At 16,499 feet, deep within India’s Himalaya, the clear, cool refreshing waters of Roopkund Lake lap peacefully atop the Trishu massif. Three hundred human skeletons litter the lake’s bottom.
It makes for a popular trek. ‘Skeleton’ Lake is a sight to see. As glacial ice and snow recede, a boneyard rears its … skulls.
As can be the case for anything garnering global attention in a third-world country eager for tourism’s doling dollar, you have to pay to play. Permits, permission, a guide, the government, everybody gets a cut.
Senior photographer Bruno Long, KC Deane, Geoff Gulevich and Mitch Chubey made the trek on two wheels, pedaling over ancient cobblestone, slate, fine dirt, proper roots and past …
“7-Elevens. You can buy chips and pop, order chai tea, order cigarettes, charge your phone, your camera,” explained Long.
They weren’t actually 7-Elevens, but it’s what the group referred to them as— local lean-tos quick to cater to a weary traveler. As the pedaling progressed, as did the abundance of amenities offered conveniently trek-side.
“The inside was crazy. Electronic cords everywhere. I don’t know if this one was lost in translation, or the owner had a sense of humor putting ‘hotel’ on the side, but we knew we had to stop, all go in,” Long furthered.
As for the skeletons? Freak hailstorm in the ninth century, annihilated everybody.
Here’s to treks—be they living, dead, or of the blue tarp ‘hotel’ variety.
ROOPKUND VALLEY, INDIA | MAY 28, 2018 | 1:51 P.M.