Day 3 (Tumling to Kalpokhri)
With a lot of difficulty, we (Karthik,Nikhil,Me) managed to wake up early in the morning, before sunset, in the biting cold, to get some shots of “The sleeping buddha” with the morning glow on the Kanchenjunga peak. As it turns out, from our locations, the sunrise was obstructed by hills; but the morning light was just warm enough for a good shot. By the time we got back, most of the group was already awake.
Vivek arrived in some time to take BP reading of the BP patients , namely Karun, Karthik and Naman while rest left for breakfast. The breakfast was hot poori, sabji and pulao. I ended up eating lots this morning, (shouldn’t have).
By 8.30 a.m or so , everyone was already raring to go while some engaged in morning stretches. Day 3 journey would comprise of 14 kms of trek which we were expected to finish in 6-7 hours. A motorable road passes through this area which takes one to nepal. We obviously took the non-motorable trek route and reached Gairibas after a few kms walk on a flattish terrain. The sun shone brightly over the multi colored hills.
The trek itself is just on India-Nepal border ; to the right is India and to the left nepal.
This is the also the day where we enter the singhalila national park, officially; since we paid 100 INR per head for the cameras; also the day where nikhil dropped his lens was stuck without a proper viewfinder for rest of the trek.
The trek us through a dense forest and for the very first time during our trek, the 4 great mountains along with everest were visible to us, at a distance of course.
All of us stopped here for a customary round of photography. From here, the trek went downhill which brought us to some stunning meadows and a majestic view of the entire valley.
From here, we were also able to spot in the distance, the long route which we would take for the rest of the day.
The rest of the trek to the checkpoint was downhill for a good 1.5 hours or so through a pretty dense forest with the trail made by / for trekkers ; I ended up pretty much along for this part of the trek ; almost concerned that I wasn’t lost. We finally reached Gairibas at around mid day for a well deserved break. Garibas has some refreshment stalls and shacks to refuel. There were atleast 100 tourists/trekkers here on that day. I am not sure whether we were on the Indian or the Nepal side.
Here we were treated to some hot momos courtesy Indiahikes , 6 per head with super spicy chutney. It was veg version, so karun went and ordered the chicken version and most like that one better. Some just dozed off for 15 minutes by the road side meadows and rest enjoyed the refreshments before what looked like a pretty intimidating hike back up to our lunch point,kaiyakatta.
This hike to kaiyakatta was a steep one, almost 2kms and tiring indeed for most of us; made worse by tourists going up the hill in a landrover and probably thinking ,” What’s wrong with these people, why walk when a jeep is available ?” That thought definitely crossed our minds. We tried to take a couple of shorts cuts, steeper , but with the hope that it would cut our travel time. Well, it did but not by much. At the very least, I remember Yash, Nikhil and me struggling through this part. Finally after 2 hours or so, we reached Kaiyakatta. Atleast 10 trekkers were already reached before us.
As lunch was getting served, Siddhika & co. took a cake to celebrate; never really saw lunch time as celebration but as long as cake is there, who am I to question. Turns out Siddhika was getting a year old on that day. So all of us joined in to celebrate her birthday as well; “maybe I should give this a shot next time”, came to my mind.
Anyhow after a hot lunch and happy occasion, it was the next and final leg of the day’s trek; the walk to Kalipokhri, which was 4 kms away through the misty forests.
As usual, due to the long distance, group was significantly split up which was a good thing. The misty weather provided a perfect opportunity to trek alone in nature. The sun shone in through the mist at a distance which was a wonderful sight.
After 2 hours of walk, we finally reached Kalipokhri, a bean-shaped black lake surrounded by waving Buddhist prayer flags. Kalipokhri translates to Black Lake. Another 5 min walk and we were at our tea house for the night, pandim lodge.
By the time me and kushal reached, the main dorm was already completely occupied; it turned out to be a good thing though. Me and Kushal ended up in a smaller room with kamlesh; with an attached bathroom. Phew, that would our mornings much less hectic. By the time we were done settling down , we were called for the post-trek stretches. It was difficult on this day; the tracker was showing almost 14kms of walk and I sure could feel them in my legs. By the time we changed into our thermals for the night along with additional 3 layers , it was already evening tea time. Most huddled up into the dining room by the kitchen, it was nice and warm. Preetha and Sonakshi got busy with sketching while the rest just enjoyed the warm tea. There wasn’t much to do for me either since the moon was up the sky making night photography impossible again.
As we went about discussing our interests and hobbies , sonakshi was in the line of fire. The group forced her to sing, which she did, pretty nicely might I add. Her singing sped up the kitchen folk and served us dinner at 7.30 p.m. I wasn’t hungry but there was an interesting dish to eat; squash, a local vegetable. I had never heard of it and decided to taste it at least. Soft and sweet, I ended up eating 3 chappatis with it. Srihita did not like the taste much I guess, she wanted noodles for the night. And what better way to prepare noodles when you have the Instant Gas burner kit. Srikishen got the setup ready in our room and whipped up a hot bowl of noodles in no time.
By the time he switched off the burner, it was time to hit the sack.