Kashmir - To the Mountains!

Welcome to the Pir Panjal, the range that separates Indian-controlled Kashmir(where I was) from Pakistan to the west.

Looking towards Gulmarg, and the world's highest lift-served skiing...

Riding to the top amid beech and fir trees. They only have about 5 cars, so you have to wait your turn for quite a while at the bottom.

The lift, purported to be the world's highest, tops out at 13,800', and offers a good view of the Pir Panjal Range to the south and west. Pakistan is off to the right-hand (west) side by just a few miles. A lot of this is heli-skied in the winter. At $2000 a day, only rich Russians need apply...

While on top, I happened to run into the Jammu & Kashmir Governor and his extensive entourage (complete with doctor toting a portable oxygen tank--guy with the strap). I rushed up to the huffing Guvna' as he made his way into the car for the trip back down and said, "Sir, I'm an American (I hated to admit it...)and would love to take your picture to show to people back home." His wife (in red) smiled at me nicely. I smiled back ever so nicely. He grudgingly assented and struck this somewhat jaunty pose. Then he turned and resumed his hunched shuffle to the waiting cablecar...

Dadoo (L) And Umar. Dadoo (Azziz's son) was mostly in charge of spiriting me around in the luxurious 2007 Toyota or the more utilitarian Gypsy King jeep. Umar manages at the Gulmarg hotel where I stayed.

Above Pahalgam, east of Srinagar, in the Lidder River Valley. Beautiful, no?