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Himalaya

Day 109: Jangothang to Takengthanka

Michael Palin - HimalayaI find a mossy rock and just sit for a while. I look down at our camp, with flocks of alpine choughs swooping noisily in to look for morsels of food, and feel my own personal pangs of regret at leaving all this behind. There are few places outside the Himalaya where the relation of man to nature can be experienced on such a gigantic scale, and something like that may not change your life, but it does stretch it a bit.

Jomolhari is draped in cloud as we set off across the stream and down along the broad, treeless meadow of grass and stones that leads down the valley. Within minutes the mountain is out of sight.

A yak caravan sways up towards us. Doje says he prefers to use horses and donkeys for carrying. He says they're much brighter than yaks and look where they're going.

Jomolhari is 11 miles (18 km) behind us by the time we reach our next campsite. It's in a tight neck of the mountains, where the valley becomes a gorge. Thickly wooded slopes of cedar, blue pine, maple and larch rise behind us and the stream we've followed since it left the glacier is now a river, some 30 feet wide and running fast and clear. A fire has been lit and internal warmth is taken care of by a slug or two of Special Courier Bhutanese Whisky. The description on the bottle, 'brewed at Gelephu Distillery (a unit of Army Welfare Project)', suggests that we are not only warming ourselves but helping the Bhutanese military at the same time. Very odd. Food is served early and I'm one of the last to bed. It's a quarter to nine and snowing.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 109: Jangothang to Takengthanka
  • Country/sea: Bhutan
  • Place: Takengthanka
  • Book page no: 253

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