Finally, one last army checkpoint and we climbed up to the village of Lachen, our base for the trek. Lachen is one of only two villages in Sikkim that maintains a traditional collective-style political system known as Dzumsa, which regulates the social and economic life of the people. Trekkers also abide by the rules of the Dzumsa. For us this meant that we stayed at the accommodation allocated to us, the recently built concrete tourist centre, which was comfortable in a spartan, hard-mattressed Sikkimese way. It also meant that we had no say in the organisation of the porters for the trek. Tomorrow would prove interesting in that regard.