Day 11 – Keylong to Pang

Keylong is cold. I don’t have anything against cold except that it simply means I am late by 2 hours. Creeping out of the warmed blankets is a difficult job. I had thought of waking up early and capturing the mountains in the early morning glory. To be fair to myself, I did wake up early but decided that there are too many photographs of mountains in the morning and I would stick to the afternoon. So at 10 am, I was off.

Backtracked first to Tandi about 7 kilometers to fill my newly acquired petrol canister. On the way I realise, I have only some 400 rupees on me. Now there is only so much petrol I can buy plus I need to be sure that I will make it to Leh tonight. Otherwise I am going to be houseless and foodless in the night. Filled up some 4 litres. And had my first fall. A very ackward fall. The kind that happens when you are not alert enough. Scolded myself royally and moved on. No damage done. The leg guards had done their job.

First stop – Darcha. Small 5 house place. Had my cup of tea (no food since trying to save money) and moved again.

From Earning My Quarter Mile

Less than half hour later, my second fall.This one was even more funnier. I was afraid my rear tyre was flat. So I stopped to have a look. I stepped off before the bike had halted completely. It fell to the left with my leg under it. Again the leg guards justified themselves. No damage done. Except this. My foot rest on the gear paddle broke. Broke as in can’t be joined back again. Baralachala was approaching. No time to stop.

From Earning My Quarter Mile

Baralachala was a whole different ballgame. Way way different than what I had expected. There were horror stories floating around about at least 6 people dying the recent snowfall. It was high and cold. Unreachable by the army on short notice if you get stuck. But this !!! This was a dream. After the first few kilometers of dirt track, the road was better than an expressway. And I am not exaggerating. It was almost surreal. Where ever I looked, all I could see is snow. Nothing else. And yet, the road was such that I could have revved up to 100 kmph and wouldn’t have felt it. To put it in perspective, though, the only other defining feature of the pass were the sheer numbers of trucks stuck in snow and the number of military and rescue vehicle out there looking for dead bodies. It did dampen my spirits but there was nothing that could have been done.

From Earning My Quarter Mile
From Earning My Quarter Mile
From Earning My Quarter Mile
From Earning My Quarter Mile

Post Baralacha came the wierdly plain and bumpy roads to Sarchu. For kilometers, it was flat out high speed high risk riding.

From Earning My Quarter Mile

It was cold but I was enjoying it. Plus I needed to get to Leh by evening. It was 1 pm when I reached Sarchu.

From Earning My Quarter Mile

Ordered my cup of tea but was feeling royally hungry now. I asked the guy there – “How much for the tent?” He said 50 bucks. I was quite elated but not sure if I had heard right. So I double checked. It was right. 50 bucks for a shared tent and 250 bucks for a separate one. In Keylong, only the second part was told to me. I heaved a sigh of relief and, like a king reborn, asked him to treat me to egg maggi. Had my fill. And left half hour later for where ever the road took me. That is till Pang.

Crossed Gata Loops. Nice place. Crossed Nakeela. Crossed a lot of beautifully random places. The topography has changed quite drastically now. It is more dry. Barren mountains with loose rocks. Stuff that you would expect in Lahaul and Spiti.

From Earning My Quarter Mile
From Earning My Quarter Mile
From Earning My Quarter Mile

Around 4 pm. Came across the biggest stream to be crossed. Scared the hell out of me. Didn’t want to get wet. Went for the big dip straight in and pushed my luck to its limit. Thankfully, the legs were held high like in an orgasm. I was still dry. And suddenly, without warning, the bike slipped. my third fall for the day. I didn’t quite realized what happened till I stepped on the road. It was frozen ice. Zero grip for my trekking shoes. I can only imaging what happens to my tyres. I try to balance the bike and speed up to 3 kmph. Fourth fall. I literally push the bike somehow. Fifth fall. It lasted only 50 metres but in my head it was more than a year. Like a baby learning to take its first steps. And I didn’t learn properly. Thank god for that!

Pang was nearby. Got a tent. For 50 bucks. Had nothing to do for the rest of the day. So just sat around gathering my thoughts. Watching people. Talking to truck drivers. It was unusual. Having nothing to do. Then it became even more unusual. This was the coldest night I have spent. In life. People around me were shivering. I was almost dying. My bones were shivering. I didn’t sleep a wink. It was so cold I couldn’t reach out my hand to grab the diamox in my bag. Couln’t get up to get some water. Very very cold. But eventually it passed. I was alive.

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Comments
2 Responses to “Day 11 – Keylong to Pang”
  1. Those our great pictures taken in a equally grand landscape.Thanks for enriching us with your experience.We would be obliged if you could let us use your post for My Himachal (http://himachal.us/) as a travel post.Have a nice and safe journey

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