Trek - Day 6:
The first order of “business” today after breakfast, was to gather our crew together and give them small gifts and their tips. We thanked them for an incredible experience! They had been so attentive and watchful for our health and well-being. It is always hard to say goodbye, when you have spent so much time with a group of folks...in such a beautiful area. We took a group picture, gave hugs all around and headed off.
This is a short day, only about 5 to 6 km. Most trekkers continue down the mountain to the youth center at Motithang in Thimphu. We took a more gradual path along a ridge and down to the radio tower. This trail was shaded, with trees dripping with Spanish moss. Near the end, on the hilltop, are thousands of prayer flags that the people of Thimphu have hoisted. It was a meaningful way to end the trek.
We arrived at the trailhead and parking lot late morning and immediately began our tours in the Thimphu area. This will be described in future newsletters. Yes, we did make it back to the hotel for showers...and then headed out again to see the sights with the guidance of Karma. Thus ended our trek, and our cultural experiences continued!
Friends have asked: What stands out the most about Bhutan and your trip?
Our answer is four-fold:
1. The gentleness and sensitivity of the Bhutanese people. Their helpfulness, smiles, pleasant attitude. Their appreciation of whatever they do…work or play...a love of archery, javelin, darts, soccer, and other sports.
2. The beauty of the mountains (clear or cloudy), the lushness of the countryside— flowers abound! It is easy to simply stand still and soak up the scenery!
3. The educational aspects of learning about another culture, its past history, its hopes for the future. The Bhutanese are determined to preserve their traditions, while moving gradually into the modern age. Indeed, we saw evidence of the “gross national happiness” that the monarchy and the government are trying to achieve.
4. We gained a new appreciation for the Buddhist traditions and religion. Believe it or not, we never tired of visiting the temples and monasteries...each was unique and a place for pilgrimage and peace.
This was truly an adventure! Our advice: visit now, while the tourists are few, and the traditions are alive.
Note that there are many outfitters for Bhutan trekking. Compare offers of different companies. We used Adventures Within Reach, based in Boulder, Colorado, to arrange our trek. They provided excellent service.