2. Hiking in Pin Valley
A. and I decided to travel together from Nako, and our next stop was Tabo. We took the Peo to Kaza bus, which arrives in Nako between 11am-12pm, and got down at Tabo (this was a gruesome ride as we didn't find seats and had to stand all the way). We stayed in Tabo Monastery guest house, and met a group of four geology students heading next to Pin valley to study fossils. We joined them next day, and took a taxi from Tabo to Pin valley, with a brief halt in Dhankar monastery. The drive to Pin valley is beautiful. One can also take a bus from Kaza to get there. Mudh is the last village in valley and has few home-stays. We found rooms at Tara home-stay, a seemingly popular place according to internet. Again, in peak season it is advisable to prebook, as rooms are mostly taken up for long-term stay by Israelis, who are very fond of the high (heh heh) places in Himalayas.
Another thing to note is complete lack of network connectivity throughout Spiti and Pin valleys. Sometimes BSNL is rumored to work, but don't bet your life on it. Only in Kaza, there is a decent chance of getting phone and wifi connectivity.
The owner of home-stay told us that we could go on a day-hike from village in the Pin valley national forest. One can walk as long as one wants, and then turn back. Eventually, if one keeps walking the trail leads one to Bhaba base camp, and Pin-Bhaba pass. Mudh is at an altitude of ~4000 m. and my estimate is that we didn't go beyond 4200/4300 m. during hike.
So next morning, we got some Aloo paranthas packed for lunch, and headed out. We'd to cross a raging mountain stream over a foot bridge to get to the trail. The hike was more like a nice stroll, on a well worn trail. Though after 30-40 minutes of walking, we started running into ice-patches/mini-glaciers covering the trail, and for a while it was fun to walk over snow, which was a little slushy, allowing us some foothold. Though there were few rough patches, 20-30 ft long, with a sharp incline and once I just sat down and decided to slide instead of taking chance walking on an extremely slippery slope. In July-September timeframe, trail should be without any snow. We occasionally saw villagers herding sheep, otherwise we'd the whole trail to ourselves. We walked for around 4 hours, had lunch near a stream, and then turned back. As we got close to Mudh, we met two ladies from the village who were herding sheep and they offered us tea. They told that sheep are owned by whole village and people take turns throughout the year herding them.
The views throughout the hike were spectacular, I'll let the pictures speak.