Team-BHP > Travelogues


Reply
  Search this Thread
4,732 views
Old 8th June 2024, 23:11   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

As I closed my eyes siting on my chosen rock oblivious to my fellow trekkers who were one by one reaching the summit ,I could feel the presence of the invisible mountains as if they were speaking to me.

Felt surreal and had mixed emotions of feeling insignificant in front of the huge 26k foot plus mountains surrounding me at handshaking distance in the bitter morning cold of May,as well as strange feeling of elation and relief in getting the opportunity to actually be here in the moment. After all there are so many factors which conspired to ensure I am blessed to experience this moment of sheer joy.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-1.jpg
Looking back at Samiti Lake before reaching View point 1.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-2.jpg
Samiti Lake.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-3.jpg
Walking Back to Thansing after View Point 1.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-4.jpg
Mount Pandim up close.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-5.jpg
View from Bakhim Cafe.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-6.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-7.jpg

I was at viewpoint One the summit of the Goechala trek in Sikkim waiting for the dream moment of opening my eyes to view the first golden rays of the sun falling on these huge 26,000 + feet mountains including the queen of them all the mighty Kanchenjunga! was the highest of them all on Indian soil (Though this one shares the honours with Nepal and is not the highest mountain exclusively on Indian soil).Had chosen to trek in the month of May where it was the sweet point of being the end of winter where the snow fall would end and the visibility chances of viewing these magnificent mountains improve significantly and still get to enjoy the plethora of colourful Rhododendrons bursting along the Kanchenjunga Reserve forest trails.

Blame it on the dreaded climate change or just the fickle nature of mother nature where we not only saw all possible kind of weather like Sunshine,rains,hailstorms and snow fall but also enjoyed all hues of white,yellow,red and pink Rhododendrons too along the way.We weren’t fortunate to get a clear unhindered view of the Kanchenjunga due to cloud cover nor were we able to view the mighty mountains or view the golden hue of the sun kissed mountains when we summitted but luckily the cloud cover did open up later giving us arguably the view of a lifetime.

The story begin a good 8-9 days before when we landed in Siliguri to start on this exciting 10 day trek termed moderate difficult brilliantly organised by India Hikes.The iconic Goechala trek which is so reminiscent of the more popular treks in Nepal starts from the quaint village of Yuksom in Sikkim at 5480 feet and over a period of 8 days we trek a distance of appx 75 kms and ascend to the summit called view point 1 at 15100 feet where we are treated to a spectacular view of a 360 degree mountains up close.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-8.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-9.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-10.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-11.jpg

No wait.It actually started much earlier in Jan 2024 when I started the preparation for the trek.The qualifying mark for the trek was a 5 km run in 32 min or less by India hikes.For me the goal was not only start my preparation and get fitter but also reduce my weight from 90kg to 80kg to be trek fit.Helping me in the journey was my Nutritionist Vidhi Vasan from Healthify me and the Academy of strength team (AOS) from whitefield where I hit the gym for 4 days a week.The combo helped my reach my fitness goal and also qualifying mark though a bicycle accident 2 weeks before 30th April when I had the flight to catch nearly derailed by plans.

Last edited by vijayols : 8th June 2024 at 23:29.
vijayols is offline   (15) Thanks
Old 9th June 2024, 16:12   #2
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Day 0- Reach pick up destination at Siliguri.

So caught the early morning flight from Bangalore on 30th and enjoyed a gorgeous sunrise which lasted less than a minute.From Bagdogra me and a fellow trekker Aishwarya took a shared taxi to Siliguri where stay was at a hostel called Bunk Bread run by a cool guy Sushant( 9475750985) who is very knowledgeable about the best places to eat and visit.Staying at Hostels really means access to a treasure trove of information.Had hot samosas and Gur Rasgulla at Ganga sweets on Sushant’s recommendations for the best sweets in Siliguri,Worth the hype.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-g0-12.jpg
Bunk Bread Living room wall.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-13.jpg
Graffiti on Bunk Bread Wall.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-14.jpg
The Bunk beds in Bunk Bread

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-15.jpg
Ganga Sweets in Siliguri with its popular Gur Rasgulla@Rs 20.

