Puiyan -> Phakding
Apr 18, 2002
It's a cold and clear start. Just outside of Puiyan I'm greeted with a mountain view - great pyramids of rock and ice. For the rest of the day, as I approach the Himalayas, there will be mountain views. Mountains to the left, mountains to the right, and mountains straight ahead.
Yet one more knee-crunching descent and yet one more hot climb. Since Jumbesi, my morning hikes have been disturbed by aircraft flying overhead. Now, I'm approaching the airport. I've read about this landing and apparently it's terrifying. I see the planes dive bombing a hill at about 30 degrees, before dropping out of sight. It looks as if they are certainly going to crash, but they pull up at the last minute to land on this short and steep runway.
My path drops below the airport. A bit later two paths merge. It's a sudden shock. Before 10 tourists was a huge crowd, now there are tourists everywhere. Groups of Japanese with video camera and even a guy riding on a horse (although I realize later that he was probably injured).
8am depart -- 1 hour lunch -- 3pm arrival
casualties: Loss of sense of having the mountain to myself.