Day 15-20: Bliss and grind as we trek to Olangchung Gola

Posted on 23 Mar 2018

The past four days have been moments of bliss interspersed with hours of grinding it out. 

We left Kangchenjunga heading west under brilliant blue skies and mountains in stereo surround. The day quickly turned to light snow then thicker fog and snow. We hiked bundled up, but were happy to be going downhill knowing we’d be at warmer elevations.

But no harm done; this was just the setup for the next days dreamy walk through the forest with two inches of snow to make it quiet, and a photographers wish come true. 

A night in Ghunsa and we were off on trails we hadn’t seen before. A day and a half grind put us back at elevation, 4776 metres on the top of our first pass, Nango La.

The mountains are silent. Clouds drift up and down the canyons and around some of the highest peaks in the world, with occasional spit snow in our faces. Snowcocks, birds the size of large chickens, call to each other in the rocks but can’t be seen. Mostly though, it’s just the sound of the wind and water. 

The footprints of generations of yak herders are everywhere. Stone circles and squares dot the landscape wherever there is enough flat ground for a tent and space for yaks to graze. There should be a seasonal flow of families following the green grass up and down the canyons, though we’re too early for anyone to be here yet. The question is will they come at all, or has that cycle been broken?

Transient tourists, with our small village of guides and porters, are passing through to pay respects to the mountains, but the empty stone circles keep drawing me back to thoughts of what it must have been like for the generations that came to raise yaks and children and spend summers in the shadows of these giants.

Nango La pass views

Clouds stream through the gap in the mountains and play hide and seek with more stunning peaks around us. 

It was now time to descend and for the next hour we were like kids at recess plunging down slopes with two feet of snow; sliding, falling, sinking to our thighs and getting up and doing it again.

This soon changed to the reality of a long descent over rough terrain in challenging conditions, but once again we ground it out and arrive tired but happy at camp. 

A quick shout out

The World Expeditions' team have been great. Guides, cooks and porters have been on top of every detail and making life good. Thanks to the whole team!

Until our next post,

Ken, Ricardo, Vince and Trek Leader Tsering

 

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