Episode 156: O Canada

Maple Leaf, OK. Snow Lions, Not So Much. One of the highlights of the Friendship Highway–literally one of its highest points–is the beautiful Karo La. The pass is somewhere around 5000m or almost 16,500 feet high and the view from the roadway is dominated by the magnificent Karo La Glacier.

Although I had the good fortune to visit this pass with Scott Jacobs back in 2007, the weather was poor and the view almost nonexistent. At the time I had no idea what was hiding behind the clouds and snowflakes. Today when we came over the pass in the Land Cruisers I stepped out and looked around thinking to myself “Hmmm, I’ve never been here before. We must be on a different road.” After a few minutes, though, I began to get a strong feeling of deja vu and realized that I actually had been here before.

Much like my previous visit, there were young Tibetan children running around entertaining themselves with the tourist visitors. They were in for a treat today.

Kevin has brought several dozen small LED flashlights with him and decided Karo La presented the perfect opportunity to begin handing them out. Likewise, Geoffrey has brought many small Canadian flags with him and handed a number of them out to the kids. They went absolutely nuts waving the flags in front of all of our cameras.

Once The Maple Leaf Melee was over we climbed back into our vehicles for the last push towards Gyantse. In our Jeep Kevin, Jill, Roger and I reflected upon that impromptu show of Canadian Pride. Flags may not seem like a big deal to most people but here in the Tibet Autonomous Region within the People’s Republic of China, the Tibetan flag itself is illegal. The penalty upon discovery of a Tibetan flag is imprisonment.

That fact makes those waving Canadian flags another truly beautiful view here at Karo La.

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 28:30