I've had people ask me if I'm going to Nepal, or Tibet. Well the answer is neither. So where EXACTLY am I going?
The whole of the Himalayan 100 takes place in the Sandakphu National Park in an area of India known as Sikim. We'll be in India the entire time, not going into Nepal or Tibet.
This area of the Himalayas is sometimes described as the 'Forgotten Tibet' and isn't as widely known for trekking. Which seems a shame, as Sandakphu is apparently the only place in the World where you can see 4 out of the 5 highest mountains at the same time... Mt Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu - and the views look breathtaking. The event website describes it like this:
'The 100 mile course traverses through isolated jungle, pine forests, small settlements and villages and across major rivers. Yaks, wild ponies, and the Red Panda are seen at higher elevations. At each overnight stop, meals are fully catered and accommodations are in rustic mountain huts. The race is most often described as the “Most Scenic Race in the World” that offers panoramic views of the world’s highest mountains. Sightseeing in the Darjeeling area includes the famous Himalayan Mountaineering Museum, Toy Train, and important Tibetan monasteries'.
So tomorrow (how did that come round so quickly?) I'll be flying out to Delhi, then on Wednesday onwards to Bagdogra airport. We'll then travel onto a Mirik Resort in Darjeeling, take a tour of the tea plantations and the Toy Train (which is apparently the highest train in the World) then on Saturday the race starts. I'll just gloss over that scary bit for now...
See the little yellow 'lump' at the end of Nepal with the red star indicating Kanchenjunga? that is Sikim and is still part of India. And that's where I'm going. After the silliness of running 100 miles is over - and provided I'm still walking/alive/discharged from hospital - we are being treated to a tour of the Taj Mahal thanks to India Tourism. This really is going to be an adventure of a lifetime.
Excited?! ermm.. just a bit. And top of my list of things I HAVE TO see? A Red Panda. I wonder if I'll be able to squeeze one into my suitcase to bring home?