We woke up to 3-4 inches of snow on the ground so we decided to camp here one more day. We had breakfast around 10:00 a.m. Then Jinpa and Heinrich went to see if they could purchase a skin for Heinrich to sleep on as his air mattress has a leak. When that was done Heinrich headed up over the hill behind our camp. I asked Jinpa if he would walk that hill with me. Of course he said yes. That’s his job. Slowly, ever so slowly we climbed the 100 meters. It took us about an hour. But when we got to the top we saw chiru!!
In fact, 2 males walked so close past us Jinpa took several good pictures. It’s almost as if they were saying we know you can’t see us unless we get right under your noses so we’re going to do just that. It was so wonderful. Then we looked across the valley and saw another eight males. ..
The mountains across the basin are totally lost in the fog now. Snow has let up but the sky looks threatening. In the past fifteen minutes, four young nomads on two motorcycles drove up to visit. Jinpa applied his usual charm. I think he likes everyone. In the time of their visit, the clouds passed over the basin and the mountains across from us are visible again.
Of birds, I have seen several pairs that fly like geese and are shaped like geese, 4-6 regular crows, several that look like meadowlarks, and some that look like house sparrows only a little bigger. Of insects, there’s a huge bumblebee, a housefly-sized insect, and something a bit smaller than a fly. I also saw something that looked like a dark little moth or butterfly when we were walking downhill today.
My goals for tomorrow–
- see more chiru
- wash my hair
- sketch something
- write something about the Chang Tang
- try not to sleep as much as today
As I read over this journal I recall again and again what a great shift it was for me to be lifted out of my home and onto the plains of Tibet. Though I believe it made the trip harder for me to go by myself without Rich or anyone else I knew, I think I’m glad I had that experience, that is, the experience of encountering Tibet without any filters (except for the ones that are so internal that I always carry them with me). It’s difficult for me now to read the entries about homesickness, because I regret that I could not more fully participate in the Tibet part of the experience, but those feelings, too, were part of the experience.