June 14, 2009:

Day 9 of Trek:
Tsokra (4,330 m) to Dat (4,310 m)
After a good night sleep, the third in a row, Graham, Marc and I were sent ahead by the
boss (Kim) after breakfast. It was a beautiful hike down the valley and after an hour we
came to the actual village of Tsokra. Village is too big a word, just a few deserted stone
houses and pens. On top of the hill were the ruins of an old fort.
The river here disappeared into a little corkscrew canyon and that is where we waited for
Kim and Lakpa. Once Kim was there, she and I were the only ones who wanted to wade
through the river and through this little corkscrew canyon. I am hiking with a bunch of
sissies!
Anyway....I put on my sandals and stepped into the cold water and then we went through
this canyon. It was quite nice. On the other side, we put back on our hiking boots. The
scenery changed dramatically now and we entered a relatively narrow gorge.
Our horses overtook us and just then we saw another herd of blue sheep scrambling up the
sheer rock walls. We stayed in this canyon for a while until a valley to our left opened up.
This was the valley to Dat and we crossed the river again and started to hike up this valley.
Graham, Kirin, Marc and I stayed on the left side of the valley as the river was too wide to
jump and too deep to wade through it with boots on. Therefore, we kind of got separated
from Lakpa and Kim which got us a good tonguelashing from Kim later (poor girl was
worried we'd get lost, but Kim, we were only searching for Osama to get the big reward...or
was it Obama...hmmm).
Anyway, we finally decided we had no other choice but to cross the river, so we got off our
boots and crossed it. A little further down, the canyon narrowed a bit again and there were
more dramatic cliffs and rock spires.
Finally we had lunch at a pretty exposed rock formation. I was smart, got my plate full and
went back around the corner where there was no wind. After lunch we continued to hike in
the valley which now became wider and wider and even more beautiful.
About an hour after lunch we reached another lhatoo, or offering place. It was a beautiful
sight!! This lhatoo consisted of a huge mani wall with chortens around and lots of blue
sheep horns.  We spend a considerable amount of time here.

Dat was not too far away anymore and we reached it after crossing a couple of more ridges
with chortens and mani walls. Those chortens and mani walls indicate that this valley was
part of an old trade route.
From the top of the last ridge before camp, we set sight on our beautiful camp site. It was
located on a high plateau with snowcovered mountains in the distance. The village of Dat
was to our right and looked deserted. As a matter of fact, the villagers of Dat just had left a
couple of days earlier with all their livestock going up to higher pastures.
We finally made it to camp and had a well deserved chai tea after this long day. Once the
sun was down, it got colder and after a good dinner, we went to bed around 9 pm.