Kanchenjunga Expedition- Trek to Sukhratar (Day 9)

Col Sharma leads the way on our first trek from Tapleyjung

29thAugust –Trek to Sukhratar

Today I get the first taste of the trek to the mountains. The experience was very unlike the one I had in Nepal along with Janine and the group on the junket an year ago. Here I was not a leader helping others climb up and down but here I almost died of exhaustion. I will have to give it to the army guys. They are indeed sturdy.

Dirt and ditches on the trek route to Sukhetar.

But perhaps I should not be so pessimistic about my efforts. Me and Dalbir fell behind after I decided to fix a new roll. It took some time and according to Dalbir `even 10 minutes in the hills is a lot of time’. We decide to catch up with them by taking shot-cuts. We climb some steep slopes. It not only drains me of my energy but also my confidence. I breath hard and my legs are heavy as lead. Dalbir’s effortless walk up the slpoe further dampens my already flagging spirits. At times I feel I will pas out. But I move on. Later when we hit the road we realise we have swarms of leeches on us. I panic. I take off my shoes and socks and brush them off. Dalbir is no help. He watches my plight giving me instructions to put my shoes on and move on.

Actually with leeches it’s a bad idea to stop. They take no time to stick on shoes and them trepez onto your leg. The leeches here are slim and about a centimenter long. They stand on one end with the other end probing the air-perhaps for flesh to stick on. I was surprised that, thought I was bitten twice-with one bite wound bleeding quite a bit , there is no pain at all. I don’t feel anything even when I pour salt on the bite wound to deaden the pincers-suckers-I believe the leeches leave inside. However soon we catch up with the group just close to Sukhatar village. I feel elated and blame it all on my fatigue on my taking those steep-short-cuts. The others, I tell myself just had a straight walk up the broad road.

Trekking to Sukhetar
Sukhetar has a small but lovely air-field. One end of it is open. Perhaps thats the end where the aircraft take into the air. From the temple side it seems to open up into the sky beyond. The small trek from the sukhetar village to the temple is beautiful. There is an idyllic, pastoral scene with horses grazing in the gentle, lolling verdant slopes. We are at 2,200 meters in Sukheta and I don’t think there will be any leeches around or I don’t care any more. Leeches are usually found in areas of high wetness.

A cowherd with his buffalo on the Sukhetar road.

I take a couple of shots of C. N Bodh and Neel Chand the champion climbers in our group. I take their pics from a very low-view-point lying on the grass. I wish to take their pics with the clouds which weave an thin and a terrace-farm like pattern in the sky. I only hope I don’t underexpose them. Actually my fear most of the time is about underexposing my subjects. So even when I take the spot metering I still underexpose by half or one stop. But I will know what to do once the results are out.

The dirt track that leads to Sukhetar formed our trekking route.

One Response to “Kanchenjunga Expedition- Trek to Sukhratar (Day 9)”

  1. pankaj anand says:

    I believe this is the first time you have talked about the some technical term in your travelogues… Metering, underexpose , 1 stop 🙂

    Tomorrow will be my first encounters with leeches and its good to read it about them here though I am very much prepared for that already..

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