By 5 am we're on the road heading back north into the mountains again. We follow a wide stony riverbed, one third filled with clear water flowing south. The rivers will fill once the summer monsoons come. Waiting for the border police to check our papers (we're right on the border), we see a Wreathed Hornbill, a bizarrely adorned bird with a bulbous yellow pouch under its neck. There's a black line across the pouch making it look like a smile under his neck.
Our goal today is to reach the breakfast site without being stopped for road construction which can cause 2.5 hour delay. Landslides perennially wipe out the road, each winter they try to repair it only to be wiped out again. The slope is full of gravel and sand with a road graded into the mountainside. We take this gravel road, praying nothing gives way.
In spite of the brief tense moments, it's another pleasant morning, the sun breaking over the mountains as we weave along the gravel road. More prayer flags. Spring is hitting the mountains; trees, shrubs are in bloom, leaves emerging, vines, and banks of ferns. Such a beautiful country. The Kingdom of Bhutan (Druk yul, Land of the Thunder Dragon) is trying to stay as environmentally intact as possible including some virgin forest thus preserving a floristic and avian diversity. There is little hunting. Tourist numbers are limited with a governmental surcharge of $100/day/pp for infrastructure. Sustainable lumber harvesting awards citizens with a specific number of trees to build a house. How unique is a country where the national sport is archery.
Another cool bird today: Yellow-cheeked Tit - think yellow and grey Chickadee with a tall black crest.
Tonight we camp again in a low valley . It's much warmer, the stars are out, it's quite civilized camping.