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Old 1st June 2011, 16:39   #46
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

So, the day-by-day log starts. Hats off to your family and especially the little one, for being such a sport.

The maps will be of immense help for future trips. Thanks for sharing them.
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Old 1st June 2011, 17:52   #47
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

So with the printer among the luggae, maps still not printed - thought of doing that at Jispa, we moved forward to Leh.
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The weather was perfect as it could be, we crossed Rhotang in no time and with no snow and roads okay as it would be over there, we did not stop there for photograph.
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But the first drama turn of the event happened at Koksar. At the eatery there, I chanced to ask the a local sumo driver about Chandrataal's condition and with great surprise hear that the track, even in October has no snow, but would be very desolate and told me to come back by evening as weather change anytime now. This was it, we had to go to Chandrataal - missed it during our HP tour in mid October.

at Koksar, and the u-turn
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So, turning back and we are soon on the Gramphoo-Kaza Road towards Batal, Lahaul district.

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Gramphoo-Kaza road is a track but no one's complaining with the vistas all around
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At Batal, asked the Batal dhaba owner, he too said "go but come back, things are unpredictable", And then the T-turn comes. One goes to Kaza, the other to Chandrataal
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and we know where we are heading, on the Chadrataal track
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contd...

Last edited by adc : 1st June 2011 at 18:21.
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Old 1st June 2011, 18:58   #48
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

Among all the most "chap" i.e. tension roads that I have driven till now, I recall Eagle Nest snow forest track on the Western Arunachal trip, a backup drive on the iced Zoji la and this. It is a road where a moment concentration loss or error in judgement will be the end. Particularly with a wide-track Safari and with October snow melt/stream water on tracks a couple of times, the front wheel was pointing somewhere and the rear was sliding elsewhere. One area is particularly narrow for a Safari, one just about goes through with just enough space for the outer tyres, returning back on this track late evening had me worried, but then Chandertaal was calling.

Towards Chandertaal
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Chandertaal was desolate, no one was there, this is becoming too much of an journey. Thinking what to do, to go or not, we decided to let's see for sometime. One has to walk 3 km, as being a bio-reserve, it is allowed to drive till lake and thats a great decision and rule.
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But then, something wonderful happened and out of nowhere came out a person, God-send almost. We were stressing ourselves from the first day in heights and with no acclimatization, son first gave up. I carried him for some distance and soon it was too much for all 21 kg that he was at that first day in the heights.

And lo behold, out came from nowhere a local person. Now this gentleman, is the person, employed by Lahaul Spiti administration to pick up all the plastic that unmindful tourists leave behind and also he cuts the road so that no one, enters Chandertaal in October. And the best part, he is paid till September to do this, but he was voluntarily doing it at this late hour just for the love of the mountains and the revered lake.

He comes one or twice a week, was returning to Batal, but requested him to accompany us, said we wont have an opportunity again and he for a fee, which was absolutely justified, went again towards the lake. As we say, the day he came and we went there, he was God-sent and the miracles haven't ended yet!

Miracle #1, the local whom we absolutely unexpectedly met at desolate Chandertaal
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And the trek continued among some fantastic vistas, all tiredness was lost.
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And then the first view of the Lake
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contd..

Last edited by adc : 1st June 2011 at 19:25.
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Old 1st June 2011, 19:38   #49
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

At Chandertaal

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Miracle #2 - son was superb hungry after all the exercise, the snacks/fruits was left in the Safari - and suddenly the local emerges with some apples, left at the Chandertaal shrine by pilgrims.

We all were hungry, but the apples was what we had over there, again most unexpectedly.
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Not much time we spent there, though wanted to go around the perimeter of the lake - but the shadows were growing longer. A return at least to Batal has to be made in daylight
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contd..

Last edited by adc : 1st June 2011 at 19:42.
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Old 1st June 2011, 19:56   #50
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

ADC,

Fanstastic pictures and travelogue - rated it *****. Great to see the same wanderlust in a fellow Bong :-) - but then again, most Bengalis are suffer from that.

Would be great to meet up when I go to Cal next, if you are game.

