Travel Diaries – Goechala. 16,200ft.

You’ve no idea how amazing those 10 days of my life were.

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Have you ever been lost in the surreal beauty of nature’s changing landscapes? Have you ever been swept by fierce joy while being in the moment? Have you ever been aware of the spectacular attunement created by the elegance surrounding you?  A 10 day trek deep across the valleys of Sikkim along with social media detox and absence of a routine life gave me all of that.

The entire trek had unpredictable weather and unbelievable scenery filled with solitary moments and serendipitous encounters. From changing my daily food cycle to camping inside the tents, I experienced an enriching life during those days. Away from all the chaos and delusions, those days in the basking glory of nature’s whims gave me moments of bliss. Days when I was not caught up in the sands of time chasing incomplete goals or fulfilling unsaid expectations.

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There were instances when the entire surrounding would change from green patches to white patches after a heavy snowfall within a few minutes. We had the opportunity to witness the breathtaking view of the sun rise next to Mt. Kanchenjunga from 13,200ft altitude on day 5. With towering mountains on all four sides and clearly visible yet changing scenery from green meadows to white snow caps, watching the golden rays shine across the valley was jaw-dropping to say the least.

Perhaps, my favorite moments remain uncaptured. Moments when I was lost in the whispers of a flowing river, sights of surreal lakes surround by snow-caped mountains, touches of fresh breezy air brushing across my face, denseness of moss-veiled woods covered in vivid green umbrellas and rhythms of snowfall as well as hail-fall while I followed the less explored nature’s trail.

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On day 8, we woke up at 1 am, layered up, packed ourselves and got ready for the summit climb. With torch lights on, we walked in the dark night under the scorching beauty of stars across the Milky Way. As we reached Goechala just before sunrise in the frostbiting cold at around 16000ft, smiles lit across our faces to highlight our achievements. To call it a breathtaking experience would be an understatement.

A good book and a good friend kept me engaged as well as entertained throughout the trek. At the end of our trek,we fell short of words to thank our composed guide, our inspiring trek lead and our hardworking staff that prepared food as well as set up our tents without whom this feat would have been impossible. The itinerary, courtesy IndiaHikes – the adventure group I trekked with – is as follows:

Day 0: Boarded a flight to Bagdogra, West Bengal
Day 1: We reached the base camp at Yuksom, after a 6-8 hour drive.
Day 2: Yuksom (5,643 ft) to Bhakim/Sachen (8,654 ft); 5 hours
Day 3: Bhakim (8,654 ft) to Tshoka (9,701 ft); 4 hours
Day 4: Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Dzongri (13,024) ft via Phedang (12,083 ft); 6 hours
Day 5: Dzongri (13,024 ft) to Dzongri top (13,778 ft) and back to Dzongri; 3 hours
Day 6: Dzongri (13,024 ft) to Thansing (12,946) ft via Kockchurang (12,152 ft); 6
hours
Day 7: Thansing (12,946 ft) to Lamuney (13,743 ft); 2 hours
Day 8: Lamuney (13,743 ft) to Goechala (16,272 ft), back to Kockchurang (12,152
ft); 12 hours
Day 9: Kockchurang (12,152 ft) to Tshoka (9,701 ft); 6-7 hours
Day 10: Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Yuksom (5,643 ft); 6 hours
Day 11: Drove from Yuksom (5,643 ft) and then boarded the return flight.

On getting back home, I had withdrawal symptoms and body aches that made me reminisce those days even more.

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