One Living Life: Motorcycling across Sikkim | Day 3 | Okhrey to Hilley-Varsey

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Motorcycling across Sikkim | Day 3 | Okhrey to Hilley-Varsey

As I opened my eyes, the gleaming sunlight had filled the room with warmth and a positive aura. I was a little skeptical to open the glass windows at first, remembering last night's cold winds but, the rays gave much hope.

It was as lively, bright and splendid as it could be. The cold and eerie Okhrey had now turned into a warm sunny quaint little village amidst the lap of the Himalayas. A Vodafone 3G connection still kept you connected to the world outside.
I did not think twice and ventured outside in my trousers.  The first view was amazing.

The prayer flags fluttering in the winds still carried that chill-feel, reminding one how brutal it could be when the sun sets.
It was so hard to believe that the Okhrey that scared me last night was such a bliss to my eyes now.The shadows were cold and you would always want to be in the warmth of the sun. I strolled around the homestay, trying to know the place which was wrapped in darkness last night. It was beautiful. The owners did keep their place well maintained.

As I came near my motorcycle, I could now see its condition upon inspecting it closely. Never ever in its life had it been so dirty. I had always taken good care of my Black Beast and a different place and touring were no excuses for me. The homestay owner helped me with a bucket of water and then I realized what I had gotten myself into. The water was near 0 degrees C. Touching it numbed my fingers. For the first few times, I thought of leaving my motorcycle as it is. But then, I could not be at peace. I did wash and wipe it thereafter.

My friends, especially Duti and Ipsita were too eager not to see someone riding. As it is, they were among those 99.99% people, who looked upon touring on 2 wheels as a dangerous passion.
"Traveling is never complete, unless you have felt the ground beneath, let the wind touch you and taken the warmth of the sun on your bare skin."
Motorcycling gives you all. It immerses you in your surrounding and creates a stronger bonding with the place you travel across. Well, trekking is even far better but you need something faster to cover distances. :)

Since our trek today was to start from Hilley, which was just 25 kms away from Okhrey, I did not care too much.
So, after a warm bowl of maggi and a few cups of coffee, we were in the Tata Sumo driven by Jojo.

It was a drive of around 1 to 1.5 hours and on the way the snow clad Himalayan peaks give you a nice view.

The trek from Hilley to Varsey is about 4 kms. While Hilley is at an altitude of around 2750 m, the trek to Varsey gains around another 210 m in altitude (as per GPS).

Entry to the the Hilley Varsey Trek

This place is also famous for the Rhododendron flowers that bloom in spring. I heard that it would have been a spectacular view then. However, we were trekking at the end of November and that view was not to be seen. I would not suggest you to come here in November or in any of the winter months. You would miss the essence of this place.

View while trekking

But, even without the blooming Rhododendrons, the trek amidst the Himalayan greenery lets you experience nature in its purest form. The altitude along with hiking obviously makes one breath heavily. But, it is only the sound of your breath and the rustling leaves beneath that fills the air. Occasionally, you could hear the faint sound of a waterfall which keeps getting louder as you near it and faints away as you walk past the crystal clear stream.
View from the top
We trekked till Hilley and it took us around 2 hours to reach the top. There is a nice open shade here where you get a wonderful view of the Himalayan ranges around. We wanted to spend some more time there. In fact, there is also a cottage/homestay around 500 meters from that place where you can also spend the night. But, it remains open only during the peak seasons.

This trek gave my body ample exhaustion and I guess it also helped me adjust to higher altitudes over the next few days. We were back by 3:00 pm and everyone was dead tired and hungry. After having lunch back at the homestay, everyone went to sleep, apart from me. I strolled around the courtyard and garden and had a nice chat with our driver, Jojo. His home was in a village, near Pelling. So, he did shed some light about their way of life. Their main source of income was farming elaichi, a spice with a strong aroma used in many dishes. While his elder brother and his family worked on the farm all around the year except extreme winters, he drove tourists around for additional income.

From the Homestay @ 3:30 pm

Overall, the day ended on a very sweet note. The bad part was, while I did quit smoking for the past few months in order to detox my lungs, my bad habits caught up with me amidst a place where I needed to avoid that thing the most.

The compiled MotoVlog for Day 3:


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