We flew from Bangkok to Paro, one of the most famous white-knuckle air approaches in the world – although the two American women next to me were talking so hard they were oblivious to the mountain wall about fifteen feet from our port wing tip.

‘Gee, why’s everyone clapping?’ asked one as we touched down.

Since then we have driven for two days over mountain passes draped with prayer flags and reached the Bumthang valley. It’s a landscape of forested hillsides, waterfalls, terraced rice paddies and apple orchards. The guest house where we are catching our breath is set in farmland, and from his own produce the Swiss owner makes soft and hard cheeses, butter, jams, honey, and brews his own weiss bier. We looked in for a tasting at the brewery this afternoon, after visiting the annual Bumthang Tsechu festival at the monastery. Black hat Buddhists danced and masked grotesques waved carved wooden phalluses as local families picnicked on the grass.

I am paring down and packing kit ready for the yak’s back. The camp crew are on their way to meet us at the trail head, and Kesang our guide says that now ‘blessed rainy day’ is past there will be no more monsoon rain.

We’re ready to go!

I hope to put up one or two posts before I leave on the trek, but fragile internet means pictures may have to wait until I get back.

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