Saturday, November 02, 2013

Yaks Gone AWOL

Greetings All,
Yippee!!!  We woke to clearing skies and would be leaving Laya today!  Another trekking group had left Laya the day before and we hoped they would break trail over the next pass.

Laya Under Clear Skies

As we were heading out, two schoolgirls with the traditional conical bamboo hats that Laya is known for agreed to let us take their photo.

School Girls in Laya
As a result of the storm, Trek Groups piled up in Laya.  We were now on the same schedule as a group from France.  Some of our staff raced ahead to secure the trekkers' hut at Rodophu before the French arrived.  The hut was smoke filled so, we were happy to camp outside.  We did use one of the less smoky rooms in the hut to eat our meals.  A woman from Laya peered in through one of the windows offering to sell me a conical bamboo hat.  Of course I couldn't resist.
Laya Woman at Rodophu
Thanks to the group that was a day ahead of us, the snow that had fallen on our 5th pass, the Tsome La, had been well packed.
Us on the Tsome La, I'm wearing my new hat 

I'm amazed at how agile our pack ponies and mules are!  They are able to carry heavy loads over steep, slippery and rocky terrain wearing metal horseshoes!

Pack Ponies Crossing the Tsome La 

Descending from the pass we stopped at a flattish but snowy spot for lunch.  The sun poked through the clouds warming us.

Lunch below the Tsome La 

Yes, we were very pampered on this trek!  Our camp staff set up a table and chairs and served us a hot meal at every lunch.
We spent a cold night at our highest camp yet around 16,000 feet in preparation for crossing the Karakachu La at nearly 17,000 feet.  There were still lots of clouds around so the view was somewhat obscured.
Crossing our 6th pass, the Karakchu La 
It was a long knee-crunching descent to the Tarina Valley far below.  At least the spectacular views of turquoise lakes at the head of the valley distracted me from my aching knees.  
Lakes at the head of the Tarina Valley
We arrived at camp around 5:00, 9 and a quarter hours after we had set off in the morning.  Our pack ponies had arrived but where were the yaks?  We were now using around 13 yaks to carry loads over the high mountain passes.  Fortunately, the ponies carried all our stuff but the yaks had all the staff's gear.  It would be a cold night for them.  We offered some of our equipment but they would make do sleeping in the mess tent with pony blankets.
We turned in around 8:45 and still no yaks. 
We hope all is well back home.
Peggy and Marc

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