We have had a great time the last couple of days here in Bhutan! Once we left the trail we drove into Punaka for a tour of the huge Fortress surrounded by the Male and Female Rivers. After a lovely night at our hotel down by the River we drove up and over a pass and down into Thimphu, the capital city. It’s busy here and we are lucky to be here for the first day of a festival this week. We went to another fortress today where the festivities began and we watched dancers in elaborate costumes and masks give a great performance even though it has rained most of the day. We’ve done some shopping for souvenirs and soon we are getting ready to head to our farewell dinner where we will have another cultural performance at the restaurant while we eat. It’s been an excellent trip with a great group of people sharing many laughs the last few days. Thanks for following along on our adventure and hope to be back next year with another group!
We’ve had two excellent days to finish off our trek! Yesterday we had our easiest hike into Laya lasting just over four hours and in time for lunch once we arrived. We ditched the tents and slept in a house with some local hosts. After lunch we walked around the beautiful town of Laya watching the school kids finish up for the day and visited some small shops with local wares. In the evening we had a special performance put on by local women who sang and danced traditional songs of the Laya people for hours. After the performance off to bed we went to rest up for our last days hike today. We hiked down from Laya next to the Punaka River or Mother River up and down through forests ending up at a road they are constructing that will eventually reach Laya. Once to the road we hoped on a 4WD truck and drove for a little over two hours down to Gasa. We settled into our rustic rooms and had dinner before heading down the the hot spring for a relaxing soak in the water. Now we are back in our rooms and heading to bed. Tomorrow we will drive to Punaka and begin the rest of the cultural tour the next couple of days of Bhutan. We had an awesome trek with some tough days, but we feel pretty accomplished getting through the tough mountainous terrain of Bhutan.
I’ll post some photos once we get a better connection tomorrow. Thanks for following along.
Yesterday we had quite a tough hike with challenging conditions but we made good time and we all still had smiles on our faces at the end of the day. We went over our first high pass at just under 16,000ft while snowing but mostly rain throughout the day. We missed some of the spectacular views of the high peaks but sometimes the clouds rolling through the mountains in fog with a little bit of rain is just as spectacular especially when the clouds reveal a mountain that you didn’t know was there. After the pass and some lunch down below we trudged through some thick mud at times with only a few slips in the mud.
All cleaned up and rested we headed out this morning in better weather and a much easier hike into Chebisa, a small village where there is currently an Archery tournament going on right outside our tents. It seems like better weather is coming and we will welcome the sun when it does come back only to reminisce about the “fun” rainy days before. We’ve had a lot of cultural experiences along the way as well which I find to be the best part of traveling to far off places in the World. We visited a school today, had lunch in a welcoming family’s house, visited a 7th century Fortress where they are reconstructing it, and are now watching the archery match with at least 20 young men are competing. We have a small head cold that is getting past around to a couple members but for the most part everyone is healthy and happy.
Thanks for following along,
I don’t have a single thing to say needs to be improved upon and will tell you that Ben did an (typical for AAI) excellent job of handling the necessary minor changes to itinerary and added on some nice cultural features that made the trip a very special experience.