Close examination shows our vanguard porters, like ants, on the ridgeline in the middle left of the photograph. The ice caped peak on the right is the 25,531 foot Namcha Barwa.
Kundu Dorsempotrang Mountain was easily recognizable by the anvil shaped stone on its summit.
Steep climbs up and steep climbs down. This is hiking in the Himalayas.
With her keen interest in botany, Oy was forever examining trailside plants. We felt that she, Christiaan, Chombi & Chimed Gompo were the only expedition members who had our well-being at heart. It was becoming increasingly obvious that Ian & Hamid had a different agenda that didn’t include us and that they weren’t sharing.
Guru Shugstrethang Lake. An extremely revered pilgrimage site.
To the porters, theirs was a living landscape.
Kundu Dorsempotrang Mountain (Vajrayogini’s heart chakra) was easily recognizable by the anvil shaped stone on its summit. We were getting close.
Kundu Lha Tsho Lake, “The All Gathering Soul Lake". Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers
The porters stare at the cliff face in veneration. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers
The Jolly Lama and his young attendant join Scarface at a holy boulder. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers
Vajrayogini’s essence manifests as sacred lakes dotting the landscape. Photo by: Christiaan Kuypers
Kundu Dorsempotrang offers us one final view as the porters labor below.
Ongel, the old Sherpa with his cheap rubber boots, was a stabilizing influence and a wonderful companion.
Matuk (on far right) and his companions are stunned at the manifestation of the, “Deities from the sky”.
The Gillenwater brothers can’t shake their dogged illness as evidenced in Troy’s expression.
We finally found a fallen log where we could inch our way across the rushing waters.
Back in leech country.
The Rinchenpung Monastery translates to "Mound of Jewels”. It was a welcome sight.
Troy shares photos from home with an older lama. His left hand and all his fingers had been severed by Mao's "Red Guard".
Rang Rig Gyapo the "King of Self-Awareness” is a rare wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava.
A Garuda, representing the consciously awakened mind, hovers above the "King of Self-Awareness”.
The Old School of Tibetan Buddhism ingeniously incorporated many animistic traditions of the indigenous Bön religion seamlessly into its theology.
With our military escort, Mr. Zang, gone we could freely hand out our coveted Dalai Lama photographs. Here Gil hands several out to the porters.
The love and reverence they have for “His Holiness” is difficult to describe.
Our distribution of the Dalai Lama photos gained us great status at Rinchenpung. They truly were “spiritual currency” in this remote frontier - forgotten by time.
As Todd looks on, Troy presents our foam football to the caretaker’s sons.
The caretaker family at the Rinchenpung Monestary. Note the brother’s foam football and ball point pen.
The Rinchenpung Monastery. Vajrayogini’s naval chakra is arguably Pemako’s most revered pilgrimage site. Meditation in this power spot generates compounding benefits.
By this time, the leeches didn’t seem to bother us that much. We learned that in Pemako it was just a way of life.
It was difficult for us to say goodbye to Kaba Tulku – our “Jolly Lama”. He was such a presence and living example of clear thought. It’s doubtful we could have ever located the magic mountain - Kundu Dorsempotrang - without his knowledge and intuition.
Visiting with the local villagers as we were leaving the Rinchenpung Monestary was fun. Their homes are perpetually filled with smoke.
Trading beads are a big part of the villagers’ lives.
The day’s hike to Medog began with an unexpected 600 foot climb.
It was a hot and muggy 4,000 foot descent into the military outpost of Medog.
At these lower elevations leeches were everywhere.
Medog. What a disappointment.
Even in this military pigsty with its Mad Max characters - the Dalai Lama photographs carried a huge significance.
Troy relaxes in our Medog luxury suite.
The Medog General Store. Todd purchases snacks for us and beers for our life-saving Sherpas.
Though beer and high doses of Flagyl don’t mix – we couldn’t resist. (Flagyl was our drug of choice for treating parasitic infections and amebic dysentery. We were popping the pills like M&M’s.)
At just over 2,000 feet in elevation the jungle heat was stifling. Bepuk lies in the background. Close examination of the photo shows the Doshong River flowing aqua green into the muddy Yarlung Tsangpo. We would cross the Yarlung Tsangpo and follow the Doshong Valley up to the 15,300 foot high Doshong La Pass – our gateway out of Pemako and on to the village of Pei.
Early outside of Bepuk we encountered a local Lopa tribal woman carrying ferns.
Close examination shows the “Liberation Bridge” and its shadow cast on the river in the left of the photo. The aqua green Doshong River flows in from the right.
The Doshong River.
Our trail virtually “tunneled” up the side of the canyon.
Close examination of this photo shows Troy on the trail in the top right with his arms raised high.
Our well traveled trail led us by a few Lopa homes. There was a simplicity in their primitiveness we found alluring.
Pemako is a magic place.
Little by little our climbing took us above and out of the stifling heat.
Troy looks up the Doshong Valley. Our pass out of Pemako was a half mile above us.
Setting camp for our last night in Pemako.