Walking In

24 January 2018, Hemis National Park, Ladakh, India

 

We are in the cars and heading towards Hemis National Park, where we are to camp for eight days.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

On the way we pass a bridge festooned with prayer flags and banners.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

We stop at a cairn near the side of the road festooned with prayer flags and white silk.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Our drivers are conducting a ceremony to bless our trip with good fortune.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Down below in the Indus River, a bank of ice has formed around a gravel bar.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Even before getting into the National Park, the view is wild and barren.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

… and the mountains are majestic.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

I stopped to take a picture of this footbridge which I surmise has seen better days…

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

… when some of the ponies came wandering down the road.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

These are to take our bags from the cars to our camp.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

It was not a long walk to the camp and here is the yak Tashi hanging around near the kitchen.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

All the catering and organising is done by villagers from the nearby village Rumbak.  We are beside a small river and here a hole has been made in the ice for our water supply.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

A dramatic rock headland towers over the camp.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

After lunch, we head off to look for snow leopards and encountered some of the ponies along the way.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

We climb up to a ridge and some of our guides search for snow leopards in the mountain sides with spotting scopes.  This is a view from there showing a large stone pen in the valley below.

We didn’t see any snow leopards though earlier we passed a spot where a snow leopard had rubbed against a rock, marked the spot and left an indistinct paw print.  I didn’t think to take an image though it would have been fairly prosaic.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness

Nonetheless, we enjoy the play of the late afternoon light.

.

Buddhism, Hemis National Park, Horses, India, Ladakh, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Tibet, Travel, Wilderness .

Rescuing Sheep

Day 73. 11th September. Kerlingarfjöll to Landmannalaugar, Highlands, Iceland.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

Driving along a very damp cold backcountry road, I came across a group of people and horses beside the road and stopped to see what was going on.  It was autumn, winter was approaching and they had found a very late season lamb that would not survive left to its own devices.

.

Landmannalaugar 2

I was driving from Kerlingarfjöll south-west along the F35 or Kjölur route and we are near the Hvítá Bridge.  Later I would take a sharp left turn along the 32, F26 and F208 for my nighttime destination of Landmannalaugar.  The green area around Landmannalaugar is the Fjallabak Nature Reserve.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

Holding on to the lamb was one thing; they also needed to hang on to the ewe so it did not run off and leave the lamb separated from its mother.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

So the horses waited patiently while this was happening.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

One of the people asked me if I could transport the ewe and lamb in the back of my vehicle to a nearby barn and I was happy to agree.  In any case, the lower interior was aluminium and easy to clean.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

So here, the ewe and lamb are unloaded from the camper while a sheepdog carefully watches on to ensure that nothing is amiss.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

Heading into the barn.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

… where there were a number of very charming Icelandic horses.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

A little later, I watched the sheep being mustered to more suitable pastures, perhaps their winter pastures.  This is the bridge over the glacial river Hvítá.  Not far away on the left is Hvítárvatn (or White Lake), a lake fed by the glaciers Suðurjökull and Norðurjökull (So, I presume, North and South Glaciers) of the icecap Langjökull.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

I continued on my way.  The rain grew heavier so I did not stop to take many photographs.  This image and the next one are views of the Hvíta River to the south and west of the road, taken twenty and thirty minutes respectively further along the F35.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness .

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

This image is probably a glimpse of the River Tungnaá.  It and the last two are along the F208 on the way in to Landmannalaugar.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

Not much scope for agriculture here.

.

Architecture, Hellisfjall, Highlands, Horses, Iceland, Kerlingarfjöll, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Sheep, Travel, Wilderness

This last image is Frostastaðavatn (or Frosty Lake), just before Landmannalaugar.

.