Summer time in south of India… Think twice before going. After one month in Tamil Nadu and Kerala we both were over heat because of the temperatures. So we decided to hit the North faster. This is how we arrived in North-East India just before the monsoon.
Himalayas in Sikkim
After long and passion discussion, mainly about finances, we decided to go for a trekking. If you want to visit Sikkim and you are not Indian, you will need a special permit. You cannot walk in the National Parks without a guide and that’s why we had to organize our adventure in Kanchenjunga National Park with a trekking agency.
Goecha la Pass – 8 days in the tent and “yaks” just behind
The roads in Asia… 9 hours in the bus going from Siliguri to Pelling, distance of 120km (more or less). Already after 5 months, we start to get used to it.
To find the hotel in Pelling was easy. A cozy place with amazing terrace and guitar. Next day, after visiting quiet monastery we took one more jeep to reach Yuksam. And over there we started our adventure in Kanchenjunga National Park. For the next 8 days no electricity and shower… 😊 yes, it is possible.
Day I – Yuksam (Yuksom) 1780 m – Tshoka Village 2950 m
Time - 08:30 – 14:00
So, here we go. HIMALAYAS!!! With our guide and one porter we have to join other trekkers in 2 days. They are already in the mountains. In the beginning the way is pleasant – up and down, up and down, up and down… around beautiful, old forest. We are admiring the waterfalls on the other side of the valley, crossing some rivers by hanging bridges. Nice! We reach Tshoka fast but we don’t have any view as it’s very cloudy. Dinner at 7pm and at 8pm we are ready to go to the bed.
Tshoka is a place with a small pond, monastery and few houses. Before the place became national park, few families were living a simple life. Is it very sustainable to replace whole village because of creating National Park?
Day II – Tshoka Village 2950 m– Dzoengri 3950 m
Time - 06 :30 – 10 :30
How to start a perfect day? Being awakened by Bikki (our guide) with a cup of tea* and taking it just in the front of great view on the mountains. Today we have nice weather. We can see what was covered yesterday by the clouds. It’s warm and our warm sleeping bags made us feel like sleeping in comfy bed.
We are going slowly up the hill… and after few minutes we start to fight for the breath. During the breaks we are wondering if it’s possible to go so steep all the time. Ok, the way is not that difficult – it’s our fault, we are just not in the best shape.
*the tea – well, to be honest it was a kind of water with bit of color, but not too much. Often sweetened so that it was difficult to drink it. In extreme conditions, it could be used to brush teeth or hands. Its only advantage was that it was warm.
Day III – Dzoengri – Dzoengri view point 4250 m – Dzoengri – Thangsing 3959 m
Time - 03:30 – 5:30 view point and the way back. Dzoengri 09:00 – 14:30 until Thangsing
Before the dawn we leave our warm tent and we move into the dark night. 300 meters high we want to see the sunrise. On the way up, for the first time we feel the height. We are a bit breathless and with little headache. 30 minutes later we are at the view point ready and happy to admire beautiful Himalayas.
After such a beginning of the day, the breakfast tastes the best! With full stomachs we are ready to go to Thangsing. Life is beautiful and doesn’t matter that clouds are covering all the view. We can see a bit of the mountains and the rest is our imagination… Until, we start to go down. Really, vertically down, and we are not dreaming any more about the view, but we try to be focus on the path. At the base of this monster-slop there is small river and we find it perfect for a small nap 😊 Why not? What you can do while waiting for the rest of the group?
The last hour of today’s trekking is more like a Sunday walk along a stream full of rhododendrons.
One of the advantages of camping is the ease of integration. Especially when your tent in in the middle of the cricket field and all the staff love to play.
Day IV – Thangsing 3959m - Lhamunne 4200m
Time - 1 hour
If before we were just suspecting, today we know it for sure. All this trekking can be easy reduced by 2-3 days. Of course it is important to acclimatize, however, we have spent few days above 4000m and the highest point is above 5000m. If you feel good being high 😊 then you can push the trekking agency to shorten the entire expedition. Unless you have time and money…
The weather in general is good. Except today. It’s raining all day long. In Lhamunne there is nowhere to go inside so we messy around in our tents. Trying to play dice and read books. In the afternoon the sun goes out for an hour so we have time to dry our backpacks and jackets.
Day V – Lhamunne 4200m – Goechala view point I 4950m - Lhamunne 4200m - Thangsing 3959m
Time - 02:30 – 06:30, +1 hour to Thangsing
The best patent for waking up at 2am, is to go to sleep dressed, like you want to go out the next day. You open your eyes and you are ready. Crazy no? Except you cannot open your eyes…
Small breakfast at the tent – cereals and tea. Half an hour later we are on the way. Slowly, step by step, we’re looking for a rhythm going up the mountain. The way takes us bit more than 2 hours and costs a lot of effort. Just before the end, Ela get a terrible headache, which stopped when we went down.
The view is full of the clouds but after a while the sky gets clear and we can enjoy the view of the third highest mountain of the world – Kanczenjunga 8….m. It looks just beautiful and majestic but what attracts us the most is Pandim. National mountain of Sikkim, long time before Sikkim became part of India. Pandim 6691m is impressive. From the view point, it is the most dangerous and the most beautiful mountain we have ever seen.
Dzień VI –Thangsing 3959m – Lampokhari Lake over 5000 m – Thangsing
Time - 09:00 – 16:00
Today we are supposed to have a resting day, but we end up on a day-long trekking to the lake Lampokhari. We beat the road in the style – ‘how it’s possible to go up all the time?’. Even if we are in the mountains, c’mon! We spend all the day in the clouds but when we reach the view point, the sun comes for a moment and we can see the beauty of the lake. We really regret this weather, the full view must be delighted. Definitely worth to visit!
On the way back we are surprised by yaks. The Wild yaks! They just nibble blue flowers in the meadow and we can look at them calmly. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the guide tells us the story of Yeti and others strange creatures living in the Himalayas. So… beware, there are no jokes.
Dzień VII –Thangsing 3959m – Tshoka Village 2950m
Czas przejścia - 08:30 – 14:30
And here we are, going back. In front of us, 17 km until Tshoka and a lot of mud. The road is long and the bends are endless, but finally we reach Tshoka and the sun is here. After making the tent ready, we take a chance to wash our hair in the hot water – our great chef* warmed a bit of water for us. What a luxury after 7 days – hot water. All the afternoon we just read and hang around. We even go for a small extra walk to see the old, small monastery.
*Talking about the chef… The food was mega good! Very impressive 😊 and just to tell you, for the last dinner a cake was served!
Dzień VIII – Tshoka Village 2950m – Yuksam (Yuksom)
Time - 08:00 – 14:00
After the breakfast, without waiting for our companions, we go back behind the yaks. The way is ok, but we can feel our knees after the day before. We are going to survive somehow, today it’s only 18 km 😊 After 2 hours of going down, we make a stop in a small place where you can buy some food and drinks. We reach Yuksam in the rain…