Our morning started off beautifully. We went on a nature walk through the silver pine forest and spilled out into the wetlands valley of Gangtey. On our way, we spotted 2 of the last black-neck cranes in the valley which was quite auspicious :). With a belly full of Yak meat (Jeff and Q), we then embarked upon the drive from Gantey to Bumthang. It proved to be an adventure. The to be 5 hour trip turned into a scenic 9 hour drive on a bumpy road under construction. The terrain ranged from snow to dirt to extreme mud, driving me to crack open a bottle of wine, just short of the final pass at 12,000 feet. (For those of you that have been to Telluride, imagine the road to the top of Bridal Veil Falls...for 9 hours; then add fog, rain, extreme conditions.) Thanks to Karma's superb driving skills and Dorji's sense of humor, we made it to Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan.
Our hotel reminds us of Sipapu, given the swiss influence here. After having a delicious vegetarian meal (it is Holy month here so there is no meat available), lighting a fire for heat, and a few tears (I think that I have finally pushed my kids to their limit), we were off to bed. I was feeling pretty guilty last night for dragging my family on and into my midlife crisis; however, we awoke to a beautiful morning and 2 more black-necked cranes. I think all is working out as intended.
Note: Lha Gay Lo! is what our guide, Dorji, has us yell every time we cross a mountain pass.