar that is weak and breaking or another new texture. New surprise at every turnstile.
When in Rome, do the Romans - and yes if you ever watched discovery's Explore Alaska than you know what Penguins walk is which is a savior in Chadar. The first hiccup was the 75° climb which was an onset of further apprehensions for my wife meaning cursing,crying, fighting but still doing it. It was a straight steep rock climbing as chadar for that part wasn't formed properly. We saw lot of people standing n staring for hours to arrive to the decision of finally doing it as there was no other alternative. I went up first and there was no scope of waiting to see my wife climbing up or NOT coz of space constrain..I waited for almost 15 minutes in fret to finally see wifie making it to the top with tears of fear and success rolling down well almost rolling down her cheeks. While we learned to walk on the thick slippery sheet of ice, most of us kept falling while walking. It was funny but it was ineluctable. On the way we saw a cave Bakula bawo which was used by first Rimpochee of ladakh to meditate and hence considered holy. We spent lot of time in photographing and this achieved the title of sloth for being really slow however to our surprise our guide sandy picked the best of the lot and named him 'Kachua' (tortoise) - vidhaan ;) a fun loving guy from our group for being the slowest.
We managed to reach Shingra Koma campsite in about 8 hours from Tilat Sumdo. The campsite was set up theatrically under the huge stone walls where Zanskar makes a near U turn. The site believed to have got its name Shingra Koma from a plant called 'Shingra' which is abundantly present in that particular valley. I may not have sighted the gorgeous camouflaged creature, but we knew, we were in its territory and I am sure it would've spotted us from its den and laughing at us slipping and sliding on the ice.
Having slipped in our respective cosy tents, the energy from our body was plenary flushed to be able to come out for dinner, we decided to survive by hogging on biscuit, chips and kawa served by porters. One thing for sure, the porters and cooks have energy out of nowhere and seems like the way they walk,talk,cook and set up the campsites is entirely magically derived from the aura of the valley.
We spent some time chatting with our instamade trek groupmate and post that we listened to few romantic numbers on my JBL portable speaker with much required smokes followed by the excitement and nervousness of the next day's trek to Tibb which was going to be staggering 17 Kms.