Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.

Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.
My 2014 calendar was entirely photographed on the western side of New Zealand's Southern Alps. "Land in the West" is printed at a size of A4 with twelve calendar month pages displaying stunning outdoor environment photographs. Take a look at my Facebook page to view all twelve 2014 calendar images! Order here via Paypal or email me at zakshawphotography@gmail.com if you would prefer to pay with online banking. Thanks for your support!
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Finding the Towang Chu, November 19th

The three day drive across Nepal and back into India went quickly. Along the way we gained impressive views of the Himalaya's and local people working the land.
Image - Zak Shaw
In Guwahati one of the major towns in the Indian province of Assam we met up with Andy Phillips our final team member. Assam is India's most populated province and the town of Guwahati never slept. Everything that happened did so at one hundred miles an hour. Stepping from the relative quiet of the hotel onto the main drag was such an abrupt change.

Kayaking travel isn't all about beautiful rivers, classic drops and glossy photographs. Make sure you pick the urinal which has its drainage pipe running under the floor and not on your feet! Allan Ellard holds his breath and gets ready to leave!

Chai stop, more masti more fun! One of the best thing about India is the signs! On the road we made regular stops to rehydrate by drinking Chai. As you can imagine we got alot of mileage out of the Chai Time Masti signs!

Will you make us Chai? Ah on second thoughts maybe not! Mikey Abbott not happy about what's on the menu!

Image - Zak Shaw - Sangrup pulls us through another turn.
From Guwahati we made good progress across the plains before the countryside got steep. In Bhalukpong we made our official entrance crossing the border into Arunachal Pradesh. India's roading is astounding. Near the border with Bhutan we drove for a full day up switchback after switchback until we finally topped out at Se La. Rolling over the 14,700ft pass signaled our arrival into the Towang Chu catchment. Jang is a village of reasonable size at river level in the heads of the Towang Chu, it was a great place to eat our favourite meal dhal with rice and roti. We gathered more info from the locals about the river before we continued on. Five hours later we had managed to gain 4 mere kilometres upstream before it got dark. Sometimes switchbacks are not to effective!

Image Zak Shaw - Mikey Abbott at sunset.

Image - our shelter for the night.
It was probably one of the coldest nights of our time in India. We crowded around a smokey fire inside the shacks drinking chai for a few hours before the smoke became to much. Their shelters were not eqipped with any form of chimney so we sat on the floor and drank with our bodies as low as possible. A group of local men were posted here for the entire winter, their job is to keep the road in good order.

Image Zak Shaw - The Upper Towang Chu valley
Its big country! to gain an idea of scale the river is the faint snaking white streak in the bottom left of the image.
With river access and proving to be more than challenging upriver we returned to Jang and set about gathering information about the 30km downstream towards the Bhutan border.
Buddhism is the main religion in this remote far western region. In Tawang we visited the Tawang monastery and did another day of driving downriver in an attempt to site a take out possibility before Bhutan.

Image Zak Shaw - Young monks heading off to attend one of the day's prayer sessions.

Image Zak Shaw - Inside the Tawang Monastery.

Image Zak Shaw - Local woman with a traditional spiked yaks wool hat.

Finally now some kayaking! After quite possibly the most driving weve ever done to get get wet on a river we geared up and set off down the Towang Chu. The first day of our three day, 30km first descent was brilliant. We put in at an elevation of 2000m below Jang. The first few moves were great and made the boys grin from ear to ear. We covered 7km of pushy whitewater mostly class 4+. At 3.30pm we pulled into a camp anticipating darkness at 5.30
Check in here in a couple of days for more action. Im flying home to NZ and should get some time on the plane to get a few thoughts written up!

Image Zak Shaw - Boatscoutable class 4+ Al Ellard enjoys one of the first moves during day one of our Towang Chu first descent. (November 27th)

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