Tumbling to Sandakphu
Starting Elevation: 10,072’
(10,072’ – 8,600’) Loss of 1,472’ to Gairibas in 5 miles
(8,600’ – 10,108’) Gain of 1,508’ to Kalapokhri (lunch spot) 3.1 miles
(10,108’ – 11,941’) Gain of 1,833’ to Sandakphu in 3.73 miles
Ending Elevation: 11,941’
Net Elevation Gain: 1,869′
Total Elevation Gain: 3,341’
Total Distance: 13.00 miles
We woke and headed out to see if we could get an early morning view of Kangchenjunga. Although it was not tremendously clear, we did get a view of Kangchenjunga in the distance.
After breakfast, we headed back on the trail. After about 1 km we came to the main entrance of Singalila National Park.
We came across many more beautiful rhododendrons.
We also came across some white magnolias.
We continued hiking down, down, into the valley. I knew from the description of the trek that we would be descending over 1,500’ this morning. The bad thing about this was that we would need to climb over 1,800’ to get to our final destination at Sandakphu!
We bottomed out at Gairibas (8,600’), took a short break, and then began our climb to our lunch spot.
From Gairibas, the route is a steep climb of 6km up to Kalipokhri.
Partway up (after hiking about 10km today), we came to another marker showing we still had 10km to go to get to Sandakphu. Our lunch spot of Kalipokhari was about 5 km away. For some reason, the kilometers to Kalipokhari were chipped out of the stone marker.
We continued onward with more views and more rhododendron.
We finally reached the Black Pond at Kalipokhari. Kalipokhri is so named because of the pond which is filled with black water. The word Kali means black and pokhri stands for water area. However the black color is not due to pollution, it’s muddy and the water never freezes. The small lake is considered sacred by the local villagers. Due to all-time water availability, a small village settlement has taken place in this area (about 100 yards ahead at a higher level).
We left the pond and headed up to the village to have lunch. We started off with some hot tea while we waited for lunch to be prepared.
Lunch again was a stir-fry, soup, and some fresh bananas and apples.
We headed back out of the village and back on the trail after lunch.
Looking ahead, I could see the steep climb we still had ahead of us.
Looking back at the village of Kalipokhari.
Josh and our guide continuing down the trail.
We came across a cow sitting along the trail enjoying the sun.
Although we didn’t see many people out and about, we did come across this friendly guy along the trail.
As we continued to climb, the temperature got colder and the fog rolled in. There were going to be no views this afternoon! We made the final push and arrived at our lodge in Sandakphu. We had packed fleeces, winter hat and gloves, and long underwear for our trip to India knowing we might need them on our trek. After spending the first week of our trip in Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur where the temperatures were 108 degrees, I thought there was no way we were going to need the heavier clothes. However, when we arrived at Sandakphu it was cold and we put on every piece of clothing we had brought with us and huddled under our blankets! The previous night in Tumbling there was a nice warm fireplace in the dining area we could warm by but tonight there was no fire at our lodge.
After dinner, it was time to huddle back under the blankets and hope for a clear morning to view the Himalayas!