June 9, 2009:

Day 5 of Trek:
Chaluk (3,525 m) to Markha (3,760 m)
After a good night sleep we had breakfast and left the campsite at 8:15 am. It was sunny
and warm. At first we saw lots of caves and crumbled forts on the left side of the river, a
sign of earlier and numerous inhabitants, and then came across more chortens and mani
A little later we met a couple of goat herders with their goat herds. Lakpa talked to them for
a while as there was some confusion about the name of the place we camped at overnight
but I don't think these two  locals were able to solve this "problem". So we continued
making fun of Kim for the rest of the trip not knowing the names of her campsites.
We went through the little village of Tunespa and, shortly
thereafter, more chortens and mani walls. Here we stopped for a
while at a so-called lhatoo, an offering place for the local deities.
A little further up the valley, more chortens and then, a wolf trap. Here we had lunch. During
fall this trap apparantly is in use by the locals. They put a sheep in there as bait and once a
wolf jumps in, it cannot get out because of the overhanging walls of the trap. The wolf is
then stoned to death by the villagers. I thought they were Buddhists and loved living
Another river crossing, this time by foot and we were in Markha. We could see the
crumbling fort on top of the hill from far away. We went through the village. The villagers
were in the field and plowing them with their yaks (actually dzongs). It was interesting to
watch them and listen to their chant while working.
Our campsite was on the other side of Markha where the valley was quite wide. It was a
beautiful campsite. We rested for a while and then went back to Markha and hiked up to
visit the gompa from where we had great views.
We made our way over to the old fort and tried to get all the way to the top. However, all
the structures were in disrepair and it was quite dangerous at one point to continue. Only
Lakpa went all the way to the top of the old palace.
On the way back to our campsite we watched one of the local women how she irrigated the
fields. As a stream was coming from the valley higher up, the water was rerouted into
canals. The woman then either opened or closed these canals with a shovel and some dirt.
Pretty simple but effective stuff.
Close to dinner time the children of the village visited us and we gave them some little
presents and made a donation to the school. They were cute and especially Kim had fun
playing with them.

We had Pizza for dinner. Went to bed a little earlier, but couldn't sleep too well because of
the damn' village dogs barking all night.
Wolf Trap