The Mountain Walker Diaries: A Monsoon Postcard From Pelling

Pelling, Sikkim, India, 15 June 2018, 1930 hours:

I was prepared to wait the week to catch a glimpse of Kangchenjunga (in the event that the weather cleared).

But that was yesterday.

Today went by in a haze of mist, rain, then fog, and more rain and now in the evening, there is rain and dense fog.

So am thinking I will give it a couple of days more and then think of heading out. My local acquaintances and driver (and the hotel managers) have assured me this is not monsoon. This is just a little spell of intermittent rain and thunder showers. The monsoon is yet to come – by the end of the month – and when it does, it will be just rain and rain and fog and mist and rain. Hotel occupancy will be down from the current 95-100% to 50% or less for the very few hotels that will remain open. Some have already started sending staff home or elsewhere since these are the last two weeks of peak season.

I have been up many Himalayan creeks without a paddle in all seasons. And so I love this kind of weather – cool, wet, wild with all shades of grey, very low visibility (I’d say 20 meters of clarity tops), silence except for nature, solitude and remoteness … it’s awesome.

But if you are traveling with family and intend to see places, you have to make quick decisions in this kind of weather. Pelling and its vicinity has a lot to offer, but more on that later. For now, walking in the rain seems the thing to do.

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