Our third day started early! I mean, all days started early on this holiday. But this day was particularly early because “the boys”, as our guide called the crew, were instructed to wake us in time for sunrise.
So we got up. And it was *cold*. The higher we went, the colder the nights were getting. They went from very cold, to really cold to extremely cold. So this was a really cold night.
But there was the sunrise.
Definitely worth peeling myself out of my four seasons sleeping bag for this.
And as soon as the sun was out, it warmed up, the frost melted and our tents dried.
We always camped at a lower altitude than we were spending our days at, to make acclimatisation easier. Luckily I never had any issues beyond a mild headache and trouble sleeping.
But sleeping lower meant that the first thing we had to do when we got up in the morning was to climb up again. Here’s a view of our campsite after we left it in the morning. The “boys” were busy taking all the tents down and packing up.
We passed this rock which became a popular photo posing point. Definitely great Tinder material right there.
And the views! Absolutely spectacular.
We walked in between this sea of rhododendron bushes. In April they are all in bloom which must look amazing. However the weather is a lot worse, so I’d rather have views of snowcapped mountains in the sun than pink blossoms in the rain.
We put up more prayer flags. The idea is to put these flags at high passes, so that the wind will carry the prayers across the valley for everyone. Yet another pragmatic approach in Bhutan that I like. Makes complete sense!
We met some old friends along the way.
Usually the chef and his assistant would go ahead with a couple of horses to have lunch ready and set up when we would reach the spot. The rest of the men and horses followed a bit later. But they still had to overtake us (which they did with ease) to be able to set up camp before we arrived there.
Can you spot the lake? That’s where our next camp site was going to be.
Behind the tents there was a small river. Our guide fished fresh trout for us for dinner. I don’t really remember how they cooked it for us but I remember that it was one of the tastiest meals we’ve had on the trek.
I would rate the night as this campsite as an “extremely cold” one. The cold came from the water. But luckily I had optimised my evening process by now. After dinner, when we got our hot water bottles, I would run to my tent, wrap the bottle in my sleeping bag. Then brush my teeth and go back into the dining tent to sit in front of the gas heater. Slowly I would warm up. I usually put my feet really close to it, as close as I could without my socks catching fire. A small group of us sat and chatted for an hour or two. But by 9pm latest, when I was warm enough, I would run outside, go into the bushes as quickly as I could and then jump into my sleeping bag.
Luckily by then I had also started listening to Barry, self-proclaimed professional tourist and evidently experienced cold weather camper, who said that wearing only a thin layer inside the sleeping bag would keep us warmer. Thanks, Barry!