Goecha La Trek Day 02

CONTINUED FROM: Goecha La Trek Day 01

Day 02: 17-April-2022

Route: Sachen (2200 m/7200 ft) To Tsokha (2960 m/9700 ft)

Distance: 7km (5H)

The chirping of birds woke me up early in the morning. It was a pleasant view outside. The sky had cleared. I sat on the rock behind the tents and completed my sketch. 

While I went down to the stream to freshen-up, I spoke to Arijeeth and Don from the adventura group. Don told me that he and another friend of his have been backpacking in Sikkim for a few weeks now and they had stayed in small villages and already done a few short treks. I would love to do that someday. 

We had a good breakfast with bread, jam, poha and Dalia (wheat porridge). At 8:15AM, our trek for the day began. We met 4 villagers who were bound towards Dzongri. A student of Himalayan mountaineering institute was sick and they were going there to carry him back to the village.

Along the way, I enquired with Ram about the the inhabitants of Yuksom. Sikkim has three main ethnic groups - People of Nepalese origin who are the majority, the Lepchas who are indigenous to Sikkim and Bhutias who have a Tibetan ancestry. The Lepchas were previously nature worshipers but now, most of the community has converted to Christianity. Ram tells me that now that the population is less, there is communal harmony between the various ethnic groups. The locals mainly grow cardamom, ginger and Kuchoo grass that is used to make broom sticks. 

We take a short break at Bhakim. The view from there was amazing. 

The stretch from Bhakim to Tsokha is steep and the trail passes through a forest. On my way, I came across wild strawberries and the famous Buransh flowers (Rhododendron). The Rhododendron flowers are used to make wine. 

We reached Tsokha at 1:30PM. Near the camp, I saw a beautiful bird which Ram identified for me as a Yellow billed blue magpie. The bird became my subject of sketching for that evening. 

Tsokha is a beautiful campsite. There are a couple of shelters setup in the area by the forest department. Our tents were setup in front of one of the shelters. The Adventura group were upset that we got the best spot - the one overlooking the mountains. I was told that the some of the team members fought with their guide for not picking the best spot for them. I spoke to Siddhant from Adventura group. He is from Mumbai and one of the only two Non-Bengalis in that group; the other being a lady from Shilong. During our conversation, I learnt that Siddhant, like me, was on his third Himalayan trek within 6 months. Like me, he started his first Himalayan trek in October last year, then went on his second trek in December. Ram and I joked about his team being very loud, to which, he concurred. He had met one of the guys in the group during his previous trek and they had clicked. So when he posted this trek on his Insta page, Siddanth decided to join in. Just then, some of his group members walked back to the campsite after taking a stroll. He added jokingly- “Ye log sunai pehle detey hai aur dekai baad mai.” (They are heard much before being seen). Which isn’t entirely wrong by the way. 

There was a girl by the name Arpita in the group who was nicknamed as 'the Noisy one’. She had a very loud and distinctive voice. But to be fair to her, she was also the most cheerful and friendly person among all the trekkers there. She would strike a conversation with everyone on the trail and in the end, she had become so famous that Adventura was renamed as Arpita’s group. But her loudness also made her the subject of mockery. 

Almost everyone there (Some trekkers and the Sikkimese staff) generalised that all Bengalis are loud and noisy, to which, Subham took offence. He told me that such generalisation wasn’t right. Though most of the Bengalis are loud (Perhaps because of the language structure) we should not group everyone into one category because the three Bengalis in our team - Banasree, Bishashwar and Subham were not noisy. 

The mules got their food packed in a bag, attached to their mouth and we, got ours - Pasta and soup. After lunch, we walked to a small hill nearby. I sat there to sketch the bird. 

In the evening, I walked to the monastery. A group of Tibetan settlers, while fleeing their homeland, in the late 60s, had settled in this area. Back then, Sikkim was under king-rule. After the area was recognised as National park, the settlers were moved to Yuksom. The monastery now remains closed unless the Lamas are visiting. 

I met Bhuvan here and we shared the details of our previous trek experiences. This was his second Himalayan trek. He had done Pin Bhaba late last year. Speaking to other trekkers, one thing is clear - Himalayan treks are addictive. It is rare that someone who enjoys trekking would stop at one. 

By the way, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute student who was sick, was in Tsokha when we reached. He was carried back that night.

Tea and snacks were served in the evening. We are normally served milk tea in the morning and black tea in the evening. This is to avoid acidity. Dinner was served early that night and after dinner, there was nothing much to do. The night was cold and therefore, we slipped into our sleeping bags and went to bed. When I woke up in the middle of the night and stepped out, I saw the moon and stars up in the sky. It was a beautiful sight. 

CONTINUED HERE - Goecha La Trek Day 03


  1. Just curious. You meet lot of people in your trekking adventure. Do you keep in touch with them after you get back? Like a whatsApp group? Do they all read your blog posts?

    1. I do stay in touch with most of them on Instagram. Some have trekked with me again as well. A few of them do follow my blogs, but not all. And I normally share my travel page (Itchyfeet) than this personal blog.


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