Day 5 (Sandakphu to Sabargram)
Me, karthik and Nikhil woke up early in the morning to get some shots of the much anticipated sunrise; it was freezing cold outside with the wind. We braved the cold to witness a once in a lifetime shot.
Totally worth it ! The big 4 visible at a distance with a sea of clouds separating us or the sleeping buddha glowing under the morning sun; the pictures don’t do justice.
And what better way to start a trek than a breakfast of champs ; Pancakes,Jam, bread and egg. And we were off !
We were to trek 16kms today to sabargram which also happened to be the only tent camping experience during the trek. This day also turned out to be the best day of my trek since I ended alone for 3 hours with not a soul in sight. The initial 3 hours are on a semi-motor able road leading to the meadows. Due to the group size, again we got separated ; only I hadn’t realized until much later that I was that last one. I walked for 3 hours , on the motor-able road and the beautiful meadows taking shots of the picture perfect landscape and enjoying the solitude.
Somewhere midway , I found karthik and chirin waiting for me and apparently I was the black sheep; the last one in the group. :(. Vivek was angry with my pace and I had to hurry up. Chirin found us a short cut, albeit a difficult one; after half hour of super brisk trek, we ended up overtaking the group. A few yaks greeted us at the check point.
While the solitude was totally worth it, the price was 20 seconds of rebuke from vivek. After this point, I was forced to be in the middle of the group for the long way ahead.
The trek got reasonably difficult from this point and from a particular junction, it was almost up at 45 degree angle. This stretch took a toll on us.The sun blazing away to glory did not help either. A short distance from here we finally halted at a beautiful valley for our lunch; khichdi and apples it was.
This was a much needed rest; a few dozed off under the warm sun while rest finished our lunch. Sabargram was still 4kms away !
After almost 2.5 hours of trek , we finally reached sabargram. Preetha was already at the spot and sketching away while rest were higher up atop the hillock. Small lodges at this point would serve as the dinner room but our tents were pitched higher up. So this wasn’t the end of our journey; just great !
Another 10 minutes of walk and finally, we arrived at our destination. Naman, Karthik and others who arrived early helped Buddha bhai to pitch the tents while rest were just relaxed in the tents. By the time we arrived at 3.30 , it was already time for tea after a mandatory round of stretches. The view of Kanchenjunga is spectacular, after we were only 60 kms away.
The bad news was that tea point was again 10 minutes trek down; like my knees hadn’t suffered enough already. The plan was to finish dinner and come up only in the night. So off we went again. Everyone huddled into the dinner room ; sri kishen opened his bundle of snacks as well; cashews, pumpkin seeds and wasabi mix. We still had hours to kill and what better way than singing songs; especially when we had super talented singers like prashanth and mahita in the group. Time just flew by and it was already evening; I rushed to the top of the hill again to get some shots of the sunset.
After dinner and the final hike up, it was the most important activity of the trek; the astro shots with the lighted tents. The shots came out fantastic to say the least, at least on camera LCD.After some delightful shots , it was finally time to get some much needed rest.