Standing above Chele La Pass in Bhutan, at an even 4000 meters (13,123 ft), the wind screams with a full-throated spirit. It almost feels as though a malevolent force wants to knock you off your perch, which is why there are prayer flags all around. Before Buddhism came to South Asia, animism dominated the land, and because Buddha’s teachings can easily be adapted to other belief systems, it still does to a great extent. Wherever you see prayer flags, the believers who place them are trying to appease gods believed to control wind, rain, flooding and other natural forces.
In addition to ruminations on that, I was agog at the thought that there’s only one mountain in the Pacific Northwest taller than this pass, and yet I was still a few thousand feet below the snow line, and less than 1000 feet above the tree line. Bhutan, nestled between India, Nepal and Tibet, is at about the same latitude as Central Florida, so its elevation is balanced by being so close to the tropics.
Last post: Mt. Si with Storm Cloud
Next post: Snowdon