When we were in the early stages of planning this trip, Eric bought a big map so that we could conceptualize our path. Of course we had different ideas about where we would go and how much to tackle. But we both wanted to see Bhutan. We always try to find destinations that are off the beaten track and Bhutan was always on our list. I read a book in 2002 (thank you Amazon for remembering when I bought the book so long ago), called Beyond the Sky and Earth by Jamie Zeppa which inspired me to visit Bhutan. Now I am reading the book aloud to Gage on the Kindle. It is a much different read now that I know what a Dzong, Gho and Momo are.
We are most certainly off the beaten track.
The roads in Bhutan are a work in progress. With land slides the norm in the summer/rainy months causing the road to be impassable quite frequently. Now the crews are hard at work with grueling roadwork at 10,000+ feet. Gage was deep in his John Green’s crash history course on his phone. Eric loves the thrill of it and I had to just close my eyes when we came to close to the edge. The soaring mountains with deep and lush valleys, untouched by humans was incredible to see. ~60% of the the land is Bhutan is undeveloped, you can feel it with all your senses that nature dominates the landscape. We saw black-necked cranes, monkeys and a fox on our drive. We hear there are tigers too!
The snow had moved in overnight and we had about 6 inches of fluffy powder. This is early for snow here and interestingly the day of the first snow in Bhutan is considered a National Holiday and everything closes! Everyone was happy, school children got a day off school and there were snow “men” everywhere.
We had epic snowball fights on temple grounds with our guides. Initally I was worried that our playing was inappropriate behavior but the monks seemed fine with the falderal, even seems a bit interested in joining in!
It was lots of fun but we had the issue of getting back to Paro. We had a flight scheduled the next day but that didn’t seem like it would happen and the drive back is 11 hours with good conditions and with the snow it was thought to be 15-20 hours, if the pass was even open.
Miraculously, the sun shone bright and the burned off all the fog and melted all the snow and we were able to fly out.
On the next chapter in Bhutan, it is sure to be an interesting one!