Kevin Swains
Travel Website
This is Kev's Travel Blog
Kashmir Trek days 3/4
Trout fishing on my rest day in Vishan Sar
I awake early ready to empty the lake of trout before all the nosey nobodies come to dob me in. The lake is cyrstal clear and their not a breath of wind. I creep stealthily to the waters edge and see Mr and Mrs trout everywhere....BUT....they also see me and quickly sod off into deeper waters. But I'm not too disheartened as I can see hundreds of fish rising and I cast out my spinner....about only half as far as I need to be out, the fish are way beyond my reach.  Not to be outsmarted by a dumb slimy fish I scour the shores sure a bag full is only minutes hour passes and nothing.
I soon understand that I either need some breeze across the water to hide me and bring to the water edge or use a fly, that I don't have. I accept that today is not to be my day and to accept the better option of believing it's all about the experience and not the fish.
Kishan Sar lake. The 4200m pass just visible to the right
Then Laura pops over the hill, does her usual and plops herself on a rock and talks. She's obviosly still cursing her position but is slowly getting over it. We talk and talk about what to do again to 'bust her out' of her houseboat, the major sticking point is neither she nor Gabriele know what boat they are staying on. Laura takes the fishing rod and gives her best. I pray that she doesn't catch one and show me up and the Gods oblidge this time and she loses my spinner, not just any spinner, it's my killer demon spinner gaurenteed to net a pot full....
I pass the rest of the day resting as the Guardia is coming back so I take some different medicine hoping to get me to the end of the trek, 5 days away. There is nothing that will stop me seeing the photo in the Lonely Planet.
Vishan Sar and Kishan Sar viewed from the pass
Stuff my face at Gulam Mohameds house with Chai, omlettes and heaps of chapatis for Rp50. I think it's just what I needed.
Whithin 5mins of walking I come across a local with a deep cut to his ankle. He walks over and asks for help. It's common for this to happen in the hills and the locals will always track down the tourists as they know how well stocked up with medicines we are. The only thing I cannot understand is their total lack of basic hygene as they don't even wash it with water but instead leave it to fester. I clean it, cover it and give him supplies for the next bandage change. He leaves and tells me Allah is on my side....thank God for that.
Looking towards Gadsar from the pass
It's takes me forever to climb the pass, but as I do I realise two very important things, 1: my camera has been set on low res for the past two days and 2: I realise that the lake where I've been camping for the last 2 days is indeed the lake in that Lonely Planet just neede the perspective from the pass. I was almost sideways from my gasp of realisation.
I take a rest on the top off the pass to be joined by a shepherd who speaks little English but I talk to him and tell him my plans anyway. Then he says in bloody good English "people are good in Gadsar but the tomorrow the people are not to be trusted". It really seemed like thats all the English he could speak!? I admired the views towards Gadsar (above) with steep moss covered peaks and baby glaciers to my left, distant lakes flowing into each other in the valley base and smooth grassy hills to my right. I has no idea where my next stop of Gadsar village was though?
Gadsar Village
I seem to walk forever and each time I ask a local for Gadsar they seem to imply that it's anywhere so I just keep on walking and hoping. Then I see some Indian graffiti on a rock and take it as a sign i'm 100% on track.
Some hours later I see a rather splendid looking village (above) with hoses built into the hillside in the distance and head towards it. There's a lake behind it so I assume it's Gadsar. I walk past the first house and glimpse inside, it's very impressive and I hope to be invited inside for chai, but no luck. Than I walk past the last house and some bozz-eyed gypsy literally jumps out in front of me and blocks my way and starts forcing me inside his house. I have to force him away but he's got good body laguage so I'm not worried but I want to see whats over the hill only 10m away and break from his grip to do so while telling him I'll be back. I can see the campsite in the distance only 15mins away. I return to chai boy ato negotiate a price and as always he say 'free-free-free'.
Chai stop in Gadsar Village
I give in and enter, bracing myself for more begging for my socks. I sit and admire the ship shape house. The walls are all smooth mud and painted will small flowers and the shelves are covered in overhanging newspaper cut into an array of diamond shapes and there's impressive saddles to my left. He lights the fire (above)and proudly makes me a propper cup of milk tea and I mean propper tea, it's non other than bloody Brook Bond!
Then it happens....where are your socks from, I knew it! I tell him Nepal and his mate gestures to his nose and says small nose, refering to the Nepalis small noses. He says good socks and leaves it at that. I suddenly like him, a genuine sock admirer! I sup more tea before asking how much and all there step back and refuse outright to accept any money, very good people yet tainted by tourism. It still amazes me how one pass can change people so much as probably only 10% of people trek over from the lakes this way. It also makes is hard to try and understand the locals minds without prior knowledge.
Roughing it at Gadsar
I bode farewell and head down to try and find the girls and a camp ground. I find their tents and ask their cook where they are and told they are inside sleeping but I feel  bad tones in the cooks voice. I sit on a nearby rock and within 2 minutes the girls pony man comes and asks me where I'm going to camp and I tell him near the girls. Suddenly....he raises his voice at me and begins to abuse me with very angry tones and an aggeessive stance and tells me to camp somewhere else and stop following them, I'm totally taken aback.
On hearing this the girls clinb out of their tent to see whats happening and I inform them. The girls tell me they are camping there as the houses nearby are the pony mans friends and he says there are many tent slashing in Gadsar....great! Then it hits me that he's got numbers behind him, hence the attitude. When people are like this they are best to be avoided.I talk to the girls and we make final and definate plans for their bust out at 6pm on the 10th and as we talk they say a few things and suddenly everything about the pony man slots into place. I was led to believe that he was just some pony guy but he's actually best friends with the housebout owner....not good at all.
I wait till dust before I make a move downhill. I want to camp out of site but the village above has good views on nearly everywhere. I headoff onto a dry river bed dissapearing from site before back tracking up river to try and find a suitable site but everywhere is crap and rocky and the only place I can find is between some rocks (above) so I take it and pray it doesn't rain