Tea Horse Road Chronicles - Jokhang Boys
After 52 days of trekking from my then home in Zhongdian (aka: Shangrila/Jiantang/Gyalthang) in northwestern Yunnan, a small celebration (and first shower) is had in Lhasa amidst those who have come from every corner of the Tibetan Plateau to pay homage. Here in the gentle chaos of Barkhor Square, we take a pose in front of the timeless Jokhang Temple. At various times all of these gents were pivotal characters along the journey and in my life. The slim and polite denim-clad Sonam (at far right) belies one of the most ferocious wills and straight up strongmen that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and journeying with. Amongst this group he was the only one on every one of those 52 days and nights of journeying on the Lhasa portion and he would be a partner on dozens of subsequent mountain journeys. Tireless, authentic, and brutally compassionate, he remains a light amongst it all to this day. From left to right, Yeshi (The Wizard), myself, Dakpa (The Alchemist), Tenzin of Litang, and Sonam Gelek (‘Spiderman’). A rare moment of unity in one place; the journey for Sonam and I to arrive intact embedded Lhasa’s meaning more deeply into the bones than any book or preconception of the place. A good moment that! A couple of short days later Yeshi and I would depart on a winding journey south into Kathmandu and onto Kalimpong, India.