Sandakphu Trek – Tumpling to Kaalapokhari

Tumbling to Kaalapokri was 14 kilometres with 3.4 kilometres being very tough. The first stop was at Nepali village to buy Poncho as the weather had dramatic changes.

20141216_084430After a nice sleep, we had got up really early to watch the sunrise, but were not quite lucky. The clouds had spoiled our plans. A little disheartened, as we were having our tea, soon it started snowing and our excitement had no bounds.

We were hoping to see some snow at Sandakphu. But then why wait for Sandakphu, here we were at our first camp, early morning before we even start our trek and we were blessed with this while furry of snowflakes. What more can we ask for and I thanked the almighty for being so generous. The fun was unlimited and the whole group was enjoying this natural beauty with excitement and joy.

Since it was raining the night before, fear was that the rain might catch us on the way as well. But the snow and later the light hail stones made our day and we were happy about our luck. The snow had subsided and we were again embraced by the shiny sunlight of the morning sky. The tranche towards the Nepali village was a straight walk with some of the most picturesque landscapes along the way. Most of us bought Poncho here to make sure we are prepared for rain, as we move up in the mountains.

20141216_095136The next stop after Nepali village was a military outpost. The weather was now cloudy and foggy and I remembered the information given at the base camp. We were told that in Kallapokhari the weather is always windy. In fact the complete route from the military outpost to the camp was through a foggy forest, with ample moss, algae growth on the branches. The Forest reminded me of the foggy forests of Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra.

The road was quite steep and we were panting as we continued. The group was completely dispersed. The vegetation in this forest was unique and I probably haven’t been into a thicker forest than this. The snow had turned into crystals and they glittered along the road over the bushes and on the leaves.

20141216_123447The fog, thickness of forest and overall atmosphere gave me feeling of being on a secret mission of reaching some unknown destination, where no man has gone before. Well that’s my fantasy and yes the forest was really thick and it was already getting quite dark at 3 pm here.

Finally we had our break at one of the local tea houses here. The hot Maggie Noddles and the cold and thick Nepali Roti and Subjee was our lunch. The Maggie Noodles and tea was rejuvenating . All of us reached Kaalapokhari at around 4:30 pm. The name Kaala Pokari comes from a tiny lake with water appearing as black as coal.

The accommodation at Kaalipokhari did not have that 5 start facility of attached washroom like the one in Tumpling, but the food was fantastic. The family was really hospitable and there was this special performance by the youngest member of the family probably a 10 year old girl, singing beautiful Hindi songs and that was an unadulterated entertainment with natural talent, no rehearsal, just a spot performance, while keeping up with the harsh weather and tough living conditions. The spirit of that girl was appreciable.

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