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Friday, December 16, 2016

We were in Laya (Part - 5): Gasa to Ponjugang

We woke up at 6.30am it was a chilly misty morning. Low hanging white clouds swept gently over drenched grass blades, dampened building walls and wet roofs making them neat for the dawn. At dawn we headed to Tummy Full Restaurant with all our stuffs for breakfast, after that to the parking in front of Gasa dzong: our meeting point. All our folks in complete trekking attire from head to toe arrived from farmhouse with small backpacks on their back and ready to hit the trail. Except, for another two hours we will have to take a ride up the rough terrain in 4WD military trucks until Ponjugang, point where the real time trekking will commence.

Gasa town at 6.30am
The quarter 
Parking: our meeting point prior to Ponjugang

A beautiful sun rose coloring white tipped mountains behind the dzong with golden rays signaling a perfect weather after five wet days. However, things don’t go the way one expects; soon there also rose a problem. So many heads but only two 4WD trucks, over crowed, over loaded and everybody wants to go first. By the time four of us acho Karma T. , acho Penjor, Sangay khandu and I, returned after parking our cars at the BHU parking at 8 AM, our mates have climbed onto a 4WD military truck and already starting. For the remaining a CDCL truck was arranged. It was too vacant for fifteen of us, acho Karma T. regretted for getting there late, “Why did Chimi and Menda not wait? That truck was too packed; she made a damn wrong choice!” I could feel him, Menda just twelve or  thirteen years old daughter of ashim Chimi and acho Karma T. was the youngest trekker in our group. Even I thought we should have switched.

Sun rose sweeping the peaks. People say there is a passage to Lunana midst peaks
Peaks complimenting peak of Gasa Dzong

Threw in our stuffs and hoped into the back of the truck. It was all muddy and wet as though it had just unloaded a truck full of mud. All of us stood for awhile knowing not how to go about sitting, there is no way we can go standing in such a low trunk truck on a rough and scary road.    When the driver started rolling we had to sit on whatever we got hold of whichever was not fragile and also not bags, and had to balance on them throughout the journey. It started nice.

The great CDCL truck, our back up and all the folks wondering where to sit? 

 The real show began when the road turned up, none of us could balance on LPG cylinders, pots, pans and stoves. We skidded on and off every now and then onto the muddy iron floor. Rubbed our bums hard against it peeling off some skins, we were like trying to make some light out of a wet match stick and a wet match box rubbing against each other so hard. Sun burnt our faces and cold muddy floor froze our bottoms, I could hear acho karma T. taking back his words, “Chimi and Menda made a damn good choice!” “I was in the New York city just a few weeks ago and now sitting in the mud at the back of a truck.” It was Sir Sonam Dorji, chairperson of CSOA and also the Executive Director of ABTO, sitting next to acho Karma T. sharing a pot as their seats. Oh, yes, the eggs, I just saw eggs but all packed in a plastic bag protected by small planks. They were all safe and not even one was broken, then why the trouble? “It is an adventure! Ata Singye did a good job.” I could hear myself say, while dark clouds of broken egg’s myths vanished into thin air. Aue Passu and Tashi Namgay, CEO/founder of Kidney Foundation managed to take some wefies, although it was a bumpy ride and the entire road was up........ Least it didn’t rain!

Had to leave the CDCL truck and walk
From left; ata Dorji (VAst artist), acho Karma T.(ED of Sabah Bhutan),
aue Passu (ED of BTO) and
ata Sonam Dorji (Chairperson of CSOA and ED of ABTO)
and walk....
Soling the road
and walk continues...
yes, walking...

Only a few knew there was a log fell as a bridge, and acho Karma T. knew,
 rest crossed the chilly stream

About thirty minutes to Ponjugang, our truck could climb no farther. It wasn’t a 4WD. Got out and started to walk leaving two of them behind with goods. On the way we met a pickup truck and only after persuading the driver to pay extra, did he agree. Soling the road here, pushing the pickup truck there, climbing in and out several times we reached Ponjugang. United we were once again, except for our four friends who stayed back in Gasa Tshachu to run the “Snowman Run.” It was 10.30 am. 

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