Yubeng was a beautiful, sunny, and warm oasis in the mountains. It cannot be reached by road, except by the most talented 4 wheel drive experts. It is an important pilgrimage site among Tibetan Buddhists who come to pray to the mountains for strength and the righteous path. There is an upper and lower village that has a total of 42 local families and a few Han Chinese families that have moved in to capitalize on the tourism. Our host Lobsang talked about how the village has changed in recent years. It has become popular among Chinese tourists so now the village has a serious garbage problem, as garbage can only be packed out by mule, and therefore often stays strewn about the mountains. (You can see the pile of used cup-o-noodle containers at the tea house and the garbage scattered about the green garbage bins located every 50 feet on the trail that get picked up who knows when if ever). Also, tourism has brought money, which has led to greed and jealousy among the Tibetans who didn’t have that problem before. Tourism has also led to the building of hostels, which has resulted in the cutting down of virgin forests (Tibetan homes are built entirely out of wood that they harvest.). Lastly, global warming is shrinking the glaciers and warming the village, reducing rain. On one of our hikes, we visited a glacier lake which 10 years ago was glacier year round. Scientists predict the region’s mountains will be glacier free by 2030 or 2040. How will this mountain village survive without year round snow melt?

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