Nepalese Notebook: September 19th, 2014

September 19th, 2014

Samdo 3875m.

Yesterday was a rest day.  We took a short side-trip to Birendra Tal, a glacial lake on the trail up to Manaslu Base Camp.  On our way there we passed a Gumpa where  an old lady was drying yak meat on a blanket near the door.  Inside was a statue of Guru Rinpoche, the man who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century, perhaps along the same trails we are on now.  There was also another young woman who had a child that was crying hysterically--only later did we find out it was because of our presence.  Near the lake we had a marvelous view of the glacier higher up and could hear the cracking and grinding movements of the ice.  All around us were mountains of up to 8000 meters and the silence was so profound that between the few words we exchanged with our companion, the sound of avalanches echoed throughout the valley.

Short walk today; the altitude tires one quickly.  Samdo is perched on an eminence above Larkya Bazar, a place where a seasonal Tibetan fair is held--the rock outlines of the tents are still visible.  We arrived early at our tea-house, a place where a woman was harvesting dried fennel and served excellent lemon tea, but also a very desolate and rugged place.  Late in the afternoon we hiked out towards the Lajyung Pass, which creates the border with Tibet.  From here we could see our trail for tomorrow and also the donkey and yak caravans coming back from Gyala Bhanjyang further on.  The weather was cold, but mysteriously soft; low clouds passing through, but the warm rays of the declining sun held the mountains in a purple and orange haze.  It is here that we realize there is not much to life; everything takes care of itself without prejudice, and our opinions and desires have little say in the matter.  It is not enough to say that the world is nothing, but it is also too much to say that we are the only thing that matters.

Douglas Thornton 


  1. What an exciting adventure you were on can't wait to hear more.


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