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Musings from our trek to Sandakphu
This was the time of the year when we went to the mountains again. We decided to go to Sandakphu with Indiahikes. Sandakphu, the highest peak in West Bengal, at 12,000 feet offers grand views of the world’s tallest peaks. The route of this trek lies along the border of India and Nepal and we were often on both sides of the border.
Sneha, her friend Puja and I joined 14 others in Jaubhari, the basecamp for the trek. The weather forecast was not encouraging as there were heavy rains predicted because of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal. Unfazed by the weather, we started the trek with our trek leader, Gautam and two local guides Buddha and Kumar. The first day was treacherous — heavy rains, steep uphill through dense and slushy forests with dozens of leech bites.
Buddhist prayer symbols☮️
At the end of the day, as we reached Tumling, everyone was cold, drenched and not very hopeful of lasting through the week. Thankfully Buddha ji, our guide, found a hack to dry our shoes using coal fumes from the kitchen. The skies cleared a bit the next morning and we resumed our journey. We entered Singalila National park, the circumference of which was the route of the trek
Our route on the India-Nepal border. Oops, Google couldn’t complete the full loop because no roads
Day 2 campsite. Kalipokhri lake
House hunting for retirement
Who doesn’t want some fur love? 🐶
Day 3 we reached the peak of Sandakphu. There is no summit on this trek. Most other trek groups return from here on the same route, but Indiahikes has an extended route via Phalut. We halted for the day in a place called Aal. This place is supposed to offer better views than Sandakphu. We waited eagerly for hours in the evening to catch a glimpse of the mountains but could only get some beautiful snaps of the carpet of clouds
The next day we reached Sabargram — this was the main viewpoint of our trek where we could see “the sleeping Buddha”. We pitched our tents, slept under starry skies.
When we woke up in the morning the clouds were still thick and dense. When we had almost given up any hopes of seeing the mountains, the whole sky cleared and we could now see the entire stretch from Everest to Kanchenjunga
Aah, this is what we came for 🏔
Waking up to these beauties from our tents ⛺️
A closer look at the Sleeping Buddha. Can you see the face, stomach and knees?
Left to Right (with tallest rank) — Lhotse (4th), Everest (1st), Makalu (5th), Kanchenjunga (3rd)
Delighted with the views, we started our descend back to Gorkhey via Phalut. This was the longest we trekked in a single day — 21 kms in 9 hours. The vast meadows with endless skies were an absolute treat to the eyes
I could sit here all day
Social media pressures
The fun and energetic group
On the 6th day we were back in our basecamp and that concluded the trek. Overall we covered 70kms in 6 days. It was a long but endearing week with an amazing bunch of people