DUST

Bike (USA) - - Contents -

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.

BY WILL RITCHIE | PHOTO: BRUNO LONG

ROOP­KUND VAL­LEY, IN­DIA | MAY 28, 2018 | 1:51 P.M.

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