One fine summer evening I decided to take two weeks off. I had a plan in mind but for many reasons, health and otherwise, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go for it, or if I had to postpone it. Nevertheless, the time came, and every bone in my body asked me to go, come what may. I booked my tickets just a week prior. Luckily, Bikat adventures had few slots available for this trek, so I packed for an adventure.
The first day we traveled from Siliguri to Yuksom (5800) along the Teesta and Rangit rivers. After strolling around and getting bitten by leaches I was all set to start trekking the next day. Day two was a climb to Sachen (7200 ft). We stopped by Kartok lake and the Kanchenjunga National Park museum before we headed into the forest. The trail was thick and dense covered with trees on at least one side and sometimes both.
Day three was a forest trail that led us to Bakim, an awesome rest point with mustard plants around. On the trail to Tshoka (9700 ft) we got to witness the beautiful rhododendrons and strawberries along the way. After savoring some lip-smacking pasta for lunch, we headed off for a stroll around the grasslands at Tshoka that looked even more spectacular because of the cows grazing.
The next day was supposed to be the toughest day of the trek, it included 6-7 hours of continuous climbing. I finally made it to Dzongri (13000 ft) with a slight headache. We spent some time between the clouds in the evening.
On the fifth day, we woke up at 2 am in the morning and climbed to Dongri top at 13700 ft. The place was filled with mesmerizing views I could only dream about. Mt Kanchenjunga was shining in pink, while the skyline on the other side was glowing in orange. Some of the peaks we witnessed were Mount Kanchenjunga (8534 m), Mount Kabru (7353 m) and Mount Pandim (6691 m).
After a peaceful walk across the grasslands around Dzongri, a steep descent to Kokcharang (12000 ft) and an ascent across a moss filled forest we made it to Thansing (13000 ft). I spent the noon resting and playing Uno with the group as we did on the other days. The next morning was a short walk to Lamuney (13700 ft) after a delicious breakfast (Tibetian bread).
The seven day was the final climb to view point one of Goechala. I woke up at 1 am due to anxiety; we started at 2:30 am. For the first time during my treks, I was running out of breath. We reached the view point (15100 ft) by 5 am. The last five days of struggle were for this moment, and I took in as much as possible. It was -5 degrees Celsius, and a bit cloudy, yet that didn’t spoil the view for us.
After spotting a Himalayan Thar, a Blue Sparrow and a Golden Duck at Samiti Lake we came back to Lamuney for breakfast. On my way down to Kokcharang (12000 ft) I ended up bruising my knee when it twitched while I was fidgeting with my camera. After checking if my camera was fine, I went down to the campsite to find out what was going on with my knee 😬. Luckily, the team leader covered up the wound.
The next two days were the most difficult part of the trek for me. I limped my way to Tshoka and back down to Yuksom chipping my knee once or twice again. I did receive some help with my baggage on the way to Tshoka from a fellow trekker, but the next day I decided to carry it myself no matter how long it took. The last few hours were a true test of my courage, the courage with which I booked the trek, the courage to climb over 9000 feet after a borderline back injury and the courage to climb down with a busted knee.
Once I made it to Yuksom, the trek wasn’t over for me, turns out that I lost my way and wound up checking the direction to the main road with a number of households en-route before finally making it back to my hotel room. However, later when I looked at the pictures, I just knew that this was the best decision I ever made.
And oh! I almost forgot the story about my battery, since there were no charging points throughout this trek, I used body heat and my sleeping bag to charge my camera and powerbank. It worked pretty well!