Sandakphu-Phalut Trek - Day 03

CONTINUED FROM: Sandakphu-Phalut Trek - Day 02

Date: 18-Oct-2023

Day03: Phalut (359m/11800ft) to Thokum (3444m/11300ft)

Distance/Time: 13km / 7H

The Golden Hour


As we were supposed to climb up a peak to watch the sunrise, everyone woke up early. I went out to find Usha and updated her about Abhishek's situation. I noticed that the tent we were in was torn at one location. It was therefore not well insulated. I too had felt cold inside. With some counselling, Abhishek was convinced to hike up the hill to watch the sunrise. 

Our campsite was not very far from the Phalut summit. In less than 30 minutes, we were at the top. I captured a few good timelapse videos. However, we did not get a clear view of the sleeping Buddha formation of Kanchenjunga mountain range due to the clouds. 

But a beautiful sunrise made-up for that lose. Usha, Tikaram and Bijoy had carried tea for us there. We enjoyed some hot black tea watching the beautiful sunrise give a golden tint to everything around. 

We spent a good amount of time up there and took many pictures and videos. 

Sandakphu means the land of poisonous flowers. The area was once covered with these poisonous violet flowers. 

Back at the campsite, we had breakfast – Dalia, channa and Maggie. I love the Pahadi Dalia (broken wheat porridge) that they serve. 

It was a long walk again from Phalut to Thakom/Thokum. But we got some great views on the way and stopped at several places. We also picked a beautiful location to eat our packed lunch. On the way, we – 7 trekkers and 3 trek leads/guides had a good time discussing various topics.

We also stopped at a farm house. The family that had settled there were making Churpi – Yak cheese. The cheese is very hard and tasteless. We also had Yak milk tea. The tea was made using rock salt instead of sugar. It was very thick and therefore filling. 

We crossed another border checkpoint where we entered our details in a register and showed our Aadhar card to the army office on duty. Not far from this checkpoint, is our Thakom/Thokum campsite. Our tents were setup outside Yak lodge. So, we were now officially in Nepal. 

Thokum was covered in cloud. Our tents were already pitched when we reached. Abhishek decided to take a room in the lodge for Rs800. So, I got a tent all for myself. Because of that booking, all of us were allowed to use the toilets in the lodge for free. Tasty hot pakodas were served as evening snacks with some much needed tea. 

At night, we assembled at the dining area and played UNO. The games went on till dinner time. The Nepali chutney made of onion, tomatoes and chilly was the highlight of the menu. 

Outside, the sky was clear and we got a glimpse of the milkyway again. Rushikesh captured some great pictures with his DSLR camera. 

Picture credit: Rushikesh Javalgekar

After dinner, we sat at the table discussing. Initially we discussed a lot about our favourite movies. As we were too noisy, the staff came by and asked us to vacate, by politely lying to us that there were few other guests who had to dine. 

Sayali, Rushikesh and I went to Abhishek’s room and continued the discussion. We talked about corporate culture and the stories from our respective workplaces. Basically, it was continuous speaking till 10:30PM about all the frustrations that there were. After that exhausting talking session, we retired to our tents. Due to the clouds, we were not able to see any view. It was only next morning that we would find out what was hiding behind those clouds. And that would be a surprise to all of us!

CONTINUED HERE: Sandakphu-Phalut Trek - Day 04