Why into the woods? Well, this trek is located literally into the woods. Almost 90% of the trek is covered by dense forest. You will come across the most unique and beautiful trees in this trek.
What to expect from this trek?
The key point to note is, unlike other treks, there are steep ups and downs throughout the trek except from Thansing to Lamuney.
Usually in other treks, you gradually ascend everyday till the top and then descend down but in Goecha La, major ascending and descending is going to be an everyday routine. Also, the return journey is not going to be any better. It will be less tiring and less steep but expect last minute climbs as well.
So, in short gradient wise, this is a tough trek specially the third day i.e. from Tshoka to Dzongri
Goecha La offers one of the prettiest trails in India. All year round there will be something special to look forward to. The March to April period is decorated with magenta and while rhododendron flowers where as Sep to October is pure green bliss. You will notice dense canopy of low heighted trees everywhere and every inch of bark covered with moss.
Lot of water steams along the way decorates it even more.
So, trail wise, no second thoughts, it is very beautiful trek
If you are from North East or Bengal side, you are not going to face any problem but for North Indians, food might be a bit of a problem since Sikkim people mostly eat rice only. There is just no concept of Chappati and their Chinese are also bit modified. But we got served variety of dishes likes momos, noodles, thukpa etc.
It depends on the organization that you are going with because they prepare the menu
Also, on the trail you will see small shops serving Wai Wai with Lai which is must have while on trek. It is just like Maggie but more tasty and they add organically grown leaves of Lai which makes it healthy. There are few cafes as well on 2-3 camp sites that serve good egg dishes so food should not be a problem
Weather in mountains are unpredictable and weather changes frequently in the trail of Goecha La. In the month of sep to Oct expect series of rain showers and mild sun shine. March will be fine and pleasant.
Usually the trekking organizations take care of the stay arrangement and carry their own tents but if you feel like staying under a roof, every camp site has some wooden lodges which can be booked for 100 rs per person. Stay wise, Goecha La is the most organized trek in the country.
Goecha La terrain is as such that there are steep ascends and descends every day and the way from Tshoka to Dzongri is a steep climb of 1000 meters with almost no water refill point. The evacuation becomes challenging in Goecha La hence lot of trekkers have lost their lives on this trail. Also, the trail is covered with dense forest and lot of trails branch out of here and there hence if you are walking alone, chances are you might wade away from the actual path.
So in short, Goecha La is a risky trek but if done with well established organizations who know how to run trips and have well qualified leaders who are trained in mountain sickness procedures, than it is pretty much doable.
Only thing to keep in mind is, know your limits. You know the best when it is right to turn back. Do not hide any symptoms from leaders and rest will go fine.