Saturday, May 22, 2010


Got a jeep into Yoksum (West Sikkimese Village) on the 18th- it wasn't a very long journey in terms of distance(80) , but timewise it took me about 8 hours- such is the nature of the roads in these parts. I was sweating, because I had very little cash on me, and all 3 ATM's were broken in Jorethang, the town where I changed jeeps. Jorethang is a lot bigger than Yoksum, so I was somewhat convicned that my stay would be shortened to one night, just because of the unavailability of cash. To my immense relief, there is one place in Yoksum that does change travellers cheques, and I have been able to enjoy what is a truly amazing place. The first night I arrived here I met 2 Canadians (From Surrey, as a matter of fact), and one New Yorker who were all buddies. They became my running mates for the last few days. They were in high spirits evidently, and kept ordering rounds of whiskey. Not wanting to be left behind, I matched them every shot. I was the only one not hung over the next morning, but that's neither here nor there. Looks like I've inherited my mother's drinking ability. The next day (once everyone had recovered), we took off for a swim in the river, about 45 mins. walk down a trail. It was pouring rain, but nobody complained... After our very cold swim, we departed on an hour and a half walk back up to town. It was dark by the time we arrived, and thus ends the first day. The next day the two Canadians took off, and it was just me, the New Yorker, and a British couple left from our original group. The following day, we all decided to hike up to the oldest monastery in Sikkim (45 mins. uphill). Now, my shoes were absolutely soaked from the day before, so I resolved not to wear them. Turns out there are lots of tiny leeches on these local trails, for whom my feet make excellent targets. I must have picked up 25 of the little bastards on our trip. After the monastery (bit of a let down), we decided to continue on the trail, and found ourselves in a tiny village names Song (I think). In Song, we found a local woman who ran a homestay, and she made lunch for us. Lunch consisted of fresh-out-the-garden boiled new potatoes, with a sauce made from some local herb (similar to Cilantro), ground up chili peppers, and garlic. Absolutely decadent. From the village we trekked home. I resolved to buy flipflops the next day. After an uneventful dinner and evening, I simply went to bed, thinking I would leave the next morning. Upon waking, however, I decided that I didn't want to spend much time travelling; the landscape wouldn't be changing too much from place to place in my range, and I resolved to stay.This was a good decision, I think. I spent this day hiking about with the New Yorker (named Cullen, for future reference) , no destination in particular. We really are in the jungle here- just walking around the paths is incredible. We resolved to do the Kechapori (spell check) Lake trek the next day. The next day (aka today), we tackled the trek, leaving about 7:30 in the morning. We had a one hour break at the lake, and arrived back at Yoksum about 4:30 PM. It was many kilometres, up and down, and was a really great experience. This is the absolute greenest place I have ever been in my life. On the way back, two dogs followed us all the way from the lake to Yoksum. They received biscuits as a reward. The lake itself was a letdown- it was chock full of ignorant Indian tourists, and was congested and loud. Nothing compared to the serenity of the hike. Tomorrow I am bound for (hopefully) Darjeeling. However, some political leader was assasinated there yesterday, so the city is a bit of a mess at the moment. I have to pick up a train ticket there, so hopefully jeeps run there. If not, I'll figure out my transport somehow- this is an adventure in itself. Yes, I will be careful. I think thats all- I'm really tired right now after a long day of trekking and a 6:30 rise- tomorrow will be 5:30. Awesome...


  1. "Inherited your Mother's drinking ability"? I would have been hungover for sure! You mean "Grandma Julie's drinking ability" I think! ;-D Thanks for this great post Nick, once again I feel like I am there, I can just see that green, green jungle full of life. Incredible..... Love Mom

  2. I forgot to say one immensely important thing...

    25 leaches on your feet! ewwwwwwwwwwww!

    Ok, now I feel better getting that out.

  3. usual, great to hear about your latest adventure. Sounds like a neat area and pictures should be great. As for the leaches, well - not for us weak of mind. You are making some new friends. Please keep in touch as you go back to Darjelling as it is not a good place to be for anyone. 7 innocent tourists were shot in the shoot out! Can't wait until you get out of there and heading back south. Take the time to visit Ramesh (as per his invitation) in Mumbai. He and his family would love to hear about your exploits and you would see another side of the Indian lifestyle and culture.
    Luv, Grama....xx