It was trekkers 360’s plan to go for a half day hike on the last day of the Royal highland festival, but Tshonaka (Black and white lake) was suggested by Parasite our young highlander friend and he would also be our guide. I was last minute on the list guy. Right after breakfast at 9 O’clock we began ascending a steep mountain until Laya and Tendrelthang vanished far below.
|Tendrelthang, vanishing into distance|
|Laya too vanishing|
At one point ashim Lhamo almost gave up mid way, we knew it could be injuries from Snowman Run taking toll of her, but she continued. On the way we came across a huge rock on which we took the privilege of posing our favorite poses. The weather was picture perfect. For once, everyone of us were a celebrity turn wise, and the huge rock didn't seem to mind. There on we were walking parallel to snow capped mountains on the other side. Parasite told us those mountains are habitats of famous Cordycep Sinesis which takes them an entire day to reach up.
|A group photo|
|Ashi Chimi and Sangay|
|Acho Penjo and Parasite they are joined by a yak|
|Ata Dorji with his brush|
|Dr. Tenzin climbed it first|
|Ashim Lhamu with and her fav pose|
|Acho Karma T. is like a keta .. :D|
|How did 3 of them manag to climb the rock??|
Just prior to the lake we found ashim Chimi and ashim Ching ching sleeping near an almost dried pond, it was Parasite who played a prank on them calling it Tshonaka. It was not too far just a 30 minutes hike and we made it to the real Tshonaka at 1 pm. Had our packed lunch, did some photo sessions and then it was time to return. This is when four of us acho Karma T., ashim Lhamo, Dr. Tenzin and I did a full circle walk around the huge lake capturing some of the best pictures of the lake and also hoisted my string of Lungta.
|Lungta hoisting over Tsonaka|
Had it not been Tshonaka hike, I would have never known acho Karma and ata Dorji, who is quiet but a multi talented guy, were so passionate photographers. I had learnt a great deal from them throughout the hike: practically.
It was past 4 pm when we got back to our base, indeed an easy hike back to Laya. No sooner did we reach than our folks told us of how they got an opportunity to take pictures with the King. I was like, “I have missed the chance,” yet I was positive that one day or the other I will get my chance, if I keep doing my work. Our guys also told us we are invited for the dinner and bonfire in Tendrelthang where the King will come too. My heart started running.
It was a great evening, for all of us participating, having had the chance to spend an evening with the King.... At the same time I had to keep hunting for my friend Doctor Wangchuk to confirm that my whole team wishes to crash in his quarter while in Gasa. Met him and introduced to my team leader, “We would like to crash in your place, is it ok la?” Acho Karma T. was way too polite but my friend was already blushing, “It is fine la, but way to dirty la.” Aue Passu came in, “We all smell of bjobs, so it’s all fine.” Hahaha, three of us laughed in the cold, it is fixed. How I wish to get the picture if only I could get it permission was granted from ROM.
The night was so alive with talent shows and frequently the singing competition between Laya and Sakteng group would go neck to neck. But, it was open to whoever wanted to sing or dance, a prefect platform for aue Passu to sing his signature song, "Bum ja rim dhi, chang zey chi gi khe ya su nu lo..." and he did it on behalf of all the CSOs and BTO. He was not drunk definitely, but cold to bones. Dolma and I was in the front row enjoying the show when Thukpa came around, oh, goodness, the cold and the thukpa made a perfect combo. I downed thukpa like thirsty puppy. Later that evening I got my infrequent opportunity to take a picture with the king, although a group photo but, for the fact begin I was right next to the King made me emotional.
That night we didn’t sleep in our tents, but we were invited to crash at Parasite’s newly constructed home. We drank quite a few Lhasa beers.
All of us slept in one huge room.