In Bhutan, where human settlements are far and few in between, the distance between urbanity and wilderness is blurred. Most often, within a one-mile radius, there are more trees than people. So they say the best way to see Bhutan is on foot, lugging tents and food on yaks.

Typically, you begin a trek in Bhutan in scented pine trees on the lower slopes before entering brooding oak forests where gnarled branches drip in velvety green moss. Above you cypress, spruce, juniper and birch scamper up the mountainside clinging improbably to sheer cliffs where their feathery branches catch the sun and line the mountains with tinsel. That’s what you don’t get in the rest of the Himalayas, ancient forests.

Mornings, you may unzip your tent to discover one of those crisp days that gets your senses jangling. Unsure of where to look first, your eyes ricochet from a snowy peak to a dewy pine forest to an al fresco breakfast table bearing a combination of porridge, bread and jam. Just metres away a river roars relentlessly, a deafening rush that means you have to bellow across the table for someone to pass the sugar.

Beyond the trees, you climb ever higher through a landscape that looks like the highlands of Scotland – bleak and beautiful, with teeth-clenching glacial wind that hurtles straight at you, laughing in the face of Gore-Tex. Trumpet gentian and edelweiss huddle close together as you tramp past, while hardy gorse bushes stand their ground in defiance.

A trek in Bhutan may or may not affect your body. But it will affect your spirit


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