where the air is thin and lungs are working
There are numerous mountain passes in Bhutan. The Himalayas are the youngest mountain chain on the planet, and as a result the mountains are steep, the tops pointy and the passes are literally breathtaking. The closest pass to our house is Dochu-la , a mere 3,150 meters (10,330 ft). It is usually misty and cloud covered, but on this spectacular day in October, the spread of the majestic Himalayas could be seen all around us. At the top of the pass are 108 Chortens. 108 is a very auspicious number and you see it repeated in many places in Bhutan. Each Chorten is supposed to connect heaven with earth. I think that worked here!
Rick, a friend with her two dogs, and I cranked up our rickety 800 cc Indian car and started out for the pass. It was not an auspicious beginning as both dogs puked in the car (need I say the road is winding, steep and rock strewn?). But with several mantras of I-think-I-can, I-think-I-can, the little engine that could did finally make it up the pass.
But that's only the beginning---there was still a 3 mile hike up to a small monastery that overlooks at least 6 steep valleys and a dozen snow capped peaks. Up we hiked---and up and up. The day was gorgeous, the sky was clear and it was totally worth the effort.
It was, in short, exhilarating (and yes, breathtaking, too!) Enjoy the pictures:
I do believe we touched a bit of heaven here.
If you are feeling stressed in this mad election year, take 9 seconds to watch my video of prayer flags at Dochula. The fresh mountain air of Bhutan will send the blessings of peace right to you!