|Valley of the Black Necked Cranes|
|Large Trucks Take over Roadway|
|Yaks Roaming Freely (very aggressive)|
At this altitude, magnolias, daphne, weeping cypress, fir, larix, pieris, kalmia and the famous Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis) also grow. The inner bark of the daphne is used to make traditional Buddhist writing paper.
Logging is strictly controlled in Bhutan and it is forbidden to cut down the towering weeping cypress (Bhutan's national tree) except for use in monasteries and dzongs. It is a sacred tree and we often see incredibly large specimens (45 m) growing around temples and monasteries.
It's fall and the blue gentians are in bloom. I spy a blue primula that is also in bloom on the side of the road. Locals rub the leaves on their faces to protect from dry skin at high altitudes. In all there are 71 species of primula in Bhutan. At lower altitudes, I was surprised to see a pink flowering tree that our driver says is a peach tree. I know they have two crops of rice in some areas of Bhutan, but a peach tree blooming in October is unusual.
|Facade of Hotel|
|Back of Hotel and Outdoor Dining Area|
|Wetlands for Black-Necked Crane|
|Dance of the Masks|
|Singers in front of Monastery|
|Locals Crowd Yama, Lord of Death Mask for Blessings|
|Ngha Drum and Cymbals|
|Clown Mask (note fertility symbol)|
Earlier, as the festival ended, I had turned to photograph a grouping of white prayer flags fluttering in the wind on tall bamboo poles. As I did, a lone, large black raven glided in and perched on top of the highest pole. Apparently the ravens I had seen earlier were good omens after all.
In Bhutan, success is measured not by GDP, but by GNH (Gross National Happiness). Even though we missed the cranes, we experienced an incredible spectacle, we have a comfortable hotel, and Carolann is happy. My GNH is high!