Day 1- Drive from Siliguri to Yuksom in a shared taxi with fellow trekkers.Quickly made up a team of 5 called Team Vijay with Guru from mysore with whom I would later team up to share the tent as well as Abhi,Bharat and “sherpa” Niranjan from Chennai.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-16.jpg
Breakfast near pick up point In a road side dhaba.Surprisingly yummy.

The whole team of 25 met at our stay place at Yuksom.We met our trek lead Zonal from Kerela who had a whacky sense of humor and our guides Bhaichung and Yu Wan.The stars were the youngest Rahul at 11 and Ravi at 65.It’s always fun to meet up at the briefing and getting to know the rest of the fellow trekkers and the various treks they had done.There were a few rookies too this time and it’s amazing how a few days together could lead to friendship for life.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-20.jpg
Yak Cheese being sold.It is like a one day plan to chew through the block.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-21.jpg
Yuksom base camp poster.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-g0-22.jpg
The Goechala Trek map.

Fortunately we had a proper dorm as base camp with a bed and proper bathroom(And western Toilet!).This would be the last luxury and bath for the next 9 days.(Pit type bio toilets with paper roll from tomorrow)

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-23.jpg
The room which would be the last proper bed and bathroom for the next 9 days.

Day 2- Introduction to the 6-7-8 routine where we have our medical test at 6(BP and oxygen levels are monitored)breakfast and tea at 7 and start the trek by 8.So we need to get up 15-30 mins before to prepare for the same.
One thing I must say is that unlike people’s apprehension about food availability during treks we are usually treated to amazing food by the support staff.(Is it only me or does everyone think that food usually tastes so much better in the cold mountains????)

Luckily all 25 of us had our vitals in desired range.But then AMS or acute mountain sickness usually kicks in only after 8000 feet so the vitals being fine from day 3 evening onwards was important.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-25.jpg
The last Bridge before the start of the Kanchenjunga Park.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-24.jpg
And we enter the park.

A whole bunch of us were all excited and raring to go after our breakfast and a quick session of warm up. A short walk and we were at our first bridge of the 4 bridges just at the cusp of the Kanchenjunga National Park.From here we trekked through the forest with lots of ascends and descends crossing the other 3 hanging bridges till our first base camp of Sachen. This was at a height of 7400 feet. The distance covered was 7.5 kms and took appx 6 hours. The camp site was cramped with not too much space to set up camp amidst the forest.

The day had been pleasant and sunny and the trail not too difficult. The high points were the gurgling clear blue-green hued river and lovely bridges. The bird life was vibrant throughout the trek.No sight of the Rhodos though.
Evenings or post dinner time is usually fun time with team bonding sessions where we play games,sing or do some activities organised by Zonal.One of the games was where we were divided into 2 teams and a chit with 10 tasks written was given to both teams which was to be followed and the winner was of course the team completing the task first within the allotted 2 minutes.The tasks were simple ones like one of us to get a white colored stone,or someone filling a bottle of water and getting it and so on which both teams did very competitively trying to finish the tasks within the 2 minutes deadline.Both teams failed to do so and then we were asked by Zonal to read all the 10 tasks where the 10th task mentioned that ignore all the previous 9 tasks and simply all do one squat jump.All of us burst out laughing with the lesson learnt that first always read the “offer documents carefully before making a decision.”
Games could teach us life lessons I guess.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-26.jpg
The 2nd of the 4 bridges on this day.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-27.jpg
Forest and stream all along the route.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-28.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-29.jpg
Inside the tent.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-30.jpg

Last edited by vijayols : 9th June 2024 at 16:18.
vijayols is offline   (15) Thanks
Old 9th June 2024, 18:01   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Day 3- Sachen to Tshoka.7400 to 9790 feet altitude gain.Distance 6.5kms.

Day began with a 5-6-7 routine.We were climbing towards the Prek Chu river which we could spot far below along with a lovely long bridge across it.Sight looked so pretty with the blue green Prek Chu river and its gurgling white foam as we all stopped at the swaying hanging bridge for instagram worthy photo sessions.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-31.jpg
The first sight of the bridge over Prek Chu.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-32.jpg
The Prek Chu

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-33.jpg
Walking Trail.

