This is our first day trek on Djongri trail. Alex, myself and our porter cum guild Netra, all three of us had our backpack firmly sit on our backs, we departed early in the morning at 7.40am heading to the mountains. We have to be earlier than everyone else who are heading to the mountains due to we really need to get a sleeping space in the government run hut at Tsokha. It is mandatory for every trekker to pay for his/her entrance permit as well as to book a sleeping space on the mountains but the sleeping place is not garanteed.

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We were surprised to see Mr. Karan (our travel agent) appeared in front of our guesthouse yesterday. He looked worried and introduced the guide Netra to us. When we asked him how long would it take to reach Tsokha, he said, “3-5 hours, maximum 6 hours.”

We took 7.5 hours including lunch breaks. It was 17km in length and 1200m height. The trail started off gentle but soon reach deep forest cover. There was 3-4km knee-grinding ascent at the end of the day trek just before reaching Tsokha. Besides the steep climb, the altitute also forced us to inhale and exhale heavily while moving up, we were totally soak in sweat, totally exhausted and our bodies were partually refused to move on. Worst of all, we hit some passing rain which brought the sharp dropped of temperature.

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When we finally reached Tsokha, the temperature was around 5-6 degree and it was still raining. The wind was sharp. We immediately put into a travellers hut which is government run. Although we changed into dry clothes at once, We were shivering like nobody business. Netra brought us hot tea and after that, the two of us were sitting like two motionless wrapped up buddhas. We were wondering if we should head back to Yuksom the next day…

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Night fell around 5.30pm. Our dinner were at 6. Netra came and brought us to the restaurant which required 5-10 minutes walk to the upper part of the village. It was pitch black, rain and mud and the chill wind were constantly ‘eating’ us. Led by a small torch borrowed from someway, we managed to reach the restaurant just fine. And then, we were thrilled to see Netra sat us on an outdoor canoby, while every soul were hiding inside the house. It must had been below 3 degree by then. Alex and I stood eating as the plastic chairs were to cold to rest our butt on, we finished our dinner in no time. The food was good though, there are dal soup, stir fried veggies and rice. Later we invited ourselves into the kitchen of the restaurant, having hot tea in front of the fire place…

This place had become our meeting place with other local guides and potters. And the owner Mama Chang, is a Tibetan lady who were born in this village.

Jing

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