The Snowman Trek
The second week started from Tarina with an easy walk down through a conifer forest along the river, with many waterfalls on both sides. After three hours we started to walk up to the campsite in Woche. Woche is a little village at about 3,950 meters where the Lunana area starts. We heard that people in Lunana like to take things from outside tents, so we never put our things outside.
The next day, the trek was a gradual climb towards Keche La at 4,666 meters, and then downhill to Thega village. From there we continued walking to the next village. We stayed at about 3,700 meters in Lhedi, where there is wireless station, school, and Basic Health Unit. It was very windy when we reached the campsite in front of the houses in Lhedi, overlooking Tangshigang Mountain across the Po Chhu valley.
Wednesday morning we left Lhedi for Thanza, which is the last village in the Lunana area. It was hot while we were walking along the wide river, with lots of rocks and broken trees. After several hours we reached the small village of Chozo (4000m), which has a small Dzong. The houses there are made of stone, and surrounded by stone walls. It only took one hour to walk from Chozo to Thanza. It was also hot, and very windy in the large river flats, and at one point the flats had turned into a massive sand sea, just like a desert. From this area we could see Table and Dashay mountains, and many yaks grazed on the flats. Thanze is similar to Chozo; the houses are also made of stone. On the same day we met four American tourists also just arrived in Thanza, but they had started the trek from Bumthang and were going to Punakha.
The following day we had a rest at the same place. We wanted to go to the lake in the morning, but it was cloudy and raining. After breakfast we were given warm water to wash our hair, and Rogier tried to repair his camera bag, but could not fix it. The guide arranged to change to different yaks for the next stretch from Thangza to Nika Chhu. In the afternoon we went to RaphtsenTsho lake (4,400m) for four hours, even though the weather was not good. Had the skies been clear, we would have been able to see beautiful mountain views all around.
We started next morning's walk with nine yaks. From here we had to walk and sleep at around 5,000 meters for three days. From Thanza we walked to Dhamji at 4,680 meters, climbing slightly for three and a half hours. This day's walk actually should take eight to nine hours, but we decided to break up the trek, and completed the walk in two days. There were many blue sheep on the way up, and at one point they approached to within a few meters of the campsite, when by chance they came down from the mountain. It was clear and cold at night.
Saturday early morning was beautiful, and we saw icy mountain views all around, especially when we were on Jaze La pass at 5,251 meters. The trek climbed up on rocks and down to the campsite beside Tshochena lake at about 4,917 meters. It had always been windy in the afternoon for three days, but this time it was snowing, and colder than before.
The next day's walk had gradual ups and downs along a rocky trail until we crossed Loju La pass at 5,155 meters. From there we enjoyed a panorama of snowy peaks and glacier-covered mountains all around. The weather was very clear, and only slightly windy. We passed some beautiful lakes on the way to our next campsite in Jichu Dramo (5,060m) just before the next and last pass. The lakes were blue and green in colour and very clean.