There was a pretty steep climb post that as we reached Bakhim to enjoy our packed lunch of Pulao and a cuppa hot ginger chai at the cafe.Yes the Adrak zyaada cheeni Kum variety as always. Again some pretty photo sessions with a beautiful valley unfolding in front of the café.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-34.jpg
Just before Bakhim.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-35.jpg
Officially we were at Bakhim.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-36.jpg
The pretty valley before the cafe.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-37.jpg
The team settled and got down to Business.Lunch before anything else.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-39.jpg
The Adrak Zyaada Cheeni Kum Chai preparation with special instructions.

Zonal had managed to spot and pick some ultra small wild strawberries which we all enjoyed.It was the tangy variety which tasted just awesome.We also met some fellow trekkers from the YHAI team who had also stopped for lunch there.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-38.jpg
The small wild and tangy strawberries plucked enroute.

The route was a gentle climb from here and then we were treated to the first of our Rhododendron sightings. It was the pink,white and red varieties.Before we knew it we spotted the beautiful Tshoka campsite with some lovely traditional wooden houses as we spotted the familiar yellow tents of our next campsite.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-40.jpg
The first sightings of Rhododendrons

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-41.jpg
And some more.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-42.jpg
We were in Tshoka!

There was a drum of refreshing lemon juice waiting to welcome us as we quickly picked our tents selecting the tents on the flattest ground.The perks of reaching the campsite first!

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-43.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-44.jpg
Some more Rhodo's on the camp site.

The view from the front of our vamp was heavenly with a hazy sight of a few snow capped mountains including Mount Pandim. The days trek had been comfortable and easy as we explored the meadows around us including a visit to the monastery just across the wooden bridge near the camp site.
Fun games and some hot pakodas with chai later we were all set to call it a day for the tough day ahead. Zonal had a knack of introducing some interesting games which rarely got repeated and today was no different with us forming a circle and trying to balance our trek poles and trying to hold on the poles on left or right as the call went before the pole fell.Sujay won the first of many more such competitions. All 25 of us were doing fine which was good news.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-45.jpg
The Monastery beyond the lake.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-46.jpg
The camp site.

Day 4. First of the tough days. We were heading to Dzongri via Phedang a distance of 8.4 km and the ascend was from 9790 to 13100 feet. Dzongri in fact by itself was a destination for many doing the abridged version of the Goechala as one could enjoy a 360 degree view of all the high altitude mountains from Dzongri top.

So today we had 3 of our fellow trekkers who were doubling up as trek leads and using Gaia maps to guide us with the route. There was an immediate climb and turning back we had a final glance of the lake and monastery by the camp site we had left behind. The path then eased up and made way as a lovely wooden path with a burst of red Rhodos around us on both sides of the wooden path. Right out of a fairy tale.The chill in the air and a cloud of mist completed the picture.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-50.jpg
The many colored Rhodo's

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-51.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-52.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-53.jpg
The walk on the wooden path.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-54.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-55.jpg

Today was a special day for Aishwarya who was celebrating her birthday. She shared a bar of dark chocolate with us as a special treat.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-56.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-58.jpg

Lunch was at Phedang where we had a long wait ahead waiting for the rest of the team to catch up.There was a dhaba run by the feisty Ms.Sonam who was serving the deluge of trekkers with a grumpy face and had to do my best to coax a smile from her while ordering the Adrak Zyaada Cheeni Kum Chai.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-57.jpg
Phedang Dhaba where we had lunch.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-59.jpg
The now smiling Sonam.

The mist was now making the cold even more unbearable and all of us were huddled together and drinking the hot tea to get some warmth.We got the unfortunate news that our Kiddo Rahul and his dad had to return back to the lower base camp as he was down with the dreaded AMS symptoms.We were now down to 23.

Last edited by vijayols : 9th June 2024 at 18:23.
vijayols is offline   (13) Thanks
Old 9th June 2024, 21:13   #4
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

There were luxury camps also set up for trekkers who would summit to Dzongri Top.Here the road splits into two where one goes to Dzongri which we would be taking and the other goes to Thangsing from where we would be returning.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-60.jpg

The climb is steep from here.But the blooming Rhododendron trees did make the climb feel better. Just after ascending to the top there is a flat land with a hut for resting at Deorali. It’s so good that the Sikkim administration does provide these places for resting for trekkers. It was raining now and we all had our rain gears and ponchos on as we waited for the whole team to assemble.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-61.jpg

From here the size of the trees became smaller and smaller till at the camp site we saw miniature dwarf tree replicas of even pine trees.Amazing how trees adapt to nature.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-68.jpg
A dwarf full grown pine tree.

