Introducing myself to India and the Himalayas by way of running was a challenging first date. I look forward to trying a second time.

Synonymous with Embassy travel warnings,  international conflict, and human rights violations, the Jammu and Kashmir I have experienced is certainly not what I believe most people imagine when they think of India. At an altitude of more than 3 350m, I arrived in Leh, to a jigsaw of bazaars, tinned roofs, street vendors and tourist agencies among warm smiles and hot tea. Mini buses and jeeps based in the Buddhist community raced tourists throughout the Trans-Himalayan region in anticipation of the next best fare.  

Visual impairment aside, narrow, windy roads littered with cows searching for their next meal, children leisurely making their way to school, motorbikes hightailing and buses clashing with dump trucks,  do not bold well for making my way to and from the modest guesthouse I called home for two weeks. Acclimatizing went notably smooth and running throughout Ladakh up over 4000m within a few days of arrival was pleasing though something did not feel quite right. Running in the barren mountain-scape, a remarkable  land of passes and prayer flags, I felt misplaced. With intense heat from the early morning hours, many oasis highented my hope for inspiration ahead became mirages teasing with my eye.

Though associated with safety concerns, I feel Ladakh is not so with trail running. Introducing myself to India and the Himalayas by way of  running felt like a first date gone wrong. There was little chemistry  and I knew it was best for me to move on. Thankful for the opportunity, beautiful views and admirable qualities though suited for someone else, namely a hiker or historian, not for me. Heading to Nepal with hope for a better match, possibly even a second date.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *