Few would dispute that trekking in the Himalayas is the holy grail of most walkers. The thought of walking on the roof of the world, surrounded by the highest mountains on the planet, is very seductive and we have finally succumbed. There are two trekking seasons; post-monsoon in November-December, when the weather is more predictable and the sky is clearest for mountain views and pre-monsoon, when you trade a risk that rain and cloud may restrict your views for the opportunity of seeing the Himalayan flora, especially the rhododendron forests, in full bloom. Sikkim has some of the most diverse floral habitats on earth, so we took our chances and headed off on a pre-monsoon trek. Our Himalayan adventure, organised through The Trekking Company, consisted of three treks, each a little more difficult and challenging than the last and each getting a little higher up and closer to the really big mountains. It seemed a good program to gradually acclimatise to the high altitudes and reduced oxygen.

Rhododendrons on the Singalila Ridge

The first, and easiest trek was a 6-day walk along the Singalila Ridge separating Nepal and India, reaching a height of 3600m. The trek through villages and forests, promised panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain chain from Mt Everest in Nepal to the peaks of Bhutan.

Our second trek was the Goeche-La Trek, an 8-day walk in Sikkim, climbing up from thickly forested valleys, through rhodendron-covered slopes to the snow and glacial lakes high above the tree-line. It culminated at 4600m near Goeche-La, a pass looking up to the southern face of 8600m Kangchenjunga, third highest mountain in the world.

Forest and peaks on Goeche-La Trek

Finally, we moved on to North Sikkim, where we did a 9-day camping trek in a region newly opened up for walkers, an area of true wilderness, through dense forest, alongside mountain rivers and glaciers to a high point of 4930m at Green Lake, set amongst the 6-7000m peaks neighbouring Kangchenjunga; truly a chance to get right to the heart of the Himalayas.

Deep in the heart of the Himalayas on the Green Lake Trek

If these images have whet your appetite for a brief cyber visit to the Sikkimese Himalayas, please browse on. There will be fog, snow, hail, blizzards and lots of sunshine, as we journey through forest and grassland, alongside rivers and glaciers up to the base of some of the highest mountains on earth.