The day started off with me waking up in a toasty warm duvet inside a small room (god thats fucking heaven I tell you) and realising a needed a pee. Oh well, time to freeze I guess..
I didnt bother with a shower as I didnt fancy literally freezing my nuts off, so I donned the thermal underwear that I've dragged all the way from England without using once ("Oh why are you taking that Tom? Youre going to near-tropical countries" said someone once) and headed off for some breakfast. Chimi sprang it on me that he'd arranged for us to go sit in on a class in the local school, which sounded cool.
It was bastard hard! It was an English class (naturally..) and the teacher asked if I wanted to teach, so whilst uttering the immortal words "How can I not?" (A phrase thats getting me into more and more trouble, thanks Cousin/Kirby!) I jumped up and introduced myself. The excercise was to get the kids to draw 3 pictures of a Yak doing something and then write about it underneath. I swear its like herding cats, you have to attack the little buggers at every angle to get them to concentrate and even then they only worked when I (literally in one case) prodded them with a pencil.
To get things going I drew some yaks of my own, all of them doing deliberately non-yak activities of course. They seemed to like shouting "THE YAK IS RIDING A BIKE!!!" when I drew one of them.. I gave up and let the pro's do it after that..
We set off back in the direction of Trongsa to attempt a hike down the valleyside, on the way over the pass between valleys the cloud started to roll in... right toward the pass itself.
Its very eerie seeing that youre driving at the same level as the base of a cloud, I think at that point we were about 3000m up so its not that the cloud was low but that we were high up :p
We arrived in Trongsa at about 3pm and did a whirlwind tour of the Trongsa tower museum
which contains a load of royal artifacts and original buddhist statues. We had to rush round as time was getting on for the hike that we'd planned down the valley side
First we had to drive round to the viewing point on the other side of the valley, then trek down the side to the river, cross the bridge then come back up to the fortress. If we got there by 5pm then we could pass through the old gates and back into town. If not then the hike becomes more interesting...
The official signs that point out the hike say you need to leave by 2pm to make it, sure enough its getting on for half 3 by this point, but Chimi reckoned we'd make it. "All of the kings have done this trek before to the fortress, its easy" he said...
About halfway down we encountered a cliff where an ousted warlord was chased to by an army, he chose to fling himself off rather than get caught. Its a fucking long drop thats for sure..
The downward part of the hike was easy, as a rough idea as to how far down we went take this into consideration :- My ears popped on the descent.
Looks like the river could be rafted one day, apparently no ones tried yet though. 20 minutes later we'd climbed about 1/3rd of the way up the other side
Then 15 minutes more and we'd done another 1/3rd
Being the fat, lazy and unfit bastard that I am we had to stop a few times, each time checking that it wasnt getting close to 5pm. Eventually we realised we werent going to make it and needed to find a route around the fortress as well as up the frickin hill
And here it is, ably demonstrated by some cows and Chimi.
Yes, we'd climbed up the valley side from river-level. Yes its a fucking long way and Yes the lack of oxygen didnt help things..
And heres the sunset, which is actually going on behind the mountain thats in the way, oh well.
I'm now sitting in the hotel with leg muscles that are on fire and boots covered in cow-shit and mud, but screw it, the hike was fucking ace and when I return to sea-level its going to be like breathing soup compared to up here :)