Goecha La Trek: Days 6 & 7 - Back to Tshokha & Yuksom

Morning was refreshing at Kockchurung. After breakfast we started the day's trek by 8 in the morning. The plan was to bypass Dzongri and reach Tshokha by evening. This takes a longer route which joins the Phedang-Dzongri trail. The rains had made this trail quite slippery and people kept falling down at regular intervals. The injured Russian lady was being carried down to Yuksom this very route on a stretcher by some porters. It sure was quite an ordeal for the poor lady as it rained most of the day. We stopped over at Phedang for lunch where we met another group from China who were on their way up. They were a bit apprehensive about the rest of the journey seeing the plight of the Russian.

We picked lot of wild strawberries on our way down and it was quite an enjoyable walk to Tshokha. Even the dogs were enjoying the trip back to base camp, by this time we had five of them with us - Wolfi, Zulu, Dusty, Almost Dusty & Philippe. Marco (short for Marcus Aurelius) had decided to stay back at Kockchurung and try his luck with the other groups. We reached Tshokha quite early in the evening which gave us ample time to roam around the village clicking some pictures. There was a small souvenir shop from where I picked up a bunch of prayer flags. We ordered for some Thongmba and celebrated our return in style. Post dinner, there was a special session with Krishna on stars and constellations. He had amazing knowledge not just in locating the stars and planets, but also explaining the mythology behind the constellations and their names. By the time we retired to our tents all of us had picked up few tips from him on star gazing.

We woke up to some spectacular light show the next day morning. Sun was dancing in and out of the clouds, creating some awesome patterns in the sky. Soon everything from the Yaks to the horses to the dogs became subjects to a dozen cameras. After lazing around the campsite for an hour or so we packed up one last time for the base camp - Yuksom. Weather was really pleasant the whole day and it did not rain till we reached Yuksom. After unloading our bags in the travelers hut we all went to town.. back to civilization after 7 days! There was a queue in front of the hair cutting saloon for some much needed cutting and shaving. We also visited the Kathok lake, another sacred lake in Yuksom. It has quite scenic surroundings with lush green grasslands and prayer flags all around it, not to mention the crystal clear waters. The belief is that leaves don't fall into the lake or rather the birds won't let them fall into the lake.

Yuksom is a small but beautiful village and few of us took a walk across the village to the market and back. Most of the houses are made of wood and are neatly lined up on either side of the road. The roads also look beautiful with the prayer flags on long masts planted all along. Cute looking kids were busy picking an orange berry called 'ilusun'. We tried Tibetan bread, fried potatoes and momos at a roadside restaurant. We had chicken for dinner that night, after which we once again convened around the table outside, for a few hours of singing and dancing. The celebrations went on for quite a while and sometime early the next morning I hit the sack!

Click here for more..

Day 1: To Yuksom
Day 2: Yuksom to Tshoka
Day 3: Tshoka to Dzongri
Day 4: Dzongri to Lamuney
Day 5: To Samiti & Kockchurung
Days 6 & 7: Back to Tshoka & Yuksom
Days 8 & 9: To Darjeeling

Pictures from the trek here

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