A quick birthday shoutout to SFS Australia’s Bruce Martin!
The group before the trek, mentally preparing for the beauty to come. All photos courtesy of Casey Kohn
The first day of the trek felt almost like any other day. We loaded up the coaster (our beloved bus) and headed out. After about an hour-long ride we all stopped and the trek began. We walked through mud and meadows to reach our campsite. Upon arrival, a few of us decided to check out the ruins of an old dzong (fortress/palace) just up the hill from our campsite. The ruins in themselves were beautiful, and we ended up both exploring and simply spending time to take in the views.
Matt Bleich appreciating the view from his window
Afterwards we went back down into camp and ended the evening with dinner and s’mores.
Beginning our second day, we knew it would be difficult. Not only was it the longest day, but we were to hike up Febila then down the other side of the pass to get to our campsite. With my hiking buddy Annabel by my side, we hiked, taking in the views as we climbed the steep hills to get to the top. When we finally reached the top, man was it worth it.
As we descended we were welcomed by mossy rhododendron forests, quiet streams, and beautiful scenery all around. We then came upon vast fields among enormous rolling hills.
Enjoying the view of an old chorten among the fields
We even enjoyed the manure-covered grazing fields
Finally, we arrived at our campsite for the night next to a beautiful stream. Before dinner we all relaxed by the stream, some meditating, some reading. After banana boats and ghost stories, we all rested to prepare for the next day.
The campsite for the night, with a beautiful view of the moon
The next day we hiked up to Ogyen Choling, a museum of an old Bhutanese palace. After touring the palace and eating lunch, we walked through the Tang Valley to reach our campsite. Along the way we stopped to take in the views of fields and lhakangs (temples). When we reached camp, we all prepared mentally and physically for the last day of the trek, most of us not wanting to leave our newly acquired living arrangements.
Our last day we continued hiking through the Tang Valley in order to get to our final destination: Membar Tsho. After hours of walking along rolling hills with beautiful views of peaks in the distance, we arrived. Many of us tried to see the temples and prayer flags in the water that are said to be seen by the pure of heart, but none of us could. Regardless, we all spent awhile, appreciating this lake and the peace it brought.
As we all slowly walked up from Membar Tsho, our trek came to an end. While we all started the trek with different levels of excitement, we all ended it thrilled to have had such an amazing experience with such amazing people.
The group after the trek, clearly ready to trek another day