In the continuing rain we reached Dzongri Monastery/village where the YHAI team had pitched their tents.Our’s were a little distance upwards.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-62.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-63.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-64.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-65.jpg

The weather seemed to have worsened as Sikkim was hit by a weather alert warning of snow and rains.There was a perennial fog cover at the camp site as we settled in for a cold night ahead and an early morning 3 am medical check up and 3.30 am start to reach Dzongri top in time to catch the morning sun kiss the mountains with its golden hue.

Day 5-Dzongri to Dzongri top and back.Basically a day for acclimatization.Height gain from 13190 to 13670 and back.

After a struggle to wake up by 2.45 am it looked like the plan could be cancelled as visibility was still pretty bad and Zonal and his team made a call that we would wait till 3.30 am and then decide if the plan to go ahead with the trek or call it off.Unfortunately the situation did not improve and we now had a revised plan to make it to the Char Dham Monastery or the Dzongri Monastery.

This was a relatively shorter trek to the monastery which was sacred to the locals with its four gods who resided and protected the area.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-66.jpg
The Dzongri Monastery.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-67.jpg
The Char Dham or 4 gods who protected the valley.

The rest of the day was basically a mix of play as well as training in how to prepare a make shift stretcher in case of an emergency evacuation using some rope ,two trek poles,a sleeping bag and a sleeping mat all of which is part of a normal trek gear.We also learnt to tie some knots for various situations.Very interesting how the trek leads help to not only keep us entertained and create team bonding but also help us learn several life skill lessons.And here we thought trekking was only about fun and pushing oneself.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-69.jpg
The make shift Stretcher and kudos to JP for being a volunteer.

We all unanimously agreed to try and scale dzongri top if weather permits to have an early unhindered view of the magnificent mountains.

What could we expect to see from Dzongri top the highest point ?If we got lucky with the weather we could get a 180-degree panoramic view of the mighty peaks of the Singalila and Kanchenjunga ranges such as Kakthong, Rothang, Kabru South, Kabru North, Kabru Dome, Kanchenjunga range, Pandim, and the Lama Lamini peaks.

Day 6- First up the short trek to Dzongri top and then the regular plan to go up to Thansing via Kokchurang.Elevation from 13190 feet to 13670 and then to 12910 via 12090 feet.Trek distance appx 8.55km.A day of many ups and downs.

An early morning 4 am start and we were hoping for some good luck both for our trek and for our fellow young trekker Anchita who was feeling a bit under the weather and was on a course for AMS symptoms.

We did reach the top by 5 am to hopefully witness the sunrise but we weren’t so fortunate with Anchita who had to return back and would meet us at Yuksom.

The situation at Dzongri top wasn’t the best we could have hoped for as it was quite cloudy and visibility was low but we had a field day busy shooting photos and exchanging pleasantries with the YHAI team who had tried their luck the previous day too.The clouds finally relented to give us a brief glimpse of Mount Kabru black.A small consolation but maybe our luck would improve at the summit where the same mountains would be visible but at handshake distance.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-80.jpg
Cloud cover for us to hardly get the 360 degree view.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-81.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-82.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-83.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-84.jpg
Only when we were down we could spot the snow covered Mount Pandim.

We went back to the base camp and after breakfast started off for Thansing.
The route was a bit different from here as it was mostly small shrubs and barren mostly till we reached Kokchurang at lunch time which had a nice wooden rest house made thoughtfully by the Sikkim authorities for trekkers.It had started raining by now and we were all now draped in our ponchos.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-85.jpg
The barren Landscape till we reached Kokchurang.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-86.jpg
From here the place got greener.

The place was so charming with a picture perfect scene of a lovely clear stream,a nice wooden bridge and some lovely flowers and trees.If that wasn’t perfect it was misty and drizzling to boot.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-87.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-88.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-90.jpg
Bhaichung and Yuwan at Kokchurang.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-89.jpg
Lunch and rest here for all trekkers.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-92.jpg
Photos for Insta Posting.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-91.jpg
So lovely in the mist.

