Monday, August 22, 2016

Bhutan's Druk Path Trek. Day 4.

Day four was the day we were going to reach our highest point of the trek.We were naturally excited.The day had started off with the cool mountain air waking me up as Ravi has left the flap open when he went out of the tent.As I made my way out I could see that the surrounding mountain tops were all covered up with snow.The snow fall which had started the day before must have continued in the night.The view was breathtaking.The mountain tops shone in the bright sunlight and everything wore a fresh look.

 After breakfast we started off on our trail.We walked past the lake to our left and continued straight ahead.The terrain was rocky with bushes of a muddy green colour here and there spread over the area.To be honest this was a bit dull.As we continued waking we came across a stream which was completely frozen.In some areas I could see that only the top layer was frozen making for a transparent layer.Underneath it crystal clear water flowed gently.We walked along this stream,over the frozen waters playfully breaking the ice here and there with our sticks.At one point we branched off from the stream and continued on the trail.After an hour of walking,we reached a point which provided a magnificent views of the surrounding mountains.We were on top of a hill ahead of which lay a huge valley.Directly opposite was the face of another hill.We stopped here, had some snacks and took a lot of pics.The altitude at this point was 4000MSL.

We then marched off.We kept walking and sometime later far ahead we could spot a lake nestled in the middle of a mountain.It was still far away.The landscape was neither still the same dullish green with rocks everywhere.Not particularly enticing. This stretch reminded me of the movie 'Wild' where Reese Witherspoon treks along the Pacific Crest Trail.We approached the lake after some half an hour after the first sighting.There was a broken down dwelling made up of stones nearby where abhishek, Satya and Ravi settled down. Ishita didi went downwards towards the lake to have a closer look and to take some pics.After that short break we again resumed our walk.The trail now traversed through a completely rocky terrain.There were sections of stone walls with crumbling rocks clinging to the sides and some heaps of smaller stones accumulated at the bottom.And finally as we walked over a final stretch of uphill ascent we arrived at the highest point of our trek. My watch showed the altitude to be 4100MSL. We stopped here and took some pics.

Then we started our downhill walk.Again we walked past some spectacular cliffs.An hour's walk through this magnificent terrain bought us finally to the last prayer wheel on this trek.From here we could spot the city of Thimphu down below.We stopped for some much needed rest and took a lot of pics here. We wanted to spend some more time here but Sangayji insisted we move ahead.
From here it is a complete downhill walk.We walked past a quaint building built at the edge of a hill.I don't what it was but its location was excellent.As we trudged downhill far ahead I could see we were approaching a Monastery complex.There was a big building to the far left and a group of much smaller buildings to the right.There was a ground too in the middle.To the far right were set up a group of tents which we correctly assumed to be our campsite.This place was called Phajoding.It was at an altitude of 3500MSL.
As we neared the monastery complex we could see some children playing football.They were all wearing the bright red monk robes. The sight of those cute kids in their red robes running around was a joy to watch. Amit threw away his bag and rushed to join the kids.He asked them if he can play to which the kids cheerfully nodded and amit joined in. Amit was wearing a sleeveless tshirt exposing the tattoo he had on his arm.This proved to be a wonder for the kids who stopped their game and flocked around him to look at the tattoo.After this brief distraction the game resumed.I clicked a few pics and mulled about joining the game myself. Ravi meanwhile caught up with me and suggested we both join too. So throwing the bag and the camera we ran in on the ground. With our newly formed friends from our support team, lama and dorji joining in too, we had a good number now.We played for some time enjoying the game.Sometime later Abhishek too joined in. Satya couldn't because he was still feeling a bit tired and sick so he went directly to his tent and took some rest. Meanwhile I was breathless with all the running and called it quits. Didi all this while was taking pics.After the game finished we all took some group pics with the kids.

We then walked towards our campsite. This was a piece of land allotted for the trekkers to set up their tents here. The biggest relief was the toilets set up there. In the night after dinner I walked to  nearby shelter to take a look at the city Thimphu glowing with lights. I took a few pics but none were any good. Lama was there too taking in the views and we had a lengthy conversation about Bhutan and its people.It was wonderful talking to him. Suddenly it started drizzling.I did not want to get stuck there while it rained so bidding goodbye to lama I ran back to my tent and tucked in for the night.Thus ended a wonderful day.