Question: what do you do to diesel when you travel to such high altitudes? I know the high altitude fuel stations add suitable anti freeze additives, but anything else?

One feedback: you have brilliant pictures, do not put that double lined outline as I feel that it spoils the impact.
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Old 2nd June 2011, 01:26   #51
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

And so begins the trek from Chandertaal back to the Safari VTT
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One could almost feel the tension in the faces, after that just about Chandertaal track drive in late evening, October, 2010
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Super cold night at Chota Dhara, and on moonless night, tried for the first time star trails - Tanveer can be blamed for making us all crazy with those fantastic star trails
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Last edited by adc : 2nd June 2011 at 01:55.
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Old 2nd June 2011, 10:55   #52
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

Oct 7, 2010, from Chotta Dhara to Jispa.

After a very eventful day at Chandrataal and night rest at the very basic but great located PWD Chota Dhara, it was time we go back on towards Leh.

Early morning at Chota Dhara and we left thanking the caretaker for accommodating us late in the night yesterday
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With the weather perfect, enjoyed the last signs of greens in Lahaul district
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Puncture #1 - And then it happened. Full my fault, was looking here and there while driving and did not notice the sharp rock, the front tyre goes over it, it ricochets and with that velocity it rips apart the back tyre, a 10-month old A/T tyre is gone.
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This video was taken by wife, just a remembrance of how son chipped in to change the tyre along with me, as the best way he could. He was moving around with his toy pistol to shoot any sharp rocks he sees on the road



At that height, with still acclimatization a suspect, and a Safari tyre, slowly set on changing it. It took more than 1 hour, but I was taking breaks, roaming around, which also included a chat with a French cyclist.
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Driving to Gramphoo, they patched up the tyre as well as possible, but it was still a suspect with a bulge, anyway that became the spare tyre, and the tubed extra tyre became the main left rear tyre. So we were now on 3 tubeless and one tubed tyre.

And we were off to Jispa, slow and relaxed, we were staying there and it was hardly some 30 km from here Tandi
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At Jispa we stayed at the PWD one, empty at this off season and evening we went off to riverside Bhaga for just some relaxation.
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As VTT-TMT enjoyed the evening too, I was glad that we could give it on its 3rd birthday what it wanted for so long, a drive to Leh and beyond on the Manali Road.
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Tomorrow is the day of the big vistas, all the way to Leh.


contd..

Last edited by adc : 2nd June 2011 at 11:10.
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Old 2nd June 2011, 11:00   #53
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Default Re: Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oc

Great TL, awesome pictures. Hats off to you, the kid and ur wife.
I have been harbouring the desire to drive to ladakh; after going through your TL the desire is rekindled, i feel i cannot delay it more and it has to happen soon
Btw, as i plan to take along my kid who is around 8 years, i would request your advise on the special do's and dont's in this context.

Wating for further details of your trip

NH
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Old 2nd June 2011, 11:37   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saurabh M View Post
So, the day-by-day log starts. Hats off to your family and especially the little one, for being such a sport.

The maps will be of immense help for future trips. Thanks for sharing them.
Thanks much, and both son and safari Vtt-tmt taking the journey and the situations in their stride made this travel a perfect one, even though we over-ran the days.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nilanjanray View Post
ADC,

Fanstastic pictures and travelogue - rated it *****. Great to see the same wanderlust in a fellow Bong :-) - but then again, most Bengalis are suffer from that.

Would be great to meet up when I go to Cal next, if you are game.

Question: what do you do to diesel when you travel to such high altitudes? I know the high altitude fuel stations add suitable anti freeze additives, but anything else?

One feedback: you have brilliant pictures, do not put that double lined outline as I feel that it spoils the impact.

Absolutely, sending a PM right now.

Previous travelogues did not have that boundary, thought giving those helped to put in a frame, but no new ones converted are being given. However, most of the images that are converted have those, so please bear with them - but no new one being framed with those double lines.


