Thursday, May 3, 2012

Images of Bhutan - Leg 3 - Dochu La to the Druk Path Trek

The Views of the Himalayas from the Druk Path Trek
After visiting the beautiful farm land and religious sites of the Punakha valley, we anxiously piled back into our trusty mini-van for the drive back towards Thimphu and Paro en route to the start of the Druk Path trek.  For many months we had read about this five-day trekking route, which traverses a high ridge line between the two main valleys of Western Bhutan.  We were excited to leave the roads behind and travel on foot, but first we would have to  negotiate Dochu La one final time.

The first time over the pass, we avoided the road block on foot and then waited for several hours until Themang was finally able to pick us up on the highway.  On the return trip, we stayed with the mini-van in the hopes that we could time the opening of the road just right.  Although Bhutan typically runs according to a pretty tight schedule, we once again got hung up in a nasty mess of a traffic jam.

Yes, there was traffic trying to come the other way
A good place to wait out the traffic jam

Once we ground to a halt, Kristin and I decided to exit the vehicle to investigate the delay.  We were sure we could clear things right up and be on the road in no time. 

Safety First!
After walking up the road a bit, we were able to look back and see Madge in the little silver mini-van perched in the middle of an unstable slope.  Hi Mom!  

The problem
Pretty soon, we arrived on the scene to find a semi stuck in the sand.  But everyone seemed to be having a great time figuring out how to solve this problem. 

The back up plan

They eventually got everything cleared up, and we once again enjoyed a nice walk down from the top of the pass through some picturesque terrain.

Clean up campaign!

School's out!

 The next day, we were finally ready to start walking!

The beginning of the Druk Path in the Paro valley
Mani Wall or Long-Faced Chorten
The ponies

One of the many amazing aspects of trekking in Bhutan is a hot lunch every day!  Well, I'm not sure everyone gets to experience such luxury, but Kristin refused to eat our box lunch the day before, and after that it was steaming rice and hot food for the rest of the trip.

Madge and Jelezong near the end of the first day

After a relaxing walk through the forest on the first day, we finally climbed up out of the trees and over a ridgeline before descending a short distance to our camp site in a meadow beneath a local monastery.

After the walk, the ponies were hungry.

The ponies get to carry around this stuff all day
And the ladies were tired.

Luckily we had popcorn!

Pretty soon, we turned in under the watchful eyes of Jelezong.

The next morning, we began the day with a visit to the monastery.

 After gushing over the puppies, we finally got on with the walking.

And saw some yaks.

 And ate some more hot lunch.

Before finally rolling into this beautiful perch in the early afternoon.

That afternoon, I took a walk, passing by an old yak herders' camp on my way to a hilltop covered in golden grass. 

The next morning we awoke to a layer of snow. 

And then walked for 18 km.

 We saw Jomolhari for a split second.

And then kept walking.

The next morning we woke up to some more snow.

And we all worked hard to load up the ponies.

Before hitting the trail again for a fourth day. 

That night we were tired.

But awoke to a beautiful sunrise and more fresh snow.

The ponies ate breakfast.

  And then we walked past another monastery on our way into Thipmhu.

And then we said goodbye to the amazing team of people who took care of us for five days on the Druk Path Trek.  


  1. Hey there!
    I am going to visit Bhutan as well next Year and i have some questions about this trek. Is it possible to get in contact with you?
    Thanks for your help
    Greetings from Germany

  2. Hi Steffi - You can leave your questions here, or you can reach me at Thanks. - Chris