Then came Day 4 – THE GORGE! We hiked up from our overnite, over the ridge, and there was a trail, winding alongside a beautiful gorge, very “Grand Canyon” looking. Terror struck.. along with the cold “flop sweats” and I couldn’t even think of looking down or taking a picture. Exposure? there was a 1,000-2,000′ sheer drop on my right all along the trail. I serously considered having hysterics, but the mountain, with a little river channel, was on my left for the entire distance. (I planned to throw myself in that direction if I slipped. ) You have never seen two people haul through that gorge as fast as we did. Ex-Marine is not fond of exposure either, and was shouting curses at me for getting us “into another fine mess”.
It was very hot during the day, probably in the 60’s, with high-altitude sun, and the terrain changed from forest paths to dry, sandy, scree-type trails. (For you non-hikers, scree is little bits of gravelly rocks that are constantly sliding out from under your feet.)
The gorge just wound on-and-on for hours, with the river way below us, and unchanged exposure.
trail from village up to gorge
Finally, Yollenxang in the distance…and we limped in, completely wrung out from that nerve-wracking experience.
We were the major attraction in each small town. Lobsang would find a little restaurant, go back into the kitchen to see what food they had and how the refrigeration was, and then order some of our favorites – any kind of stir-fried pork, spinach with garlic, spicy eggplant, rice, tea and our recuperation drink, Coca Cola! In this area of China, people throw their bones (chicken, ribs, etc.) on the floor of the restaurant when they’re done with them. And every five minutes, the little cook/waitress would come back out of the kitchen and sweep them away. It really took some getting used to! But we never got sick eating in these places because everything was made to order.
There were still another three hot, dry, uphill, trekking hours…. Lobsang took one look at us and hired a jeep to take us to Nyithang, where he would find someplace to stay.
Still more tomorrow…