We did not take any anti freeze, the only solution was just to run the VTT from early morning in cold areas and covering the radiator and engine with an old blanket. I was more worried about the battery, it being a 3-year-old one and what came as stock.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Night_Hawk View Post
Great TL, awesome pictures. Hats off to you, the kid and ur wife.
I have been harbouring the desire to drive to ladakh; after going through your TL the desire is rekindled, i feel i cannot delay it more and it has to happen soon
Btw, as i plan to take along my kid who is around 8 years, i would request your advise on the special do's and dont's in this context.

Wating for further details of your trip

NH
Absolutely do go when you get the chance.

An 8-year-old kid should take the travel absolutely okay, until and unless he has altitude sickness and that affects all ages. If he has alitude sickness, just move up the heights slowly and dont stay at height places like Sarchu and like. Other than that I dont see any other issues, of course your kid should be looking forward to the travel too!

Last edited by adc : 2nd June 2011 at 11:43.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 00:21   #55
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Sir, 'Hum bilkul sir jhukakar salaam karteen hain' great simply great road trip. This simple writeup of your very courageous trip with your family is a motivator of an magnitude that i think you yourself may not be fully aware of!! the things we can do if we put our minds and body to ..(Sorry mods!! I know the queens language is the preferred mode of communication but certain things can be best communicated in the matra bhasha).
Waiting for the rest of the adventure to unwind..
Manmohan.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 08:32   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
We did not take any anti freeze, the only solution was just to run the VTT from early morning in cold areas and covering the radiator and engine with an old blanket. I was more worried about the battery, it being a 3-year-old one and what came as stock.
Im quite worried about my battery too.. its 3.5 years old. No problems yet, Its still working fine but im unsure if i should take a chance with it on my trip.
And how dyu cover the engine.. Do you just put a blanket on the engine and radiator and shut the bonnet ??

Does it really help?

The sign board says no camping 500 mts from the Chandertal lake? Is that strictly enforced? Can we no camp 100 mts from the lake?

Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 3rd June 2011 at 08:38.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 13:47   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manmohanmaan View Post
Waiting for the rest of the adventure to unwind..
Manmohan.
Thanks for those overwhelming words, will be continuing soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaysmokesleaves View Post
Im quite worried about my battery too.. its 3.5 years old. No problems yet, Its still working fine but im unsure if i should take a chance with it on my trip.
Since you start on the Safari only as you return back to country and as it starts perfectly, no need to worry. But still if possible, do check the cells with the service centre with general checking


Quote:
And how dyu cover the engine.. Do you just put a blanket on the engine and radiator and shut the bonnet ??
It does help, another thing is to park in such a way so that direct wind is not impacted. i.e., park in such a way so that it is behind or beside a wall/obstacle.

Another thing that was done was with the blanket on the engine, the engine was run for 15-20 mts, so that heat generated is more and stays too for a long time, but be careful to make sure that no loose ends of the blanket is touching the fans[!].


Here at Tso Moriri and extra-cold Koyoul




But if you are going around July to mid Sept, I dont think this will be necessary that much, temperatures are not that low.


Quote:
The sign board says no camping 500 mts from the Chandertal lake? Is that strictly enforced? Can we no camp 100 mts from the lake?
Dont know about this, most probably you would find some of these locals employed to keep a watch or something but not sure what happens in season times. During October, whatever you did or whatever would have become of you, no one would notice soon enough.

BTW really hope you [almost made it with you last year] and Sutripta-da make it happen this time - both you have been fighting with the Leh trip luck for long!

Last edited by adc : 3rd June 2011 at 13:49.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 15:03   #58
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ADC Sir, absolute gem of a travelogue. I wish tbhp had 7 star rating option! The snaps are superb and the wealth of info you have provided with all the maps and route details is fantastic. Cannot imagine doing such a trip, but you have definitely inspired hellova lot.
Congrats to you and your family and ofcourse to your Safari.

I am going to sit and read all your previous travelogues aswell.

Keep going

Rgds
VW
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Old 4th June 2011, 08:34   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
During October, whatever you did or whatever would have become of you, no one would notice soon enough.
Certainly inspiring words. Makes me wish, October happened in August
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Old 4th June 2011, 10:15   #60
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Outstanding pictures and nice writeup! The tlog is going to be a useful reference for all who want to avoid the seasonal madness at popular tourist destinations.
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