I will relate one humourous story before I leave you with the photos: with about 4km to go on the final stretch of the third day, I was grumpy with fatigue, surprisingly short of breath, and was struggling to put one foot in front of the other, when I was awoken from my robotic daze by a pilgrim from India. <--Side note: like Tibetans, Indians also consider Mt. Kailash holy, and come as pilgrims to complete the 3 day kora. However, unlike Tibetans who complete the pilgrimage on foot, they opt to sit on rented horses, and simply have Tibetans lead those horses around the kora for them. --> So this Indian lady, on horseback being pulled by a Tibetan guide on foot starts barking at me, "Hey, American, how far to hotel?" repeatedly. I was bagged, hungry, and sore from a blood blister on my heel that popped overnight, so you'll have to excuse my distaste at her repeated badgering, as if she was the one struggling mightily. Had my brain not been so oxygen deprived, I might have made a "Get off your high horse" pun, but instead could only mutter an irritated 'How the frick would I know?!' before resuming the long death march...
Okay, on to the photos. When I look back at these, they help reframe the memory of my trek from that of a mighty struggle, to one of such breathtaking beauty.
Along the route, pilgrims had left thousands of painted rocks carved with mantras. Beautiful to see this devotion.
Some of the many Tibetan pilgrims we would encounter during our trek.
The beautiful valley and creekbed we would hike along for the majority of day 1.
Click to view large... worth seeing big.
Some of the mountains backdropping our day.
Yaks, used as pack animals to carry gear and help re-supply the guesthouses, teahouses, etc.
This pilgrim asked me to take his photo, to which I happily obliged.
The picturesque snow-covered top of Mt. Kailash.
Sunrise hitting Kailash, as we embarked on day 2.
Prayer flags at Dorma La Pass, 5600+m above sea level. Uber thin air.
Pilgrims crossing Dorma La Pass.
The impressive vista that awaits those that crest over Dorma La Pass. Again, worth clicking to see large.
Our third day of trekking was the easiest, but the views were equally majestic.
Pano of our route on the final home stretch.