National Geographic : 1993 Dec
mountains. After the passage of the caravan, there will be silence again for months. From a height of 16,568 feet on top of the pass the caravan quickly descends to below the tree line, a drop of around 5,000 feet. After spending so many days in the scree and barrenness of the high altitude, it is a delight to smell the loamy earth and the scent of pine needles, hear the birds, and feel a breeze rus tling through the birch trees. Spirits are lifted and the mood is light, like a summer day's picnic. It is a gloriously blue day, and the dusty fields of northern Dolpo already seem a world away. To shield themselves from the wind on a November night when temperatures plunged to 14°F, Dolpo caravanners built an arc of fadse, saddles, and other gear. The next morning, one day from their destination, they melt ice for morning tea-a steaming broth flavored with yak butter and salt. "Teais the horse of the traveler," says one caravanner. "It gives us energy and keeps us going."
1993 Nov 30