Thursday, September 29, 2011

Boating with the Yaks

I have just made it home from an eight day journey with some amazing adventures and extreme thrills.  We travelled with a group of Canadian boaters and Kiwi and Australian guides as we explored the remote Tibetan frontier.  We had white water excitement and amazing cultural experiences.  Through out this trip, I have met amazing local Tibetans, viewed beautiful scenery, and had exotic paddling experiences.

My first paddling experience of the trip was in a large paddle raft.  Pat, the Australian raft guide, would shout forward paddle, back paddle, as well as singing all range of popular songs from the seventies to the present.  “Put your back into it, forward harder.” On the second day, we ran a huge drop that threw the whole crew.  While I rafted, my parents and the rest of the guided group all kayaked.  The raft ran rapids first to rescue any kayakers that did not do as well as the others.  Towards the end of the trip, I kayaked in an inflatable kayak (IK).  When I was in Slovenia, I boated in a hard shell kayak.  The difference between the two is that the IK is inflatable and much bigger.  The hard shell is smaller, is not inflatable, is more maneuverable but is a wetter boating experience.  As I did not have a dry suit, I needed to stay in the warmer and drier IK.  I loved riding through the thrilling rapids in the small boat on the water.

My second highlight of the expedition was the friendly Tibetan locals.  Every day when we put in, a group of locals greeted us with laughter and kindness.  Each one was eager to help and I think that every Tibetan girl had a big crush on me.  They would smile and giggle and sit next to me.  One night, a group of Tibetans came to our camp who were a little different.  They were super wild and one was a little creepy.  He constantly made rude hand signs to me which I should not explain.  Except for the one evening, we all left with great feelings towards their exotic culture.  
Blair, our Kiwi Guide, and the Local Kids

The boating and travel experience was made even more special by the spectacular scenery.  Every day we boated through mazes of mountains with snow covering the peaks.  Beside the river, grazing through the green grass, were herds of Yaks.  For those who do not know, Yaks are big shaggy mammals with horns and hoofed feet.  Crossing the river from cliff to cliff were beautiful prayer flags and bridges.  I have never been in a more peaceful place in my entire life. 

At 4,900 meters

I loved my Tibetan experiences and hope to visit again one day.  I am sorry, I have not written for so long.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to write reliably over the next few weeks.  Tomorrow morning, we begin a four day drive from Lhasa to Nepal.  We may not have internet connection along the way.  Once in Nepal, we will be leaving on an eleven day trek and will return to Katmandu around the sixteenth of October.  I will try to write when possible.  I love all of you reading.

Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!          


  1. Hi All,
    Quick heads up about our visa situation... we did manage an extension for 3 days on our China Visa and we'll be leaving the border on the very last day. So, all worked out on that front. No worries!!

  2. Fabulous post -- what a killer adventure! Looking forward to more tales of the extreme!