Despatch 25.05.10 – I’ve never ascended so fast to sleep at 4800m before and I can’t recommend it. All three of us were nursing headaches after a night of broken sleep. Prem showed his displeasure by banging round the kitchen tent while making porridge. But if the day didn’t start propitiously it quickly got better.
Turning west at Tsochen, with a hundred miles ahead of us, we found ourselves following broad open valley systems overlooked by rounded hills dotted with herds of yaks and nomad tents. There was plenty of wildlife too, including several black cranes that migrate over the Himalaya and a handsome grey fox. Tibetan marmots, however, with their bright orange fur are rather punkish.
Gradually the hills receded and we came down onto salt pans once filled with lakes. We stopped near some nomad tents for lunch and the locals came over to give us the once over. The patriarch looked very grand in his lokbar, a sheepskin coat with long arms that wraps double across your chest. He wanted a picture of the Dalai Lama but gone are the days when smuggling a few into Tibet was a trivial offence.
By mid afternoon we’d reached the end of the salt flats and a decision. We could drive north in the hope of finding a track to take us round the top of Kedang Kangri to its west side, or head south and then west. We’d heard stories of some beautiful Tibetan art on this side, and that swung our decision. We were rewarded with our best campsite, on the shores of Taro Tso by a small stream stuffed with fish.
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