Sunday, 2 November 2014

Kanchenjunga Trek - Getting There

Andrew and I always figure we're more likely to die getting to an "adventure" than while actually on the adventure. This time was no exception as the drive to the start of our trek was the scariest part.

We left Kathmandu with our guide, Raj, and flew Yeti Airlines to Bhadrapur, a 45-minute flight. Very hot and humid again so we were happy to drive to Fikkal as we could feel the air cool as we gradually went to higher elevation via winding roads, past forest area and terraced crops of tea. At the Kanyam Inn we met up with our porters, Pasang and Fullkumar (Kumar for short), and went for a walk amongst the tea "gardens.” We would call them fields. 
A worker coming in from the tea gardens
Sunset over the tea gardens
The next day we got away early with a younger new driver who I’m pretty sure was an aspiring racecar driver. But to give him credit, he was very skilled! Winding roads, so narrow that I often questioned if two vehicles could pass each other. Steep sharp drops off the edge of the road, many short switchbacks; avoiding goats, cows and kids. With nerves of steel he certainly didn’t slow down or hesitate. Slow down in a school zone? Pfft! Just honk the horn longer and louder.

After the first hour of bracing against whatever I could hang on to, to keep from flying from one side of the vehicle to the other, I looked at the positive side and figured I was getting a good core workout. Six hours later it was a great full body workout.

At one point there was a large truck stalled in the middle of a steep uphill portion of the road. Vehicles were backed up. We got out, our driver looked at things for a few minutes and then drove past with mere centimeters between the truck and our jeep on one side and the tires of the jeep and a deep gutter on the other.

Going to check out the stalled truck situation
Lots of room! Centimeters to spare. 
We got our first distant views of Kanchenjunga and Jannu from one of the high passes we crossed.

Mt. Jannu (pointy peak) on the left and Mt. Kanchenjunga on the right.
Don't put your arm out the window. You might lose it!
Honk, honk! Passing on the right!
Nepali traffic jam

We arrived safely at Suketar, the starting point of our trek.

See my other Kanchenjunga Trek posts. 

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