Quest for the Gray Ghost: Tracking the snow leopard in Ladakh
The urgent shout, the one we've been waiting for, comes from outside my tent somewhere. I'm half asleep, half dressed and cradling a cup of chai to warm half-frozen hands, but the words get my whole attention. "Leopard! Leopard! Leopard!" I scramble: Chai sloshes across my pants as I shove feet into socks, pull a sweater over my head, cram gloves and hat into pockets, unzip my tent with one hand and grab my camera and boots with another. I sprint in my socks to where Sonam, the tracker who shouted the alert, stands, head down, seemingly merged with the telescope. After a quick "jullay" (an all-purpose Ladakhi word for hello, goodbye and thank you), he steps quickly aside to let me look.