Sandakphu - Phalut Trek | Day 2 | Sandakphu

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TUESDAY | 29th DECEMBER, 2015
Tumling -> Kalapokhri -> Sandakphu

I'm at some 3.6 km height from the sea level. To put this into perspective, the highest peak in the world, visible to me from where I am, Mt Everest, is some 8 km high. Which means that I'm almost halfway between ground and the Everest peak.

I'm at Sandakphu covered with two blankets and one comforter yet shivering violently. When I peed after my dinner, I swear, I could see little bit of steam come out as well. And, while this should be covered in the next post, when I tried to use water to wipe myself after emptying my stomach in a long session, the water in the bucket was actually frozen.

I used the tumbler as a hammer and broke some ice-water out from the bucket and washed my behind. People, readers, this isn't a joke, it really happened. If you want to use the toilets up on the top, please make sure you have usable, warm water before starting to do anything in a hurry.

Way ahead from Tumling.

Let's begin the narration for today from Tumling, where I stayed last night. Today I started at 8. The two major stops were Kayapatta and Kalapokhri. Usually trekkers stop at Kalapokhri for the night, and I was about to do the same too, remember? Sandakphu is only 6 km away from Kalapokhri, but the climb is incredibly steep at some 45° incline. It's discouraging and recommended to be climbed on a fresh morning.

But I climbed at such speed today that we were in Kalapokhri by lunch time, which is 14 km from Tumling. It took me 5 hours to cover that 14 km, and, hold your breath, 4 hours to cover the steep incline of 6 km to Sandakphu!

The route that finally makes us enter the Singalila National Park.
Lucky trekkers, and it's rare, can spot Red Pandas here.
In total, I've covered 20 km today. Counting yesterday, the total I've walked on the trek is now 34 km.

All through the route today were frozen streams, a little bit of snow and a breathtaking view of the majestic Kanchenjunga once. We walked through jungles, took shortcuts and braved the steep incline after the sun had set at 5.

There's ice behind me!
Nothing makes this painful trip worth more than what I saw while on my way here. There was time when I could look at several mountains, including the one that has Darjeeling, and then watch them get covered by clouds. 

When the sun set, it just hid in the clouds. I could look down at the orange glow from the edge of a hill. It lit up the clouds like bright pink cotton candy. The same happened at the sunrise the next day, but I'll cover that in the next post. This isn't the time yet.

We had khichdi for both lunch and dinner at separate places and I can say which tasted better. Food is great up here. Expensive, but delicious. The khichdi cost me Rs 150 and Rs 180 respectively.

A hut where I could buy Yak cheese from.
And a cup of black tea.

I still am not much fatigued, which my guide can't stop appreciating. Apparently, majority of people who left from Tumling only made it till Kalapokhri. But now the question that faces me is whether or not I want to continue to Phalut. The guide says the weather might get bad and there might not be rooms available there.

Phalut has only two huts on the peak. Both of them rent out rooms to trekkers, but fill up fast. So if you haven't made bookings ahead, you're running the risk of not having a place to stay in at the night. Please, mark my words, plan ahead and make bookings if you trek on this route. Do not miss Phalut. It is the best part of this trek.

It's 8 PM and I want to sleep. Tomorrow, the first ray of the sun will hit Kanchenjunga and I don't want to miss it for the world! Oh, did I mention, four of the top five peaks in the world are visible from Sandakphu! All of them, neatly arranged in a row for us to gaze at.
 
The Kanchenjunga behind me as visible from Tumling.
Please use the links below to start from the beginning if you've landed on this post directly, or to go to the next day of my trek if you're interested in reading more.  

Day 0 | Darjeeling
Day 1 | Tumling
Day 2 | Sandakphu
Day 3 | Phalut
Day 4 | Gorkhey
Day 5 | Rimbick

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