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January 19, 2006 O'Hare to Beijing, Beijing to Kunming, Kunming to Gyalthang... during each step of my journey, the legroom on the plane grows smaller and smaller. Apparently, I need some spiritual cleansing.
January 23, 2006 He tells me that if I am concerned about the benefits that I will receive from my pilgrimage, I can expect little. He suggests that a better attitude would be to perform the pilgrimage in the hope that it would benefit all beings.
January 19, 2006 After a visit to Ringha Temple, we drive toward the old trading town of Deqin. I've had no sleep, I'm coming down with a cold — sore throat, stuffy nose, upset stomach — and I'm wondering what I got myself into.
January 19, 2006 Our five horsemen and cook quickly load our seven pack animals with enough food and fuel to see us through 20 days of mountain trekking. We say goodbye to our driver, his wife and the last motorized transportation we will see until our pilgrimage is completed.
January 24, 2006 While we have tents, a fuel-burning stove, canisters of fuel and seven horses, our neighbors have the clothes on their back, a large bag of barley flower (called tsampa) and utensils to prepare butter tea and possibly barley bread.
January 19, 2006 A yak bull passes us, heading downward towards a village. The yak is limping and its right front leg appears to be broken. I wonder what fate might await him when he returns home...
January 19, 2006 We will rest here tonight following our daunting trek over the Dokarla pass. Despite the early morning rain, our trek out of Yudrathang and the vertigo-producing ascent up to the Dokarla pass, we arrive here four hours ahead of schedule.
January 19, 2006 Perhaps this is the personal transformation that I will experience — a transformation from respect for the spiritual commitment of the pilgrims to respect for the mountain deity, Kawakarpo.
January 19, 2006 It never fails, whenever we camp, that any number of Tibetans young or old will walk up to our campsite, move alongside or in front of you and just... watch.
January 19, 2006 The village fades into the distance below us but smoke from the houses still fills the air with the delightful smell of sweet burning juniper branches. Every morning, the head of each household rises before dawn and burns the juniper and prays for help from the mountain god.
January 19, 2006 I am tired after five-and-a-half hours of trekking up the spine of this mountain. I'm almost too tired to prepare my recording equipment for our long trek across the snow-covered Shula pass.
January 19, 2006 Having reached the final pass of the pilgrimage I am excited, delighted and grateful for having had this opportunity to share this amazing journey with so many devout people. It's overwhelming — and frankly indescribable.
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