This goes on the Top 10 natural places list I’ve been so far on this ride.
A Google Earth of the area SW of Kohima, showing the Dzukou Valley. It’s actually more a dip in a high plain than a valley. (the iPad has this new feature where you can draw on a screen grab, pretty cool!)
It’s a project to get to from town, even now in the dry season, and a wet mess of a climb when you want to go for the flowers, from late April to July, in monsoon.
First is the drive from Kohima to the point where you leave the main road and take a rough 4X4 road for an hour. Then it’s an uphill climb for another hour, including a very steep climb at the end for 40 minutes. Then a 2 hour beautiful hike through the valley
Special places often have botanically unique features, this has at least two, and they’re magnificent. First is the Dzukou lily, Lilium chitrangadae, pic from the web. It’s found here and nowhere else, for more Dzukou lily, and valley, wiki
The second is what gives the valley its unearthly feel, a low dense bamboo that restricts the growth of competitive plants for most of the terrain. Plus there are rhododendrons everywhere. The flowering season is from late April for the Rhodies until June/July for the lilies.
This huge tree on the trail is Rhododendren arboreum. This was the biggest we saw and was, without exaggeration, at least 60 feet tall. The world record was measured at 108 feet in 1993 on Mount Japfu, right next to us here. More here r. arboreum wiki
Then reversed the hike out.
This empty beauty, like a few other places I loved, appeal to me far more than the spectacular stuff.