As we started our onwards journey post lunch we realised that what we saw at Kokchurang was only the trailer.As they said Picture to Abhi Baaki Tha.

The whole walk was in mist making the scene surreal.We immediately reached a stream crossing with a wooden bridge and stopped to take pictures and admire the scenery. Immediately after the stream was a forest straight out from the movie Narnia.The trees were moss covered from the trunk to the top,a clear indication of the rains being there throughout the year in these parts.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-93.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-94.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-95.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-96.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-97.jpg

And then the rains became hail storms and just a little distance away snowfall. It was sheer joy opening our mouths to catch the snow fall . It gave us a small respite but started snowing heavily as soon as I settled into the tent at Thansing Camp site.

Guru was busy filming the snowfall at the campsite as the grass became a coat of white around us.Hardly had we settled in when there were excited calls to come out as the cloud cover had parted and exposed the view to the snow clad magnificent Mount Pandim.With child like enthusiasm led by Jayaprakash (JP) we all rushed out to get better views of the beauty from up closer.JP even went further to spot a part of the queen of them all Kanchenjunga which was on hindsight the best view we got of her in the entire trek.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-98.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-99.jpg

Excitement was palpable and could be cut with a knife. If it was so beautiful here we could only imagine the beauty at the summit and near Samiti Lake tomorrow.

It was to be an early night as the summit trek would start by 12.30 am.It would be a long trek to reach before sunrise.Both Sunita and Priyanka who had shown remarkable will power to make it till here despite adverse health conditions unfortunately were not able to attempt to the summit.That meant 20 of the 25 were trying to make it to the summit and hopefully all of us would get there.Fingers crossed.

Last edited by vijayols : 9th June 2024 at 21:29.
vijayols is offline   (15) Thanks
Old 9th June 2024, 22:53   #5
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Day 7- Thansing to View point 1 via samiti lake and back to samiti lake and to Thansing.16 kms.Ascend from 12190 to 15100 via Samiti at 14120 back to 12190 for the night.

D-Day.We hardly slept that night.(Not that I personally sleep anyways on any day while in the tents during treks).With a small back pack containing water,some nuts and a spare jacket and poncho for any snowfall and of course our head lamps we were all set to begin the ascend by 12.30 in a single file.The torch light showing us the path ahead the night was actually pretty clear and we could spot the milky way in the sky.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-100.jpg
Night trek with head lamps on.

The path was clear of snow for most of the way with fresh snow on the borders.The first 5 kms till we reached Samiti lake was generally a flat terrain and not too difficult to negotiate.We didn’t realise the beautiful topography was akin to a cold desert with only the presence of the gurgling stream flowing alongside could be felt. We did need to cross it a few times balancing on tree trunks which was fun at night.

Waited for all to reach as a unit at the cusp of Samiti lake.There were a couple of support staff today along with Bhaichung,Zonal and Yuwan as lead,middle and sweeper guides.We would need their help especially while descending from the steep mountain faces in the slippery snow.

From here the ascend became steeper as we gained height rapidly.The snow was also pretty thick from here and progress was slow though we were confident on making it before sunrise.The visibility and light got better as the eastern part of the country generally has an early sunlight window.
As I turned back I could spot the lovely Samiti lake in the distance from above as me,Neerja and Bhaiching broke away from the rest of the group for the final ascend to View Point 1.I missed to see Abhi from team vijay battling AMS helped by rest of my team Vijay Group Guru,Sherpa and Bharat.
The time spent in the view point 1 would remain in my memory for a lifetime. Moments like these give you sheer joy and hope one day I would be able to scale one of these majestic mountains.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-101.jpg
First look of the blue waters of Samiti on the way back.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-102.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-103.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-104.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-105.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-106.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-107.jpg

The return was almost comical as I fell about 5 times on the bottom slipping like crazy on the ice.Aishwarya who was a champion in the descend helped me and Krithi manage with fewer falls if that was possible.
We stopped for enjoying the sheer beauty of the Calm Samiti lake which is a sacred lake for the locals.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-108.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-109.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-110.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-111.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-112.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-113.jpg

The 5 km walk back which should have been simple seemed to be never ending.First time I felt that on this trek.In broad daylight we could admire the colorful desert like topography and the lovely stream and to top it all experience snow fall for over an hour.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-114.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-115.jpg

On a high we returned to the campsite for the after summit celebration.Oh just some trivia about why we do not scale beyond View point 1 and to Goechala pass after which the trek is named.The area now is a reserved Snow leopard park and for their conservation and protection the trek is now restricted till view point 1 only.

