Dochu La


December 8 2023


We make two transits over the  Dochu La, the highest mountain pass in Bhutan at 3100 m. 10,200 ft. The first stop is outbound heading east  through the mountains and valleys to ancient Punakha. 

The weather is perfect.  Not too cold. A bit windy.  In the distance the snow-capped, cloud-embraced Himalayas brings a smile to my face. 

Impressive and inviting, Druk Wangyal Chortens, a monument of 108 Bhutan style memorial stupas surrounds the top of the pass.  I’m so fortunate to be here. 

Other travelers, mostly tour groups from neighboring India, cameras and phones snapping away, their mellifluous insistent chatter adds a bit of the exotic to the panoramic atmosphere.

On the return trip several days later, the weather is fog!  The trees, the stupas, and the adjacent buildings are all cloaked in fog.  No mountains to see.  Only mountain mist. No vistas of any sort.  Tourists, disappointed, arrive and depart.  I consider not even leaving the car and certainly not bothering with my camera. 

But I remind myself, “Jan, wherever you are, there’s always something of interest to see.”

The fog-bound leafless trees are lovely.  The service buildings mysterious.  And then a young woman appears.   She’s traveling alone.  I shout out. She stops. We chat  She poses and poses. And poses again.  With me!

Claire is her name.

A beauty from Trinidad!

Like I said….


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