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Today we'll visit a monastery, do some downhill hiking and learn about birds.

The view from the hotel remains pretty.


So does the hotel.


Look!  Somebody's been practicing their archery!


No gate.  If you want to be on the other side of the fence you'll have to do some climbing.


But the view will be worth it.




Another pretty view.


Now here's a fine old stupa in the middle of the road. Told you they come in all shapes and sizes.


We've arrived at the Gangteng Monastery

Tim prepares to enter.


This place is old; it was established in 1613 and it's currently undergoing some much-needed restoration.


The work is extensive.


But the beauty of the architecture is undiminished.


This guy scares the evil spirits away.


From way up there.


Very old and beautifully intricate.


There are monks here.


Look come some prayers.


Tim talks about life in monks' quarters.


The quarters may be old, but the footwear isn't.


Monks in training may be as young as seven.


This one is thinking about things.


Restoration of the monastery requires lots of manual labor.


But these monks are up to the task.


No nails, just mortise and tenon as in the old days.


That tree has been around a long time.


Mama and cute baby.  I couldn't resist.


The head of a monastery is a lama, and this one is Tim's brother-in-law.  He very graciously spent some time with us discussing life in the monastery.  We noticed that while he was with us physically, his attention kept wandering out the window as he observed his pupils working on the restoration.


We snacked on puffed rice.  Not bad.


But it didn't snap, crackle and pop.


Now, even though the darkening sky has begun to sprinkle rain, we're off on a hike.  There's that stupa again.


There.  You can read about the valley.


Meanwhile, we'll be hiking.


Pretty view.


Bill certainly likes it.


The dog wonders why the crazy Americans are walking in the rain.


Actually the rain wasn't so bad and the temperature was perfect for this.


Besides, it was all downhill.


Tim said those clumps of weed are some sort of invasive species.


Pretty, though.


Walking in the woods in the rain.


Pretty soon the rain stopped and the sun peeked out.


The woods were lovely, dark and deep.


And we had miles to go, etc.


The ever-resourceful Tim is gathering slabs of bark and ferns to put on the ground when we have to cross muddy spots.


Always prepared.


There are cows about, so it's best to watch where you step around here.


The lichen that hangs from the trees looks something like Spanish moss.


The trail's getting narrower.


And now we've arrived at a lookout.


A nice place to view the valley and drink some of the boxed fruit juice Sonam has helpfully brought along.


Somebody died.


And Bill contemplates.


Drink up, Road Scholars.


There's more hiking to be done.


Lots more.


Anybody seen some of that tasty weed around here?


Don't fall in, Road Scholars.


People keep dying around here.


This area is actually of international importance as it's a nesting ground for the "vulnerable" black-necked crane.


There's even a black-necked crane visitor center.




With a statue of a black-necked crane.  Don't touch it.


And there's even a real black-necked crane.  His name is Karma.  Poor thing's wing is broken so he can't migrate with all his friends and he has to live here, all alone.  Maybe that's why he's so annoyed by my camera that he won't look this way.


Everybody wants a picture of Karma.


Let's look at the exhibits inside.


Tim shows us where we are in the valley and tells us about how the cranes always circle the Gangteng Monastery three times when they arrive in their migration in winter, and again three times when they depart the valley in spring.


The Road Scholars discovered a black-necked crane suit in a display room and nobody was watching and ... Jean, no, wait, you'll get into trouble!


Charlotte appears to be possessed by the spirit of the black-necked crane.


Bill maybe not so much.


More hiking.


There's a restaurant.


And there's the dishwasher.


And there's the road home.


Look, another water-powered prayer wheel.  The prayers never cease around here.


The valley is lovely.  Look, isn't that a potato farmer out there in the field.


Sure is.


C'mon, look up this way.


That's about the best I could get.


These school kids made a nice picture, though.


They live in a pretty valley.


And if you watch closely, you might catch one of them doing her homework in a doorway.


Getting closer to home.


Some kids are watching the American tourists amble by.


Hi kids.


Home at last.


We have potato farmers in the hotel's front yard!

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