gmhTODAY 07 gmhToday Mar Apr 2016 - Page 93

tea and cookies, and some of our recently purchased “Hit Beer” (made in Sikkim). We stayed in that tent through dinner, enjoying the conversations and warmth, then made our way reluctantly back through the cold to our own tents to sleep. On day 5, we rose at 3:00 am to begin our hike up to Dzongri observation peak ( 13,675 feet) in order to see a Himalayan sunrise. Headlamps and flashlights helped us navigate the treacherous footing in the pre-dawn hours, but seeing the sun rise over Mt. Khangchendzonga was well worth the 700 foot climb. We looked down on the Prek Chu river valley and moraine, our afternoon destination. We trekked through hillsides of rhododendrons, along icy streams, and saw wild yaks in a distance. The trail down to the river valley was incredibly rugged and steep, crossing the tumultuous waters of the Prek Chu on log bridges that somehow withstood the weight of our dzos and horses. We went through mossy, mystical forests on our way to the next campsite, Thansing, at 12,900 feet. I had cut back on my water consumption that day and was exhausted, feeling my first bit of altitude nausea. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MARCH/APRIL 2016 93