Quick Facts
Starting Point- Jana Tsho (3830 MSL) 
Highest Point - 4100MSL
End Point - Phajoding (3500 MSL)
Start time - 0815 Hrs
Highest Point time - 1300 Hrs
End Time- 1600 Hrs

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bhutan's Druk Path Trek. Day 3.

After a refreshing night's sleep,our second in the wilderness,I woke up to bright sunshine beating down on our tent.With the last day's experience I did not bother to try to view the sunrise.Instead I woke up leisurely and took a stroll around the campsite.The ground was damp with dew and it was still a bit cold even with the sunshine.The area nearby was a mess with the horse droppings.Gingerly avoiding these droppings I made my way around and took a complete circular stroll. The weather was still hazy denying us,for the third day,any views of the snow capped mountains in the distance.

After a leisurely breakfast we started off on our trail. We set off exactly in the opposite direction of where we came from the day before.Our trail today took us through another rhododendron filled section of the forest. The flowers shone bright red against the green of the other trees.Had I had a better camera than my Panasonic Lumix I would have been able to capture much better pictures of these beautiful flowers.

Sangayji having some fun while Durgaji and Satya look on.
We had started off at 3610 MSL at 0740 Hrs in the morning and our goal was to reach Jana Tsho which was at 3830 MSL. There are multiple ways to reach this campsite and taking stock of our group Sangayji decided to take the shortest one. This was because satya was feeling sick.He had headache and a slight fever. It looked like he did not acclimatize properly as usually he doesn't get sick easily.Also Ishita didi's stomach travails did not subside completely. So it was decided to take the shortest and the most easy route to Jana Tsho.The one thing we missed is a lake that lies on the long route. We weren't disappointed though instead we were glad of the less distance to cover.

The terrain initially was similar to the previous days.Green forests for most of the time.Midway into the day's trek we came across a stream.The sound of the gushing water reached us much before we even had a glimpse of the waters.We walked along the stream for sometime and then came across a small bridge over it.Here we stopped for a while to take much needed rest and shoot some pics as well.We resumed our walk and 30 mins later had a small snack break under a cool shade.After that break the landscape seemed to be changing as we neared our destination.From the green belt in the initial part we marched into a rocky and barren landscape.We were now on the top of a hill and we could see layers of hills in all directions surrounding us.We walked over this desolate landscape for over an hour to finally reach our campsite at 3830 MSL at 1145 Hrs.

This campsite nearby the lake Jana Tsho was the best of all the campsites this trek has to offer. Our tents were set up near the lake which was nestled cozily along the foot of a hill.There was the lake and the hill behind it on one side.On the opposite side there was a gradual drop into the valley.The other two sides had our trail,passing through the campsite.Far away we could see the mountains but again no sights of any big peaks.

As soon as we reached we sat down on the warm grass to give our tired legs some rest as we took in the wonderful atmosphere.Our support team served us lunch there itself.It was on one of the most scenic and memorable lunches I ever had next only to the apple I ate near the Roopkund lake the year before.After lunch we chose our tents and tucked inside the sleeping bags for a quick nap. Our brief reverie was broken by a gentle patter of rain drops on our tent roof.We rushed outside to have a look. Sangayji was rushing around gathering some branches of the nearby bushes.We asked him what he was upto.To which he replied that he was going to build a fire and drive those rain clouds away.I was incredulous. Ravi said that what sangayji was doing was indeed correct.Technically it could be done but the success probability was very less. Anyway we watched him do it and to me it didn't seem to make any difference. Later with some more dry branches he built a small bon fire and we all gathered around its warmth. A little later it started raining again.This time it was a mix of rain and snow. We ran back to our tents and settled down inside the warm sleeping bag.I flipped open my tent covers now and then to just look at the snow.It was all very beautiful. Late evening we had our dinner early and slept after idle chatter late into the night..

Quick Facts
Starting Point- Jangchulakha (3610MSL)
End Point - Jana Tsho (3830 MSL)

Other Days Posts-
Hike to Taktsang Monastery
Day 1
Day 2