Yay!!!!! I made it!! I made it!!! :D Okay, so here's the thing, either the aforementioned brochure, along with most of the people I met on the way, were all full of crap, or I somehow, inexplicably, managed to get used to all this! The breathing was only a slight hassle. The uphill climb was really not any worse than yesterday's, only twice as long at 4 kms. But then the whole thing was just 6 k anyway! Took me under 2 hours :D.And the timing seemed perfect too! True to form, the morning was bright and clear. As I started the climb from Bikheybhanjang, one could clearly see some of the lodges in Sandakphu. On the way, the clouds seemed to clear up for out special benefit, affording an awe-inspiring view of Kanchendzonga, along with several other nearby peaks!Once again we encountered our group of 10 from yesterday. It appeared they had arrived at Kalipokhri too late to go further and instead had started earlier this morning. The group had stretched out over a long enough distance to provide me with company for well over an hour!
While I was delighted with my progress today, it wasn't exactly devoid of pain :). Even though I'd had about the same time to recover yesterday as the day before, I could feel I wasn't nearly as ready and raring to go this morning as yesterday :). And of course, it only got worse.
Once we turned that last corner though, wow! :) It was like a shot of adrenaline! The entire jagged horizon, from a little west of Mt. Everest to the peaks in Sikkim and Bhutan east of Kanchendzonga, were sparkling in the gray and white of rock and snow in sharp relief against the clear blue sky :). Honestly, I could feel no ache or pain! No kidding! Maybe it was the adrenaline :P.
The room I have has a clear view of the majestic Kanchendzonga that totally dominates the horizon here! And even though we seemed to be on an island surrounded by a sea of clouds, none of those had managed to obscure the peak, or the sun, till late afternoon. I took the opportunity to go find an even better view of the Himalayas from the top of a nearby hill top. Encouraged by the beautiful weather, we kept exploring the nearby areas till noon.
After the massive lunch though, I kept to basking in the sun, and staring at the mountains. Turning every now and then to let another side cook :P. Oh, and ran into the now famous group of 10 :D. I must say I am not unduly distressed about doing this on my own :P. With a large number of people here at Sandakphu today though, it's been impossible not to run into conversations. Not a bad thing, hardly read anything all day till the clouds finally claimed the little settlement, turning the solar powered street lamps into eerie ghost lights.
Then I did meet a couple who had actually made it from Tumling to Sandakphu in a single day!! I was impressed! Turns out they are the only ones besides me headed up to Phalut tomorrow! Let's hope I can keep up. Or not, whatever. We are planning to all leave together. At 21k, tomorrow's leg is probably the longest for me. But the path's not supposed to be too bad. Phalut itself though, is notorious for its windy and cold conditions.
Last night was full moon night, and since the clouds have descended again, I went looking for a few shots of the mountains in the moonlight. I have done dumber things for photographs, but not many :|. The shots I think might be cool, but everything was covered in frost, and I was shivering rather violently in very short order :(. I'm hoping for a really good sunrise tomorrow... Let's see.Currently: brrrrrr :(
Listening to: the pen scratching the notebook (yes, it is really that quiet!)