White from Above – Expedition Countdown

Departure date looms, white falls from above

One of the little towns that border our departure point

With three more days to go until departure on the Kawa Karpo expedition we’ve had a more than intense dump of snow from above, turning our town into something I wish it would be all year round: almost perfect.

We will leave the valley close to hear heading west

Beautiful as it is, it does add an edge and that natural wonder of unpredictability to our departure. What comes down hard here, will be coming down far more intensely upon the mountain passes that await us.

The way west on a day that does not relent

We will leave from a small “v” of a valley heading west out of the highland valley of Shangri-La (known to Tibetans as Gyalthang). Walking out to the area of our departure point, the entire floor of the land is a white sea, with only a few scattered yak hoofs dotting the floor.

And it clears briefly. One of the wonders of any day in the heights is that a change in the elements can come in minutes

The snow has in its eternal and rather welcome way muted all of the world’s sharp noises, barring the loyal canines.

Houses, mortals, four legged creatures and those that fly all welcome some white back...at least for the moment

Regardless of the departure day’s weather, the white brings a welcome reprieve from the dry sand coloured days. For myself it bodes well for a expedition through the mountains.

As the old traders of the Tea Horse Road used to say, “everyday begins and that is all you know when you wake up”.



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 White from Above – Expedition Countdown

  1. Safe journey, Jeff. Looking forward to reading the blogs.

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