Great Himalayan Trail, Approach trail days 5-7 • Ghunsa to Kanchenjunga Base Camp (this post contains multiple photos): after the rest day in Ghunsa we continued up towards Kanchenjunga Base Camp, the official start of the GHT Nepal.
Leaving Ghunsa we walked through forest for a short while before going above tree line, continuing along the Ghunsa Khola river valley to the small village of Khangpachen where we stopped for the night. It started snowing in the late afternoon, and around dark it became cold enough to start accumulating, making for a truly spectacular sight the next morning.
We continued up to Lhonak, an even smaller place with just two teahouses seeming to be open. .
The following day we started out to Kanchenjunga base camp. At 8586 meters (28169 feet) Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, but isn’t visible until you round a corner and can see south across the glacier to the peak itself. Even then it doesn’t really stand out amidst the satellite peaks nearby. (Not to sound like a snob, it’s still a stunningly beautiful area. Kanchenjunga is the final picture in the slideshow)
The scale of the Himalayas is what really strikes you, standing at 5143 meters (16873 feet) at base camp, with multiple 8000+ meter peaks in view, and scale is so hard to convey with a picture. At these altitudes the color pallet is white, brown and gray. Not “pretty”, like a PNW field of wildflowers framing a green forest and a snowy peak, but incredibly majestic and grand. .
These days were short and should have been easy hiking, but I was dragging worse than I ever have. I don’t believe it was the altitude, at least not as the primary cause, since my issues started quite low. I’ve also been much higher before without such problems, but the weakness, fever/chills, and just general feeling poorly continued through these days. But I did make it, albeit nearly an hour slower than the rest of the group.
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