>Travel Pictures




Nestled in the foothills of the mountains, we took advantage of the hiking opportunities that were afforded us. We never did any overnight trekking, but we did spend time exploring the area around McLeod Ganj.
Our first day trip was to the waterfall cascading down into the neighboring village - Bhagsu. It was an easy trip, on a mostly-paved road, but was the perfect way to get us out into the countryside.

As we headed up the canyon, we saw that many of the monks came to this river to do their laundry and bathing! The bright red and yellow of their robes contrasted brightly with the green and gray of the natural surroundings.

The waterfall itself is 'nice' and the pool is pretty, but certainly not on any 'wonders of the world' list. The disappointing thing we noticed was that, even here, the trash was everywhere. So sad that people don't take care of the natural wonders they are given.

Deciding to hike further up the canyon, we came to a tea shop with these painted rocks of local deities. From right to left, there is the goddess Durga on a lion, the elephant headed Ganesh, the Willie Nelsonesque Sai Baba, and hey - Jesus is in there!

Under the watchful eye of Tibetan prayer flags, we stopped for a cold drink and a rest.

While we passed on getting a head and/or body massage, we have to admit we were tempted, especially given all the testimonial photographs!

For some reason, even though he made his disgust perfectly well known, the local stray dog 'adopted' Dave and even put his paw on his leg.

But we continued on, under a sky filled with falcons seeking out a meal (can you find the lizard in the picture above?)

It was just a lovely day to be out. Breck splashed rocks, Alea and Breck clambered all over the creek bed, and we dangled our toes in the water, enjoying the chance to relax up in the mountains.

The next day we wandered out of town in the opposite direction. We passed a British church from the Raj era, and Susan wandered through the expansive graveyard looking for ancestors (I think). We eventually made it all the way up to Dall Lake, but were somewhat taken aback by the appearance. It seems that there are some recent water sharing issues going around between different rights holders, and as a result there is not much to see or do currently.
Oh well - we just went shopping!!

Our BIG hike, however, got started a lot earlier in the morning. We were going up the mountain to the lookout site of Triund. Up, up, and away!

As we got higher and higher, the day started to get warmer...

We just had a blast goofing around. Here the kids and mom are struck by an avalanche!! Watch out!!

But that is ok, since there were all sorts of shepherds to greet and sheep to pet along the way!

"Good morning, Stutz family."

When we finally made it to the top (at least the top as far as we were concerned), the view was breathtaking.
Straddling deep valleys on both sides, the camps at Triund provide a place to eat, drink, and rest. Trekkers can actually just show up there, and the outfitters have tents and sleeping bags and all you need to spend the night. We were just on a day trip, but were tempted by the chance to cleanse our souls. Can you see the yoga-ing person doing just that in the picture on the right?

Breck did give his inner peacefulness a chance to come out, while the rest of us soaked in the views and marveled at the nature around us.

It was like something out of a pastoral movie, with stocky mountain horses eating in the shadow of the biggest mountains on Earth. Of course, these are just the baby brothers to the giants further inside the range, but still!

Once his inner child was satisfied, Breck took off after another herd of goats that he saw in the distance. Following him, we found two goatherders living in a rock house at this saddle.
The kids had a blast with the kids, and were so gentle with the babies.
The herd was a little unsure about having us near them, but Alea and Breck eventually won their trust. We had lunch up at the top, and then as the afternoon clouds rolled in decided to leave. The hike down was a lot quicker (and easier!), and we arrived in town in time for dinner.

That night, however, we were in for a true surprise as the mountain got in a little revenge: we were all shook awake by an earthquake that rattled us up pretty good! No damage was done, but in light of the fact that the whole city was destroyed in 1905 by a tremor, it certainly got our attention!

Dharamsala - welcome - shopping - arts and crafts - buddhism - hiking - wrap up

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