Day 122: Seeing the spectacular Phoksundo Lake - one of the most beautiful places in the Himalaya

Posted on 27 Jun 2017

From our camp at Maran we had an easy day with a lovely stroll down a green and flower strewn valley down to Dho Tarap, a major trading town between the lower parts of Dolpo and Tibet. From Dho we walked up a populated valley with numerous monastries, a school and green fields to our camp for night below Numala La.

Numala La was a big climb and we set off early. We had a bit of entertainment about a third of the way up as our mules had to be chased back to camp to get their loads - they were enjoying some fresh grass. The walk down from Numala La got more and more spectacular as we continued. We were walking through a steep red sandstone gorge with yaks grazing on the slopes. Our camp at Danigar was a herders camp and the slopes were full of grazing yaks. At the head of the valley Norbung Kang and it's glaciers dominated our view.

From Danigar we ascended Bagala La, our third but lowest >5000m pass in four days. From there a long descent brought us to Temche, a delightful camp right on the tree line. It was great to see trees again. We were also treated to a number of yak caravans coming through on their way east with supplies from the lowlands - rice etc.

Phoksundo CampAfter a rainy night, we packed up for the walk to Phoksundo Tal (lake), reputed to be one the most beautiful places in the Himalaya. The walk did not disappoint, our route traversed high on a spectacular track cut into the cliff and rounding the corner we caught our first glimpse of the river and waterfall draining Phoksundo Lake. The lake was formed several thousand years ago when a huge landslide, probably triggered by a large earthquake, moved a mountain side down into the valley damming the river valley. The lake is indeed spectacular. Impossibly steep sides and intense and changeable blues.

Today was a rest day at the lake before our group splits into those going down and those continuing onto stage 7. Three of us couldn't resist the amazing looking track along the side of the lake and walked up to the high point on the track. The track is the main route north to Shey Gompa and Crystal Mountain, it is cut into the hillside in places and has fantastic exposure, not for the faint hearted! We were very glad we didn't meet any yak caravans along the way.

Tomorrow four of us head south after an amazing introduction to Dolpo and four head west to complete their epic journey to Hilsa.

Adrienne, Phaedra, Naomi, Brian, Urda, Martin, Ian, Matt TL BIkash and Kirat

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