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Two days later on 26th April, we find ourselves in Dhotrey, a 3 hr drive from Darjeeling. An expectant look around the horizon to see Kanchendzonga betrays the diminishing hope that I had. After a mishandled episode of putting blames, and the death of a local – both unrelated incidents, dirt finally hit our shoes – in the literal sense that is. Our trail was a well laid one, almost too well laid for some. It was a constant ascent, but manageable. We moved in groups, the same groups that we had come from. In the orientation meeting a leader and a deputy was chosen amongst us – Shubham and Sowmya. Convention says that the leader follows the pack at the back while the deputy leads from the front.
Dhotrey. This picturesque hamlet was the starting point of our trek. Surrounded by forests of pine and rhododendron, this quaint little village is the perfect place to start the trek. The ascent to Tumling is gradual six kilometer trek through dense rhododendron forests. The forest canopy is a mind boggling melange of red, pink and magenta from the blooming Rhododendrons interspersed with the white Magnolias.Approaching Tumling, the forests melts away into the meadows. We crossed mist filled valleys braving chilly winds on barren slopes occasionally punctuated by "Chorten"s and "Mane"s; holy Buddhist structures festooned by fluttering prayer flags.