Day 8-The descend from Thansing to Tshoka but not through Dzongri.The trek takes us via Kokchurang to Phedang where Sonam’s dhaba is located.13 kms distance but via 12,910 ft to 9,790 ft via 12,090 ft and 12,105 ft.So it has lots of ups and downs and is famously called the never ending loop.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-116.jpg
The final glimpse of the Thansing campsite.

But contrary to the name I personally found the trail the most enchanting one of the trek.Mainly though forests housing a plethora of vibrant bird life and bursting with the colours of the Rhodos it was a joy to walk on this path which was sans any mules or other animals as it was a difficult and slippery path to traverse.Me,Sherpa and a few others had mud stamps on our pant bottoms as proof of the slippery trail back.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-117.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-118.jpg

Hot Adrak chai’s and momos later we continued the trail back to Tshoka which was now extra slippery due to the continuous rains.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-120.jpg

We forgot how beautiful the campsite was till we revisited it.We were joined by 2 other IH trekkers who were not able to make it to the summit with their teams.We also had fun with Bhaichung and other kitchen staff entertaining us with their songs.People here are musically inclined and blessed with wonderful voices.We also thanked the kitchen staff who had continued to feed us well throughout the trek.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-121.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-122.jpg

Day 9- Final Descend from Tshoka to Yuksom via Bakhim.9790 to 5840 feet and bidding adieu to the Kanchenjunga National park.Distance 13 kms.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-123.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-124.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-125.jpg

We all made it fairly easily back to Yuksom where we were treated to some hot Batata Vadas and chai.Finally a hot bath and a comfortable bed to sleep on.Lots of catching up to do and of course network back again and phone calls to loved ones back home who were proud of us for completing the trek successfully.

Groups had split as per our plans post the trek and we had our final dinner together along with a lovely musical evening with our Slope Manager Sanket who sang a medley of songs playing his Ukulele.We also got our customary fridge magnets,a bunch of friends and memories for a lifetime.What more could we expect from a trip.

Last edited by vijayols : 9th June 2024 at 23:00.
vijayols is offline   (17) Thanks
Old 9th June 2024, 23:18   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Day 10- Drive back to Siliguri and drive to Tieedi eco stay near Darjeeling.

Had a fun time in the Innova back to Siliguri where me and JP went to Bread bunk and I dumped one of my bag.Filled up on trek news to Sushant.Met a couple who had just returned from an advanced mountaineering course and both JP and me set out to hire a X pulse bike.We had lunch and I dropped JP who was heading by train to Kolkatta to catch up with some friends and then fly back to Pune to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

Tieedi Eco stay is in Tieedi village about 50 kms from Siliguri and perhaps 20 kms from Darjeeling via Kurseong.Tieedi (Ph 7602813807) is run by Utsav Pradhan and a bunch of support staff and volunteers who have helped recycle the waste around the area and have made several villages and cafes a complete recycling and waste free zone.They conduct permaculture courses and have converted a land fill area into a virtual forest which is breathtaking with a lovely stream running through the property.

The journey would take appx 2.3 hours but decide to take the more scenic drive through the forest parallel to the Darjeeling toy train track.The scenery and the fun of driving through a forest was enticing and had great fun though it got dark and started raining too.Felt cold and just wanted to hurry up and reach the resort.

Reached by around 7.30 by which time dinner was over here and had to settle for some spicy momos at a local restaurant.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-130.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-131.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-132.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-133.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-134.jpg


Next day spent time just exploring the property and just relaxing.Man that was tough the just relaxing part. Especially on a vacation.
Next day was off after breakfast but only after buying some locally made articles being sold by Tieedi for gifting.Had some coffee at Kurseong café on the way to Siliguri.

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-135.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-136.jpg

The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim-go-137.jpg
Celebrated with some junk food at Kurseong Cafe.

Stayed the night at Bread Bunk and then it was a flight to Bangalore with a looming trip to Andaman in a week to celebrate our daughters birthday with the family.But that is for another day and another story.

