Previous Post: Day 7 – Chebisa Via Gombu La to Shomuthang
- calendar date: October 5, 2019
- time: left camp at 8:00 and arrived at Robluthang at 2 – 6 hours/4 of actual walking
- distance: 11 km on my Polar M430/10 on my Garmin inReach; 16 in Jordans’book
- start point altitude:
- endpoint campsite: Robluthang 4155m
- high pass crossing: Jare La 4785m
- Maps: Bart jordans’ Trekking In Bhutan has some useful overview maps of the many possible variations of the Snowman, as well as other treks.
- see here for a graph showing high pass and campsite altitudes for each day of the trek from Shana to Laya.
- I used a Sony RX100 III to capture most of the images you’ll see below; a fellow trekker’s Huawei P30 captured the others. (Thanks again, O, for letting me use them!)
Topo View And Satellite View of the Day’s Walk:
The first part of the day involved a gradual ascent to Jare La, a two-hour walk up the valley you see in the satellite image below. Once we got to the pass we relaxed for a half-hour, taking in the somewhat clouded-over views.
From Shomuthang To Jare La:
Jare La coming up – two hours after leaving our Shomuthang campsite.
From the pass, we walked down on a fairly decent trail, at first a rather barren and open and then more forested and muddy as we approached the valley floor. We would stop at a thang (i.e. meadow/flat spot) to have lunch before moving on to the log bridge crossing the Jholethang Chhu.
Lunch was a bit of a wait since we arrived at the spot before the lunch crew did! When the others were served tuna with their rice, I asked Kunley if he could provide me with some cashews as a substitute. This would be the beginning of adaptations which would leave me in better spirits and in better shape to deal with the caloric requirements of the trek!]
After lunch, we moved on towards the Jholethang Chhu and the extensive grazing land along its banks. A somewhat precarious log bridge over the stream and then we were on the east side of the river and standing at the north end of extensive yak grazing grounds.
The image below shows the view looking north up the valley which comes down from the Tibet border ten kilometers away. Our Robluthang campsite was a couple of kilometers up this valley. In the image below, the beginning of the trail is visible on the right-hand side. Steep at first, it eventually levelled out to a gradual ascent to our campsite, a fair-sized meadow or thang. (Click here to access a Google Earth view of the neighbourhood!)
Of this valley the Lonely Planet guide to Bhutan notes this:
Herds of takin migrate to this valley in the summer and remain here for about four months. Takins are easily disturbed by the presence of other animals, including humans….The valley has been declared a special takin sanctuary and yak herders have agreed not to graze their animals in the valley while the takin are here. [Lonely Planet. Bhutan. (6th Edition) p. 188.]
No takin here when we passed through but a dozen yak grazing, as well as a yak herder’s tarp shelter off image to the right closer to the river flowing down the valley.
A Happy Vegan!
Supper – for the second night in a row, I was able to stuff myself! More aloo gobi, the curried Indian potato and cauliflower dish. And on top of that, a Bengali brown lentil dal-like watery stew to pour over the rice which made it so much more enticing! But wait – there’s more! The cook had prepared a vegetable soup without an animal-derived broth or milk product in it! Trek soup is yet another way to make sure the clients are staying well-hydrated; I had two bowlsful.
Those doubts I had earlier about not having the energy to finish the trek! Well, they had been allayed thanks to the past two days’ supper fare. For the rest of the trek, the cook would prepare a special soup for the two vegan trekkers and I would get bowls of cashew nuts as a substitute for whatever meat dish the others were presented with. Things were looking up!
Next Post: Day 9 – Robluthang To Limithang