(Spoiler: we’re all fine)
Over and over again we’ve gotten bad news about the state of the road, and over and over again it’s turned out fine. But our luck had to run out sometime, so…
On our way from upper Kinnaur to middle Kinnaur, there was a landslide. We got stuck for a while between the slide ahead of us and some roadwork that started behind us (I just have to say, blasting the mountainside in an active landslide area does not seem like the smartest idea). We were hoping the landslide would stop long enough for the army to clear the road and we would be able to continue, but it just wasn’t happening. Eventually we were able to turn back and spent the night in Spillo (not the most charming of the towns we visited) before retracing our steps all the way back to Kullu Valley. We were all disappointed to not see the rest of Kinnaur (which is supposed to be nicer than the area we did get to see), but I didn’t really mind the long ride back. Every time we came back to a place, I could remember all the nice things that had happened there. Eating almonds on the roof in Pooh, climbing down the cliff side to meet the weavers of Malling, unlocking the door to the painted cave above Tabo. And new nice things too: picking berries off branches of sea-buckthorn in my lap, seeing a giant gold Buddha that we missed on the way there because we passed it in the dark, picking out the one yak in a herd of cows blocking the road. (It always comes back to the yaks.) So now I’m back in Naggar for a couple days, and it’s unbelievably lush after all the varieties of desert I’ve been through in the past couple weeks. I’m very sad to be leaving soon. I’ll post the backlog of notes over the next several days, and have several hundred photos to work through as well.