We were farewelled from Mundon/Mongdong mid morning by all the four families of the hamlet, many of them dressed up especially in their finest Tibetan clothes. We posed for a few portraits, and then it was time to depart. Again I tried walking up the trail, but even a short stroll up the relatively easy slope left me breathless. I remembered we were close to 4500 metres high.
“Qi ma!” urged the horse handlers, and I quickly complied. “Without horses you’d have no chance of getting to here,” said Zago. And as Rock had noted: “Merely walking or climbing over a steep trail at heights of 16,000 feet is difficult enough, without carrying 80-100 pounds on one’s back. This feat was performed by the Hsifan peasants through fear of our lama, who represented the Muli king ...”