Why the Teenjurey Hike was Dreadfully Wonderful

Author: Lily Shanker
Date: 2018-12-03

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I pictured my first hike to be on a bright and sunny day at some wood, with me trudging down a seemingly straight path lined with arching trees, carpeted with russet leaves and twigs, and admiring a squirrel or two eating acorns.

However, the first hike I took delivered none of these things yet was perfect in every sense.

On a cold winter morning clouded with mist, a couple of us mustered the courage to hike inside the Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary in East Sikkim. The weather forecast threatened a thunderstorm at noon but nothing deterred us that day—hiking we will go!

 We drove up to Golitar, paid the entry fee at the Forest & Wildlife Management Department’s office there to obtain a permit, and hired a guide.

I started off with great enthusiasm, sturdy stick in hand, into a captivating 4-hour walk I’ll never forget. The trail took us through a forest of magnolia, rhododendron, bamboo, pine, and maple trees. Brightly colored flowers peeked through the green hue of leaves, branches, and moss now and then and birds chirped high from the tree tops. I was trying not to miss the trees for the forest, so I immersed myself in looking and envying every leaf, some speckled with dots, others between transitioning colors; intricate spider webs glistening with dew drops caught in a sliver of sunlight; small purplish berry clusters inviting you to quench your thirst; and the most magnificent tree roots I ever saw. We trudged on slippery stone steps and mud pathways, surprising us with sudden steep ascents; under gnarly tree roots; over bamboo bridges built over rivulets; around fallen tree trunks cutting our path; and past rain-drenched leaves soaking our hair wet.