Leg 8: Toy Trains, Monkey Thieves and a Fever

Adventurer, guide and photojournalist Bruce Kirkby is taking his entire family on a 13,000 mile journey from their home in British Colombia to a remote monastery in the Himalaya, all without taking a single plane. After 88 days, 15 modes of transportation and 12,900 miles, the Kirkby family is just 100 miles from their final destination-Karsha Gompa, a cliff-side monastery in Ladakh. They will trek the last 100 miles through a rugged and wild Himalayan landscape, in a part of the world that has hardly been touched. The trail takes them on an ancient trading route that is slowly being turned into a road by the Indian government. Once complete, it will connect Ladakh with the modern world. The family hikes to the Shingo La Pass, at an elevation of 16,700 feet. After a little convincing, Bodi decides to ride on a pony for the remainder of the trek, something very outside of his comfort zone. They ford the Kargyak River, wading through frigid waters, while also making their way down narrow paths with hundred feet drop-offs. They stop at a small village where Bodi and Taj play with the local children and offer them notebooks and pens. Fully expecting to trek all the way to the monastery, the family is surprised to learn that road has already been built for the last 20 miles. The change that they have been rushing to beat has already arrived. A short taxi ride takes them to the monastery where they will live for the next three months. They are greeted by Lama Wangyal, where the boys each take his hand, something neither would have done at the beginning of the journey. The Lama welcomes the family into his self-built home and the happy and exhausted family settle into one room of his small low-ceilinged abode. They're 13,000 miles from home. 0 miles to go.

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