“In the spring of 1992, writer Peter Matthiessen and correspondent-photographer Tom Laird traveled deep in the secret valley of Sao Kohla, tucked high in the northernmost reaches of the Himalaya. They were the first Westerners to venture there in 30 years. From the central city of Lo Monthang, known as ‘Mustang’, Matthiessen and Laird, along with their entourage of government chaperones, attendants, and horsemen, began a horseback adventure across arid plateaus and through narrow river chasms to reach precariously perched monasteries long since abandoned to the rose finch and black redstart. They camped among nomad herdsmen who spent nights worrying about the threat posed to their goats by the deadly snow leopards.
Matthiessen’s expansive narrative and Laird’s spectacular photographs reveal a place where mountains five miles high cast heir shadows over the deepest canyon in the world; where 150-million-year-old fossils rise to the light of day at 13,000 feet; and where mountain nomads spend their lives herding their flocks across desolate slopes and through desert vallyes, ‘utterly lost in the eternal earth and air’.”