We left our overnight stop after our day at Everest to join the 219 and head into western Tibet on route to Kashgar.
We were catching good views of Everest early in the day till we had our last sighting in the rear view mirror.
That days drive was through high valleys most of the way with gentle passes to take us into the next valley,
All through these valleys were remnants of very old mud and stone housing from times long long past. We asked our guide about the age and all he could tell us was centuries ago with no number on the Centuries.
The last 90k into Saga was on a brand new pavement road only just completed. We are still trying to work out how you could get such a rough finish on the new road as we could only do about 60 kph for the first 20k’s until a better operator must has taken over the machine so all was good till the last 5k into town that was an unserviced detour so that was a 15kph trip.
Saga to Darchen in the shadows of Mt Kailash was our longest drive for the trip to date but was quite easy on all of us as we drove the 219 all the way through high valleys at 4000 metres with gentle passes up to 5140 metres. We detoured in to Lake Manasarovar as it and Mt Kailash are both holy sites to the Bon, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism religions. We only caught a glimpse of Mt Kailash in between the cloud that was engulfing it that afternoon.
All through the drive we passed Nomads with herds of sheep and yaks grazing all these high pastures. with some valley sections being extremely lush with many herds of livestock and the next being so barren there was almost nothing to graze on.
That night we elected to stay on one of the cheaper hotels instead of the flash place across the road. We even paid extra for a room with central heating, what a joke that turned out to be, because at midnight their generator was turned off so the central heating as well as the electric blanket stopped working to leave us both a little cold and looking for more bedding at 1am.
After leaving Darchen that morning we turned off the 219 to go to Zanda and the Earth Forest with a climb to 5170 and across the top of some very high country where we saw our first Tibetan Antelope and Deer for the trip.
We had no idea what an Earth Forest was until we started to descend and caught sight of what we were entering. An Earth Forest in China is an area of eroded clay and sand deposit formed in an ancient lake over the last 2 to 20 million years. None of the formations are actually rock just compressed sand and river stone in varying layers. a lot of the formation reminded us both of giant dribble castles we used to make at the beach with the Kids.
The Rest day in Zanda started with a trip to the remains of Guge Kingdom built into the walls of part of the canyon and was inhabited from the 10th to the 17th century with murals on walls in Temples still intact. I would like to say I climbed to the top but alas I only made it about a third of the way up before turning back.
That afternoon we spent giving Penny some love and attention, which involved sorting the lights properly this time after a slack attempt a few days ago in Lhasa. Julie found the source of a rattle we have had underneath that turned out to be a cracked splash guard for the Alternator. While working on the car we had an audience of locals watching who were staying at the same hotel. I climbed out from under the car as Julie was showing them what was wrong. They took the part and in no time it was back welded up with out us even asking so that annoying rattle is gone.
Every where we traveled in Tibet Yak poo and firewood was being stockpiled on tops of fences and houses ready for fires fuel in winter.
Our time in Zanda at 3740 metres was a reprieve from sleeping at above 4300 meters for previous 5 nights.
“So until next time thank for watching.”