(Day 5) After waking up from a night of little sleep and lots of nausea, it was hitchhiking time again. Today we wanted to make it to the beginning of our trek at the foot of Amne Machin. After an hour or so of some last minute stocking up (food and an extra can of oxygen) we headed down the road in the direction of the mountains. It didn't take long to get picked up by a couple of young dudes who surprisingly took us in the very opposite direction than we thought we needed to go. But they insisted they were right (somehow, since they spoke no English from what I can remember). The proceeded to take us down a road to the middle of nowhere but into a place of stunning beauty. With our little mapsme app it did look like there might be a connecting road up in the mountains that would take us to Amne Machin, but after those guys dumped us off, most folks we asked told us we were going in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, we hitched another ride with a truck driver who took us to our first dead end. It killed half our day but we saw some amazing things, like a yak being slaughtered by some nomads and some epic mountain scenes.
After half a day wasted and a few rides back towards where we started we got a lift from a kind gentleman who claimed to be the sheriff of Dawu. He got us right back to where we'd hitched a ride with the young guys (we were right after all) and let us sit in his car while he stood in the rain trying to flag down a ride for us. He seemed to think he could use his clout as sheriff to make someone give us a ride. He put us on the phone with his son or brother who spoke a little English and suggested that he was arranging a ride for us. We never figured out quite what he had in mind, but after a while he got tired of the rain and said sorry, but you kids are on your own. And back out into the rain with most of the day gone, we were back to square one - trying to get a ride.
Fortunately for us, the Tibetan Elvis showed up and gave us ride pretty much all the way to Amne Machin. And what a glorious sight that was, those amazing mountains coming into view and just being out in the middle of nowhere, hardly a person in sight, and prayer flags flapping in the wind everywhere when we stepped out of the car.
The rain had stopped, it was still daylight and we had the whole place to ourselves it seemed. Somehow didn't manage to get photos of our first campsite. Probably too worried about getting set up before dark. But this is pretty much what we woke up to for our first full day following the route of the sacred kora around the mountain.
Up next: Running into a trek-mate and climbing ever higher.
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