To The Wild Forest Of Bhutan
The sun rises as early as 6 here in the Bhutanese skyline, waking up all the sleeping beings here. Even at 4am, I could already see the first light hitting the darkness of the night sky. The summer season begins to show its characteristic here in the Himalayas. I left Paro after having breakfast in the hotel I stayed. I left my bicycle in some safe place in Paro, still untouched in the bike box. Tshiring, Lhawang and me then drove passing by farming areas, some bad roads and finally a forested areas.
The faces of the people, the sound of the language, the architectural style and even the environment feel a lot like in Tibet. Sometimes I still feel like I’m in Central Asia by looking at Bhutanese faces here, like the Kazakhs or the Mongols. Some of them told me that they too are descendant of the great Khans of the Mongols. The memory of the body never lies. The memory of our brain only remembers things that happened in our present life… but not the memory of our body. The memory of our brain doesn’t remember anything about the shape of the faces of our great great grandfathers… but the memory of our body remembers all well. The shape of the nose of our great grandfathers are sitting right here on our nose… same goes to our eyes and the rest. Even the blood that ran on our ancestor’s veins hundreds year ago still running free inside our veins right here, right now. And to the Bhutanese, they kept it well. Even their farming style here is still very traditional, very well preserved. Television and the Internet reached the country in the 90s. They still keep their culture strong and it feels so exotic travelling in this untouched country. The people here in Bhutan, rather than spending time and energy pursuing material wealth, they prefer to dedicate their lives pursuing happiness. The result, I see smiles carved on each Bhutanese faces wherever I go here.
After about an hour drive and a lot of talking and exchanging ideas between Thsiring, Lhawang and me, we finally reached the basecamp, the starting point of the trek, which is the Jumolhari loop, not so far from Paro. Again I was surprised it is going to be a very luxurious trek. There are 9 horses that gonna carry our luggage. I was questioning myself, are all these necessary? 9 horses for a 6 days trek. I can ride with only 2 horses from the Chinese border all the way to Tajikistan for months. Thsiring then left me and Lhawang as my trekking guide and there are a horseman and a cook joining us. This setup is usually meant for a big group up to 10 people or even more but this time, its only me.
We started to trek late at noon, the trek was quite easy and the climb wasnt so steep through the forest. We climbed from 2200m from the base to 3500m to our first campsite on the first day. Since we trekked below 3500m on the first day, we were walking mostly under the forest without much hassle since we had enough oxygen all the time for our lungs. Once we reached our campsite, there was another guide joined us from the middle of nowhere… a young 20 years old boy, almost half my age, very energetic and very strong. No matter how fast I moved, he was always tailing behind me keeping up with my speed. All of them including the cook and the horseman, they look very tough, just like the sherpas but Bhutanese version.
When we camped, they cooked luxurious food. I even have a menu to choose from. How nice it feels like to eat a full meal of rice with variety of dishes while camping. They carried big stove and even extra blanket for me. They even has a tent for the toilet! It now makes sense to me that trekking in Bhutan can be very expensive. I enjoyed it while it lasts, not always I have this kind of treatment in the wild. Only thing that I have to be careful, that this kind of treatment will pamper me too much and makes me weaker. I always keep it in mind, being too comfortable makes a man weak. Always take the middle path, and balance between the state of striving and being comfortable