Are you looking for adventure ? Here is one of my most memorable experiences in words and pictures.
I had walked, I had cycled, I had driven 4 wheels – In words, the last decade had given me enough adventure here on these roads. But this time it was very special as we were on a trip not just for adventure but also for a Charity. Charity for Kids who need special care.
A team of five, Me, Asheesh, Prashant, Leo and Ted were ready to take this challenge for a few days, especially for the kids and their family who take this challenge almost every day.
Day came close and we were set for this adventure in the small Himalayan hill station of Manali, I was already there, Prashant, Lio and Ted came from Leads – UK, for this adventure and Asheesh joined a day later.
Challenge started from day one itself, we needed permission to cross first high pass – Rothang and Tuesday it remains closed for maintenance, so we have to cross that place in very early morning or have to wait till next day. We were up by 4:00 am to start and cross the first check post before 6:30 am. It had to be done or you won’t be allowed later.
The previous day, the weather was a bit rainy and dark cool in the morning. We were a little scared to drive on the single lane road with lots of hairpin bands to welcome us into the world of adventure. Few 50 kms were tough especially in the dark. But it was worth being on top of the Rothang pass in early morning to see sunrise. Complaint of waking up early went off in air and we really enjoyed out time on top of Rothang pass almost 4000 meters where air was thin to breath.
Our real challenge was about to start, road from there to Leh was going to give us all opportunities for adventure. On this road you cross few of the world’s best heighted motorable places in the world, to start with Rothang La (3950 meters), Baralach La (4850 meters), Leachung La (5000 meters), Nakee La (5000 meters), Taghlang La (5360 meters), Chang La (5340 meters) and last but not the least Khardung La, which claims to be the highest motorable road in the world, stands 5600 meters. There are the giant stones and there are almost no roads, either you ride in mud, dust or rough terrain to no terrain, landslides, random water streams are added challenges in your this himalayan adventure. Every meter you have to take care, tiring is not allowed.
Before taking this adventure, one has to check their bike, make sure your bike is enough powerful to run and take load on these tough roads, new bikes are preferred so you don’t run into issues. We used Royal Enfield for this expedition. Getting fuel is not possible after place call Tandi near Keylong, get extra fuel. You must know basic repairs of bike and mainly puncture. Food and temporary Dhabas are almost everywhere after 50-80 kms. We had our own camping gears to camp for the stay which was additional fun. This is just not a fun trip, it’s a full mountain biking expedition and to be taken serious. Keep your medical kit handy, take doctors advise before taking such adventure in mountains.
Last but not least, apart from these all, pack some sense of humour, curiosity to learn new things and respect for nature and local culture. In clear words this place is not for those who have a soft heart.