The next day we started our 9-day trek. The first day wasn't too hard and I didn't get too tired unless going on long uphills. Even when I got tired I had plenty of time to rest if I went ahead of the others. The main problem is that my feet got sore after walking 2 hours. In all it took us 3 hours to get to the camp and it was about a 12-km trek until the campsite. So we walked about 4 km/hr. We got to camp at lunch. Lunch was saimin-like noodles, rice and potato curry. After lunch we rested and played cards and read until dinner. Dinner was chicken curry, green beans, cauliflower, soup, lentils and rice.
On the trek we saw lots of scenery. We crossed two suspension bridges that bounced when you walked across them. I can't describe the trees and mountains in enough detail so instead, look at the photos I took.
May 9th was almost the same as May 8th but it was shorter: 8 km instead of 12km. It also took 4 hours though because it was more uphill. In the first part, the only signs of civilization besides the track were footprints and . . . a potato and a cucumber!!!
We crossed another suspension bridge over a river valley.
May 10th: we walked 10km and it took 5 hrs 45 minutes, including lunch. Surprisingly it took almost the same time for all the days. Today we climbed up about 1,000m. We are now 4,000m above sea level - about 13,200 feet. The last bit of the trail was really steep. On the trail we found granite so old I could crack it with my walkingstick.
Earlier in the trek there were whole forests of rhododendron. Now we are so high only scrub grows. But there are lots of pretty birds. We've seen a Himalayan crow, it's twice the size of a normal crow. A collared grosbeak, a white-browed rose finch, and a yellow-billed blue mockingbird.
In the sheltered spots we saw patches of snow.
May 11: Today we had a rest day at Dzongri. At 5 in the morning we walked to the top of a hill. At the top was a viewpoint. It was really cold and my feet and nose hurt. When we got to the top there was a shrine with lots of prayer flags. There were 7 mountains you could see. From the right to left there was Pandim, Konchengdzonga, South Kabur, Black Kabur, North Kabur, and Koktang. Later in the day we played cricket with a hand-carved bat and a ball made from a burlap bag tied into a ball.
May 12: Today we walked 8.5 km and it took 4.5 hours. It was mostly downhill. We went from Dzongri to Tashing. Tashing is in a valley in between two big mountains.
May 13 & 14: Today we went 4km to Lamune from Tashing. About an hour after we got there it started to hail. After another couple of hours the hail turned to snow. We were worried the snow would keep going and we would not get to go all the way to Goche-la. Luckily it stopped snowing before 3:30am (which is when we started our trek to Goche-la). We walked up with flashlights but the sun rose enough to see at about 5:00. At first it was nice walking through the snow but my feet got really cold after about 1 hour 45 minutes. When we got to the first stop my feet were so cold they burned. Kekai's feet were also so cold and he had a headache. So me, him, and my mom went back and my dad went to the second viewpoint. The first viewpoint was 4,600m high! It was 3km to the first part but it was all uphill and in the snow so our feet sunk in. It took us 3 hours. 1 km/hour: half the speed we usually go. After that we hiked down from Lamune to Kokchurang. Kokchurang is in a valley.
We hiked all the way back on the same trail through the old campsites we'd already been so I won't talk about it. We finished our trek and went back to Darjeeling for a day. Then we went to Phedikhola where my mom looked at ATREE's projects. We went and saw a bunch of the villagers gardens and stuff. One person had a roomful of mushrooms. Every villager had at least one beehive. We also went on a hike up to a smaller village.
May 27: Today we are back in boring and busy Bangalore. We went to see the new movie, Epic. Bangalore is very hot, especially after being in the mountains. We are now living in our friend, Nitin's apartment in Bangalore. There's really nothing to do but play indoor games or go shopping or read a book. I'm really bored here!!