A Sikkim New Years

 

For New Years a couple friends and I went up to Sikkim for some winter trekking.  It turned out to be the best New Years I can remember and a truly rejuvenating, relaxing experience.  There was even something to be said for the freezing cold nights (-20’C at it’s coldest), seeing as I haven’t gotten a season besides summer in the last 3 years.

We spent the week before our trek travelling in central and west India.  When I say travelling I mean it literally, i.e. in transit from one location to the next.  My friends flew in from Beijing and Addis Ababa with very limited time and an incredible ambitious list of things they wanted to see.  Being a not-so-savvy Indian travel I didn’t insist we limit ourselves to a conservative yet manageable itinerary, and instead opted for almost the complete opposite.  Needless to say, India punished me for my insolence. Every single leg of our journey was delayed, cancelled, or re-routed.  We ended up in Delhi on two separate occasions, having not scheduled a single stop there to begin with.  Out of necessity, we broke pretty much every rule we set regarding travel safety and budgeting.  By the time we got into Sikkim, of the 150 hours since we got together in Mumbai, more than 80 were spent travelling.

But it was all worth it.  Sikkim is one of the most stunningly beautiful places I’ve ever been.  Since I can remember it has been a dream of mine to trek in the Himalayas.  I still can’t believe how close we were geographically to Jharkhand, but how foreign it felt in every other way.  India is truly a subcontinent, with so many unique things to see that you could spend lifetimes trying and never get to it all.  Below are some of my favorite photos from the trip.  They’re all from the Sikkim trek.  I unfortunately forgot to take any from the earlier parts of the trip, but it’s hard to remember when you’re in a stinky bus terminal arguing for a fairly priced taxi that you didn’t expect to take in the first place or throwing-up in an airport terminal after a bad dinner choice the night before.  I guess there’s no such thing as a free lunch…

The view from our campsite on New Years
Enjoying the sun and beautiful view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrise on Khatchenzunga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying another beautiful sunrise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First snow dusting of the season. Got out just in time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A picture of the whole crew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scenery like this has always spoken to me, and  the reverence and respect that the Sikkimi’s give to these mountains is inspiring.  Can’t wait for the next trip!

As an undergraduate, Andrew became interested in sustainable resource management while spending a semester in the Turks and Caicos Islands studying marine resource management and policy. As an employee of the marine resources department in Ecuador's Galapagos National Park, he worked towards mitigating human impacts on indigenous species by developing and implementing baseline surveys successfully culminating in a bilateral land exchange program to better serve the park while still protecting the interests of the local community. He also performed baseline water quality testing in the local community, providing empirical evidence and assisting in the renovation of a water treatment facility. Then, as manager of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program's headquarters in Equatorial Guinea, he supported ecologists in their endeavors to better understand the unique flora and fauna of Bioko Island. In addition to managing the logistical and the bureaucratic aspects of the organization, Andrew developed eco-tourism and educational ventures aimed at increasing community empowerment and independence. Andrew's interests lie in ecologically conscious business modeling and community empowerment through sustainable developments and agro-business.

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