We made it! We left Shegar around nine for the last leg of our journey to BC. It was a great leg! The scenery was amazing as was the trip back in history. We left the semi reliable cell phone coverage - yes we were having cell phone coverage all the way from Lhasa - no idea what the roaming charges will be - to a land where they built 10 story signal towers out of mud and straw to stay in touch and to warn of impending attack.
The road followed the natural contour of the land and stayed well inside the deep valleys carved out by ice eons ago. The mountains were a light bronze and glowed in the morning sunlight. We passed village after village with similar architecture in the pure Tibetan style. They subsisted off farming and raising sheep and cattle and the occasional trade. Nomads were scattered along the route with their herds of hundreds of sheep and goats living the life of centuries.
We passed the intersection to Mount Everest - a simple dirt road but marked with a huge sign in Chinese and Tibetan. This is the road that was marked to be paved for the 2008 Olympics but is stalled by environmental concerns. Our road went from a relatively nice, smooth paved surface free of the potholes we experienced a day ago to one of chip seal to one of simple dirt as we continued to leave civilization and enter the true land of Nomads. Yaks grazed freely along the hills and the villages were now simple in size but consistent in architecture.
Soon the snow capped Himalaya came into view. Everyone on our little bus strained to look for our goal. You could feel the energy increase. We crossed several streams, each one threatening to stall our arrival. But our skilled driver handled them with ease albeit after studying a couple for a few minutes before taking the leap.
Shisha came into view. The first view of an 8000 meter mountain is always a moment for pause. Our minds went through the gauntlet of hopes and fears. As advertised, she stood high and alone - a giant massive. Base Camp was still an hour and half away at our 30 mph rate so we settled back in our seats and the bus had the quiet hum of nervous conversation. But the sight of yak herds and an amazing Tibetan rider galloping faster than we could drive got everyone's attention and the hum turned into a roar.
And then we were there.