Back to Yuksom - Goeche La Trek Day Eight
Gangtok Travel Blog› entry 30 of 58 › view all entries
We woke up early and eager to finish the hike down to Yuksom. Even though it rained hard last night, the trail was muddy and slippery but wasn’t as bad as we thought. Thupten was on high speed mode, unusual for him, but he was probably anxious to get back too. All in all, it was about five hours of walking, mostly downhill, crossing bridges and winding through the jungle/forest. This was the same path that we initially walked up the first day and we were impressed with ourselves after the fact for making it all the way to Tsokha the first day. Amazingly, my knees were fine, even with donating one of my two precious trekking poles to Cindy. I guess those “deer shit” pills from
We stopped along the way for our last lunch prepared by Lapa and the boys. They prepared the food on a rock overlooking a little covered picnic area with tree stumps for seats while we figured out their tips. Contrary to popular belief, the picture of me with my pants tucked into my socks is not a fashion statement, au contraire, it is the infamous (and non-successful) “Anti Leach Posture”. This is a little known form of Sikkimese Tantric Yoga that fends off leeches requiring great dexterity and two bamboo sticks with salt bags on the end. If you look closely, you can see how completely ineffective it was by the large blood stain on my left ankle. Sitting down for a rest before lunch, I actually saw the little bastard who was so gorged with my blood that he just dropped off.
After lunch we gave Lapa, Bebe and Mundar their tips which they shyly crammed in their pockets and hopefully later whooped and hollered about (ok it wasn’t that much but we think generous enough to make them happy). They enthusiastically shook our hands good-bye and we headed off for the last bit of the hike to Yuksom.
As we were getting closer to the village, there was more and more trash on the path (actually, most of the trail was very clean but this part wasn’t) so I decided to pick up any not-to-disgusting trash like the abundant candy wrappers until we were back. I ended up with a pocket full and finally gave up as we wound our way back down to the trekking station.
We checked into our same room from before and took a hot shower and washed our grimy hair for the first time in eight days which felt great.
After the laborious process of repacking our travel packs, trying to bury the trekked out clothes far from the clean ones, we decided to have a teatime snack of beers and French fries while recharging everything electronic (no more careful doling out of the audio books, yeah!).
We had dinner later in the restaurant and, in the midst of the meal, another earthquake rumbled through Yuksom and knocked out all of the electricity. They seemed used to it as the waiters had candles and matches ready. We ended up having a nice dinner by candlelight and the electricity did come back after thirty minutes or so (good thing since the hot water heater is electric..) There were several Indian families with a boat load of kids running up and down the halls all night which was somewhat annoying but the beds were comfy, especially compared to the “Evil Dead Trekker’s Hut” in Kokchurong. The phone rang just before we were going to sleep and the guy at the front desk told us that Thupten had called and wanted to leave at 7:30 tomorrow.
Flora and Fauna of
Ok, well earlier in the blog I said we would consolidate a bunch of pictures of plants and animals from the trek so here they are.
Most of the other flowers that you see are high altitude flowers found above the tree line. The tree with the little hairy yellow flowers that look sort of like a caterpillar are really pretty and we saw them in Dzongri, Thangsing and Lamunie.
The pretty little white flowers are actually strawberries (tiny and not that flavorful). There are also wild raspberries (which did taste good) growing down towards Yuksom as well. The pretty pink flowers hanging down from the tree were right outside our hut in Tsokha. There are also over 600 species of orchids, one of which we included a picture of. They grow all over high up in the trees and come in every shape, size and color imaginable.
As far as fauna, ok we didn’t see tons other than yaks, Dzo, and lots of birds but have included pictures of each here or earlier in the blog. The brilliant blue bird is way up on the way to Goeche La pass and we saw quite a few of them. The two red ones we saw a lot, really cute as they bounce their tails up and down. That shot is from our “base camp” at Lamunie. The one with the blue head and red body in the tree with the yellow flowers was in Kokchurong flitting around the trees chasing flies while we listened to tunes by the river.