I have finally had a few days to relax here in Gangtok. After the incessant traveling of the past week or so, some days to let it all soak in have been nice.
Don't get me wrong, seeing all those places were incredible, but moving around alot does take it's toll. But a new plan has emerged! On Tuesday, me and two other travelers I met at my hotel depart for the Trekking trail and National Park Entrance at Yuksom, in Western Sikkim.
From there we will have a 2 day trek through Tshoksa, to the summit view station of Dzongri. Barring any bad weather, we should be able to see the Great Himalayan Mountain range as well as the third tallest mountain in the world, Mount Kanchenzdonga (28,208 ft, 8,586 m). The trek will be the three of us, some porters, a cook, and a guide... I hate paying for expensive types of trips, but with this... I think I'll have to bite the bullet and go with it. Oh, and what a delicious bullet it should be. The pictures of previous expeditions look incredible.
Ideally, I wanted to trek alone, but that might have been a bit naive. We are pretty far up in altitude, and people getting altitude sickness on the trek is not unheard of. Also, the weather up here can be unrelenting, and unlike getting stuck in the forests of the North Eastern U.S (Harriman would be considered a joke, here), no one will find you if you get lost. There is plenty of time for solo treks in other far reaches of the globe.
As I write this, I am in a cafe/bar with free Wi-Fi and the power just went out. They just delivered me a candle so that I could see as I type. Only in India.
After the 4 days of trekking, we arrive back in Yuksom. I figured I would just head back to Gangtok, jump in a jeep and go to NJP. That is, until I found out there ARE places you can walk alone to.
About 12km south of Yuksom, there is the Buddhist Monsatery of Tashiding. Apparently there are numerous monasteries hidden amongst the foliage in these misty, forest covered hills. From there, a three hour walk west brings you to yet another Monastery, the Monastery of Pemayangste. On top of all that, just a little more south of this latter monastary there is the hill city of Gyalshing, which provides shared jeep rides back down to NJP and Silliguri. What fortune! The ability to do a real mountain trek, as well as walk alone through the hills to various Monasteries and hill stations!
I keep expecting to wake up and either be at home, or be on the plane on my way to India. I'm crossing my fingers this is all real.
So... Gangtok > Yuksom. TREKKING. Yuksom walking to Tashiding, to Pemayangste, (with intermingled exploring) to Gyalshing. Then back down the mountain.
I am thinking of retiring to Hampi (Eco-Daya) for my last month before work begins. Get some real alone, peace and quiet time in an amazing, sanctuary type of environment.
This looks like its turning out to be more and more exciting. Let's just hope it doesn't rain as it has in the past couple hours. Hell, let's hope it DOES rain. It will make the trail more treacherous, exciting, and challenging.
Volentis Nil Difficilis