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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Trek to NobTshonapatta - 1 - the planning:- Thimphu

The Revered Nob Tshonapatta (The treasure lake)
lying at 4,129.3 meters above the sea level, completely frozen.
Taken on 20th February 2017

“Acho, I am late to confirm?” I messaged. “No, no. One or two can be adjusted even at the last minute!” “Wow, good, good. Then, acho, will you please add my name too?” “Okay, okay, right away!” Acho Penjor Gyeltshen responded promptly reassuring my confirmation as timely. It was quite a relieve to finally confirm my participation for the impending trek, firstly I am going to formally trek as one of the newest members of Trekkers 360 degree amongst other senior Trekkers 360 degreeians; and secondly because we are going to NobTshonapatta, the treasure lake, that lies at 4,129.3 meters above the sea level. It has a mystical story dating way early which is very much alive even today.

Two amazing and talented brothers acho Penjor Gyeltshen (senior team leader for this trek) and Kinley Penjor (junior team leader) visited 2017’s calendar about three months ahead, and after calculating all the government holidays falling at least five or six days together in a stretch, they planned for a trek to NobTshonapatta accordingly. Since then they created a poll on Trekkers 360 degree’s Facebook page and started counting heads. I saw it too. Below, it showed viewed by me as well. But, sadly I could neither click on “going” nor “not going” since my heart longed to go and at the same time I cannot leave work, for my office is usually active on weekends and government holidays. Acho Penjor sensed it and joked, “Some folks are wishing, if I had only added a ‘may be’ radio button on the poll.” Of all he spoke my mind, and to me that was like a display of a good leadership quality in some ways, coming straight to the point.

I could not confirm for some weeks although our would-be team leaders insisted on confirming at the earliest, so they can start arranging all the necessary gears and goods consequently.  “Are you really not going?” Senior team leader texted me, “Your early confirmation would allow us to get tents and ponies ready before hand!” “Acho, I will confirm next week after consulting my colleagues if there is anything happening during the holidays and if they at all require me only then I can say for sure, is it okay la?” “Fine, until last week of January is perfect, but don’t delay!” “Ya, ya acho!” And before December aged I could confirm. Since then I started looking for my trekking gears, although it was almost one and a half month due; I already finished washing and packing everything in my yellow-black rug sack, ready to take on mountains anytime. Weeks rolled very slowly since then!

On 11th February a week prior to the big event our team leaders called on us underneath the Walnut Tree to discuss the itinerary and also do the headcount. Came in all Trekkers 360 degrees high spirited as always and a few new faces too. Since it was windy outside we had to settle inside Dorji Elements (DE), the discussion went on for about an hour while some of us were trying to motivate and persuade new comers to join us, at the same time minding the number for if it crosses 20+ heads then the management and trekking becomes a little difficult. But, this time we had only 10 Trekkers 360 folks confirmed, so there was enough room. Acho Karma T. desperately wanted to join but he had some pain lingering on his left knee and Dr. Sonam Tobgay who is also a Major in the military, to whom I call Acho S.T with respect, were unsure. Five out of six new comers confirmed while Yangchen regretted for not being able to join, Thinley Bidha motivated Sonam Wangchuk her fiancé to come and he was half hearted.

The wind outside was getting harsh and cold, sipped in cups of hot tea served by our one and only favorite host DE as always. Coincidently it happened to be Menda’s birthday too, the youngest member of Trekkers 360 degree. Wished her a happy birthday and had her birthday cake too, except she is not going with us this time. Before we called it a meeting, team leaders gave us a paper each with itinerary on it. “Arrangements and shopping on 17th” it was written on the paper. I volunteered to come for tent pre checking.

An early chilly morning of Friday I headed Chorten for some rounds. After 30 minutes before heading DE I offered some prayers for a safe trek on behalf of all my fellow trekkers. The clouds above parted slowly making way for the king of the sky to rise. Mountains above Phajoding and afar reflected golden rays warming Thimphu valley down below in the chilly morning.  It was 9 AM I did final round and so I walked down. Acho Penjor with our cook, guide and other guys were sipping on their hot cups of masala tea underneath the Walnut Tree. Acho Penjor did the introduction and they were already preparing to leave for shopping.

Yet, again I was all by myself underneath the walnut tree looking after the goods and often sipping on a hot cup of masala tea. Wind was getting warmer and sun swum very slowly across the ocean of puffy white clouds as I flipped a page of positive notes onto another. Gentle dzongkha music played in the background. A few dried leaves danced in the gentle wind. My thoughts were all subsided. What an ambiance, I thought to myself this is the moment, a perfect moment to feel myself and share the feeling. The page on the book read, “Happiness only real, when shared,” said by the late adventurer Christopher McCandless who passed away alone somewhere in Alaska out of starvation after going around United States for about two years leaving everything behind. Just then I received a call from one of my friends that his family was blessed with a handsome boy. A perfect timing to share positive energy, I wished him and his family a big Tashi Delek.


Acho Penjor and his team were real busy with shopping, and Kinley Penjor our junior team leader would drop by often but too occupied arranging things for the big event. Just then Dr. S.T and Wangchuk confirmed their names, acho Karma T. was already in making our number to 18 a wonderful number for a group to trek. My tummy was grumbling inside it was 12 noon and I took leave after Kinley Penjor said, "Everything is done." 

We were to gather tomorrow and part for Haa.



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