The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek takes you on a journey across one of the most remote places in the world. The trek offers moderate terrain to explore, with very few sections that offer challenging inclines — you will be accompanied by a couple of guides who bring along their horses.
As you ascend to Dagala’s peak (4,716 m), you will reach a few checkpoints that offer the clearest views of the world’s tallest peaks, including Jomolhari (7,326 m), Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) and Everest (8,848 m). Not to mention, you will also pass by a few of Dagala’s crystal clear lakes, whose water will move on to join several major regional waterways.
Your trek is set in mountain wilderness, where no sign of permanent human settlement can be found. There is not a single village along the Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek per se, however you will encounter the semi-nomadic yak herders who make their camps in stone huts.
The life of semi-nomadic yak herders
Yak herding has long been the way of life for traditional Bhutanese since most of the land in Bhutan is not arable. Yak herders are predominantly found in the north and eastern regions of Bhutan, where the altitude of the land is much too high for the productive cultivation of grains, fruits and vegetables.
Therefore the major source of income stems from these large furry animals, which provide nearly all the material that the herders require — high-calorie milk for drinking, butter and cheese; leather, fur, and bones for tools and clothing, and meat for food. Any excess can be bartered for oil, grain and spices. Those living near Thimphu such as on the slopes of Dagala, would likely sell their surpluses for the national currency, and are likely to live permanently in villages, leaving only a few times a year to find fresh pasture.
The race against time
The effects of climate change are already being felt by traditional yak herders. Although not all of them are fully aware of the cause, unusual weather patterns are noticeably more frequent. Thinning glaciers, unexpected flash floods and unusually warm days are putting the tradition of yak herding on thin ice.
It is not just the modernization of Bhutan’s villages that entices younger generations to leave for the city for a less laborious lifestyle, but climate change too is making yak herding more difficult than ever. Some young men and women seek out opportunities as expert guides to help visitors on their journey through the Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek.
The Dagala Thousand Lakes Trek can be appreciated with the help of local guides whose ancestors have roamed the mountains for centuries. Join us on an expedition of roads less travelled with Flagship Luxury Expeditions.