Sacred Lakes Expedition – The Night-Before Departure

Picking up supplies today for the upcoming journey, I asked our resident elder Aniè – who will be leading the group – what I needed to pick up. His words were in very clear order: “Whisky, butter, tsampa, and pork fat”…he then jumped in to remind me that I needed to charge my cameras so that I could take many many shots of him.

So, our hard man (thankfully) still has some bits of vanity coursing through him…and why not.

We learned too that we’ll be passing through a remote Lisu village. Remote mountain people who were known (and disliked) for their hunting skills, the Lisu remain hidden atop mountains and tucked into deep valleys in these parts. The Lisu village we’ll pass through is one that speaks Tibetan due to their long proximity to their dominant neighbours. Our leader, the aged whisky connoisseur Aniè, once had a friend living there who he hopes to see once again…for the first time in decades. Cannot wait.

Temperatures are deep in the ‘minuses’, but the whole team is slightly giddy. Stars, heights, and faded memories stir the blood.

The sacred lakes we hope to find are named the ‘Black and White Lakes’ due to the fact that there are opposing – or balancing – spirits in the lakes. The two lakes are separated by no more than a metre and in the ancient days during times of drought, elders would ascend to the lakes and pray for an easing of the dry spells. It is said that the lakes would speak to the sky, which would in turn open up for rain to kiss the earth.

Our lakes will be icing over but not completely covered…apparently.

An early morning departure in the frost awaits.

About JeffFuchs

Bio Having lived for most of the past decade in Asia, Fuchs’ work has centered on indigenous mountain cultures, oral histories with an obsessive interest in tea. His photos and stories have appeared on three continents in award-winning publications Kyoto Journal, TRVL, and Outpost Magazine, as well as The Spanish Expedition Society, The Earth, Silkroad Foundation, The China Post Newspaper, The Toronto Star, The South China Morning Post and Traveler amongst others. Various pieces of his work are part of private collections in Europe, North America and Asia and he serves as the Asian Editor at Large for Canada’s award-winning Outpost magazine. Fuchs is the Wild China Explorer of the Year for 2011 for sustainable exploration of the Himalayan Trade Routes. He recently completed a month long expedition a previously undocumented ancient nomadic salt route at 4,000 metres becoming the first westerner to travel the Tsa’lam ‘salt road’ through Qinghai. Fuchs has written on indigenous perspectives for UNESCO, and has having consulted for National Geographic. Fuchs is a member of the fabled Explorers Club, which supports sustainable exploration and research. Jeff has worked with schools and universities, giving talks on both the importance of oral traditions, tea and mountain cultures. He has spoken to the prestigious Spanish Geographic Society in Madrid on culture and trade through the Himalayas and his sold out talk at the Museum of Nature in Canada focused on the enduring importance of oral narratives and the Himalayan trade routes. His recently released book ‘The Ancient Tea Horse Road’ (Penguin-Viking Publishers) details his 8-month groundbreaking journey traveling and chronicling one of the world’s great trade routes, The Tea Horse Road. Fuchs is the first westerner to have completed the entire route stretching almost six thousand kilometers through the Himalayas a dozen cultures. He makes his home in ‘Shangrila’, northwestern Yunnan upon the eastern extension of the Himalayan range where tea and mountains abound; and where he leads expeditions the award winning ‘Tea Horse Road Journey’ with Wild China along portions of the Ancient Tea Horse Road. To keep fueled up for life Fuchs co-founded JalamTeas which keeps him deep in the green while high in the hills.
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2 Responses to Sacred Lakes Expedition – The Night-Before Departure

  1. Debra Peyton says:

    I understand you may have met my son, Devin, and his traveling friend, Kevin recently. Dev is a forever learning tea connoisseur. He called to tell me that he had the great pleasure of meeting you. I feel out of all the memories of his 3 month trek through China, he will consider meeting you to be one of the greatest. I have enjoyed reading about all your adventures. You seem to be a great human soul. Debra

    • JeffFuchs says:

      A joy receiving your note and sentiment Deb. I had the pleasure of meeting Devin and key to that ‘meeting’ in Shangri-La, we spoke of tea at length which solidified a bond. Hope he did get down to the tea regions and enjoyed some of the joys of Puerh. It is a good feeling when people meet and it simply works. I think tea – and its world – play a roll in that mix. Devin has interest in tea and mountains so there are bound to be some good crossovers. Please communicate my best to him.
      from snow,

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