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Monday, July 31, 2017

4 - Day 1 The trek begins : Jana Tenkha Goenpa to Tshokam, first night halt, 19th February

We were way behind the advance team, yet folks wont mind posing cos they knew advance team waits!

7 ½  hours hiked

Through the heart of Haa town up the rough road we reached Janatenkha Goenpa at about 7.40 AM. Straight away headed to the kitchen and packed our lunches. Junior team leader had already consulted lama there and he offered some prayers and black tea offering for our safe passage besides inviting all of us in the chapel. Our mind was at peace and energy all boosted for the trek ahead. Acho Karma T. already briefed us last night about the lone bear that one should not tear off the group, and about an hour or so up the trail we will come across no tree line which is prone to altitude sickness. To avoid from falling sick our mouths to be remained covered until we passed that zone. Everything noted, without wasting much time ponies were all loaded and we begun at 8.30 AM, the trek to famed NobTshonapatta.  



Jana Ten Kha Goenpa

The trail led us with a gentle ascend and then it started picking up. Slow and steady, one step at a time up we climbed allowing ourselves to warm up. Reached the dry lake, saw some camera traps put up on the trunks for educational purposes by researchers which also reminded us “we have entered the lone bear zone!” 


Camera traps 

Past that trail was all steep but beautiful too with thick snow on the ground. It was up to us whether to kick the snow and play around or save energy and keep climbing. But, we were trekkers after all so we kicked, rolled in the snow, snapped some pictures and got back to the trail.

First tea break and the sweepers :P :P 
Just warming up, not at all tired!!


In the snow, one photo it is a must :D :D 
Yea, we did pose again, in the snow!!!


Whose snowman was it that I dont remeber, but I certainly loved it!


I looked far-up in front but our advance team led by ashim Chimi accompanied by aue Lhamu and others were nowhere to be seen, they were long gone. Turned my glance back, our two new girls from Phuntsholing - 290 meters above the sea level - and Wangchuk were having a little hard time but they kept their pace, us the old trekkers we did not hurry either.


Slowly but steady and continues we kept our pace. Saw far below?


Walking at our own tempo we took almost 3 plus hours to get to the no tree line. Our advance team was already there some 30 to 40 minutes ago almost falling asleep, it was past noon. I thought their body and muscles might have all gone cold and stiff from waiting for us too long. No tree line was end of the climb most probably or at least for some hours, because as long as our sight could travel far into the distance, we could see our-would-be trail very gentle with mild ascends at a few intervals. Everyone thought the same. Sitting in a circle we lunched there, hoisted strings of Lungtas (prayers riding on the horses of wind) for positive energy and safe passage, then climbed the mini peak nearby to sneak peak Haa valley far below. Our two brother leaders were lenient with us and didn’t push us much, photo shoot was a must.


The full circle. Lunch break.
Advance team were about to doze off waiting for the us and the sweeper!!!


Taking our grandfather’s time at 1.15 PM, slowly we began to shunt ourselves. We were walking on the edge of the wide mountain that connected and introduced us to another couple of wide mountains, exhibiting some of the best views of Haa dzongkhag hidden high up in the mountains. I could never stop saying to myself, “Wow, what a trail, what a view, one could never stop falling in love with it.”  Our advance team would leave us on one occasion, then wait and hike together most of the time for ashim Ching Ching was like, “It is boring to go way ahead and feel like sleeping waiting.”  Ashim Chimi and Lhamu were reassuring Mr. DrukAir, “Lapchi mayna, next trek dhi easy wong say?”  We had an arduous  trek to Laya some months earlier.



Late but still taking our grandfather's time to walk and tak pictures :D :D 

Picture here, posing there. Resting hither, jumping thither. Drinking tea gulping water; to hurry was not in our dictionary, not today. Time was our slave, but were we really its master? We did not realize time was half past 3 PM and we still got more than 5 hours length of hike to our first camp site Wangjithang that lied at the altitude of 3688 meters. But, before that we have to cross two high passes Chozu La and Tsabjo La lying at the altitude of 4117 meters and 4194 meters above the sea level. Just then wind started to pick up. Dark clouds congregated above our heads. Two brothers after consulting our guides called on to camp over night in a place called Tshokam, we will reach there after hiking for another hour. We are not going to the actual camp site. We are not going to make it.


Our first night camp site at Tsho Kam 3536 meters above the sea level.
Look at the toilet tent standing, aint it wonderful?
Donated by ashim Chimi and acho Karma T. Dorji for Trekkers360'

We camped at Tshokam 3536 meters. Tents of different shades looked beautiful but of all toilet tent stood up. Standing 6 feet tall, easy to fold, carry and pitch but served a very great purpose. Trekkers didn’t have to go looking for bushes to answer nature’s call and pollute the environment. Above all ladies felt so safe, secure and comfortable to answer the call. Gem and I dug a cat hole of 2 feet deep. For 25 heads for a night it’s more than enough, and whoever got in covers up the human waste after her or his call.

Tea and snacks were served followed by an early dinner. After dinner we were back in a circle by the fire singing. I overheard ashim Yangchen got a little headache, acho S.T was making her drink some solutions. She got better. It was windy and cold, drizzling at times making us quite worrisome since we got a long hike and four high passes to climb tomorrow.  However, we were too positive and that didn’t stop us from keep singing that we ran out of songs and had to call in cooks to join us. The truth they sang better than us.    

Our first day trek was moderate, everyone was as fine as the fiddle although a few of us experienced dizziness for sometime because of the thin air, but we got acclimatized the moment later. We wished Menda to have joined us. 12 AM we crashed in our tents. Mr. DrukAir, Ogyen and I, there of us were in the same tent.  


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