(While writing this got the gut wrenching news of 9 trekkers who unfortunately couldn’t survive Nature’s fury in a tragic incident while trekking at Sahastra Tal in Uttrakhand.The news shook the trekking community.May their souls Rest in peace and give their family to cope with the terrible incident.)
vijayols is offline   (25) Thanks
Old 10th June 2024, 06:39   #7
Team-BHP Support
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 18,162
Thanked: 78,327 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
Aditya is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 10th June 2024, 15:21   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Pune
Posts: 76
Thanked: 156 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Excellent writeup and fabulous pictures, vijayols!!

And congratulations on completing such an exhaustive trek!

Photographs of Samiti Lake are surreal, and I would love to visit it someday.
ketan007 is offline  
Old 10th June 2024, 17:46   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Quote:
Originally Posted by ketan007 View Post
Excellent writeup and fabulous pictures, vijayols!!

And congratulations on completing such an exhaustive trek!

Photographs of Samiti Lake are surreal, and I would love to visit it someday.
Thanks Ketan.Thank you for your kind words and the patience to go through the long blog.

Pictures can never capture the true beauty of what the eyes soak in.

I am sure when the time comes the place would call you to visit it.
vijayols is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 10th June 2024, 18:21   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Quote:
Originally Posted by ketan007 View Post
Excellent writeup and fabulous pictures, vijayols!!

And congratulations on completing such an exhaustive trek!

Photographs of Samiti Lake are surreal, and I would love to visit it someday.
Thanks Ketan.Thank you for your kind words and the patience to go through the long blog.

Pictures can never capture the true beauty of what the eyes soak in.

I am sure when the time comes the place would call you to visit it.
vijayols is offline  
Old 10th June 2024, 20:44   #11
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2023
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 3
Thanked: 9 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Fantastic recount of your Trek Experience. If I recall correctly, you did the KGL trek last year. How would you rate the 2 treks in terms of difficulty, beauty and general experience.
NammaTBHP is offline  
Old 10th June 2024, 22:07   #12
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 302
Thanked: 1,558 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Quote:
Originally Posted by NammaTBHP View Post
Fantastic recount of your Trek Experience. If I recall correctly, you did the KGL trek last year. How would you rate the 2 treks in terms of difficulty, beauty and general experience.
As difficult as asking a mom to rate her kids.

Both KGL and Goechala being popular tend to be crowded a bit.The lakes of KGL were better to view.Typically trekking in the big 4 states of kashmir,Himachal,Uttrakhand and Sikkim has its own uniqueness and beauty.

KGL is generally rated the prettiest treks in India with lakes and meadows in plenty.It is challenging with boulder sections and a long final day descend but mostly the trek happens only in the rains so the only weather you get is rains,hailstorms and the sun though you can see snow.

Goechala on the other hand had only one lake,no meadows sections but the flowers,Narnia like forests and the summit 360 view of those imposing mountains practically embracing you is something else too.

Difficulty wise the Goechala is rated as a tougher trek with steeper climbs but I personally found the KGL a wee bit more challenging.

People in both Kashmir and Sikkim are extremely hospitable and warm.

So its like picking between Heads or tails.Personally if its the first trek you are looking at KGL is an easier bet as AMS is less likelier.
vijayols is offline   (3) Thanks
Old 10th June 2024, 22:38   #13
Distinguished - BHPian
 
arun_josie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 3,762
Thanked: 13,879 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Excellent write-up with some stunning pictures,vijayols . It is very detailed too, I loved reading it. Thanks for sharing your experience!
arun_josie is online now   (1) Thanks
Old 11th June 2024, 11:17   #14
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 10
Thanked: 5 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Thanks vijayols for this comprehensive post. I did the trek in October '22 with Indiahikes - was fortunate to have clear views of the Kanchenjunga range from view point 1.

How was the road condition from Bagdogra to Yuksom? Any after effects from the glacial lake outburst flood from last year?
Derrida is offline  
Old 11th June 2024, 11:29   #15
BHPian
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 367
Thanked: 188 Times
Re: The Iconic Goechala Trek in Sikkim

Having driven through Sikkim a fortnight ago, this thread brought back a rush of memories. I didn’t go to Yuksom though.
lejhoom is offline  
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright ©2000 - 2024, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks