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Old 10th June 2013, 14:22   #136
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 10: Whisky Nullah [15,600 ft] - Lachung la [16,800 ft] - Pang [14,800 ft] : 32 km ...contd..


Quote:
At around 15,000 feet height, the gorges of Pang is an amphitheater of rock and sand, where the landscape bears testimony to the awesome power of nature to alter the form of the hardest stone. Its cliffs are honeycombed with caves, and eroded by wind and extremes of temperature into fantastic spires and pinnacles, which remind some world travelers of a mini-Grand Canyon.

It is also like the Mackenna’s Gold landscape, a slice of Hollywood’s Arizona transplanted into Ladakh; a long winding gorge, with the road paralleling the river, bounded by vertical, towering mountain on either side.
Entering the Pang gorge, a symphony of curious rock formations and an afternoon sunshine. I stop often, it is a slow motion, absolutely lone ride through an extreme landscape.
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The Kangla Jal area used to be a notorious gravel stream/water crossing point; not a problem area any more with better construction of the road over here.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang52a.jpg


And then I see from a distance that famous archway of Pang, a natural sculpted tunnel crafted by years and years of blasting winds.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang54.jpg


Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang55.jpg



Now I have a pre-determined plan over here. Oct 2010, during our Ladakh Changthang family drive, had a brief thought of having a group picture over here inside the tunnel - a silhouette kind image of 3 of us together!! That did not materialize as we were late on the drive journey to Leh and still had Tanglang la to cross before dusk, which we barely managed to by 6 pm. We though promise to do it one day in another journey.


But then in this solo journey with the Pang dhaba stop soon coming up , there is no such hurry. Lie down the cycle, position the camera at some distance over the rocks so that all of the tunnel comes into view, put it on the self timer of max 30 secs as possible..
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang56.jpg



..followed by a furious run to position exactly underneath the tunnel archway before the shutter snaps
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang80.jpg


A couple of attempts - one of all time favourite self pics on this tour, an eerie silhouette in the weird Pang tunnel archway at 15,000 feet on Sept 30, 2012, at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang79a.jpg


Done that and hugely satisfied with this antic, it is now time move on towards the dhaba stop of Pang. It was past 2:30 pm, stopped quite a few times in this slow ride through the magnificent gorges of Pang. The unique landscape still continues though - as the gorge ends, the hoodoos of Pang come up.

contd...

Last edited by adc : 10th June 2013 at 14:43.
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Old 10th June 2013, 15:58   #137
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 10: Whisky Nullah [15,600 ft] - Lachung la [16,800 ft] - Pang [14,800 ft] : 32 km ...contd..


After that activity, on towards the Pang dhaba/Army base
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang57.jpg


As the gorge/canyon of Pang ends, cycle and I emerge into a bizzarely convoluted river gully with pinnacles and spires known as hoodoos high up along the scree that descend down to the river.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang62.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang59.jpg


From Oct 2010 drive, this image of the Pang river gully of pinnacles and spires.
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Strange rock formations and bitingly cold even in this afternoon sun.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang60.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang61.jpg



Bizarre hoodoos and turrets sculpted by the wind, that line up the river valley.
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and close shot of those.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang64.jpg




A last look at the gorge and the canyon of Pang....
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as after an hour or so of a deliberate slow ride at around 3:30 pm, I now see at a distance the Pang dhaba camps.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang70.jpg


contd...

Last edited by adc : 10th June 2013 at 16:20.
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Old 10th June 2013, 19:32   #138
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 10: Whisky Nullah [15,600 ft] - Lachung la [16,800 ft] - Pang [14,800 ft] : 32 km


After the gorge and hoodoos of Pang, comes the dhaba parachute tents. Between Sarchu and Tanglang la, this is a semi-major halt for travellers - a short stopover for quick bite and refreshments before hurrying towards the high pass of Tanglang la to Leh . Acommodation is also available for the those who are late in coming and as such are forced to stop - those who do not want to cross the high pass through the darkness of night.

But then on a bicycle I was in no hurry. Pang was deliberately chosen as a halt point as I wanted to experience the Pang canyon and rock formations. As such after a slow ride and only by around 4:15 pm. Crossing the "Shamsher Bridge" towards Pang dhaba stop. There is also an Army transit camp over here. A first aid camp is also run for those who are having AMS due to the 15000 ft height of Pang.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang81.jpg




Among all the accommodation, I move on to the last in the line as this had a brick structure as well as a parachute tent for extra guests. Sonam Pangri dhaba at Pang is run by a lovely daughter and mother duo. At this off season, being the only guest till then I take up a bed for the night stay.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang72.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang73.jpg

Lemon tea has been the drink at the start and end of a ride day - double cups of lemon tea gulped down for refreshment.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang71.jpg



And what follows next was a most pleasant yet unexpected experience. By September the rush of the tourist season is over. And with a good season, people are more relaxed - there are hardly any guests coming up at end September and even lesser making a halt and staying for a night here at Pang. As I finish up my cups of lemon tea, an impromptu local song and dance starts among the local people gathered at the dhaba.

All video printscreen images as the available light was too low to freeze the frame. The lady owner of Sonam Pangri is seen at the near end with her daughter at the far end.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang82.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang8.jpg


A hugely joyous mood is prevailing here, what a pleasant surprise and experience - Ladakhi song and dance as music is played through the sound deck.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang83.jpg



I was content with recording this unique joyous moments - and when asked to join, I do so without much hesitation. Till now it had been a hugely satisfying journey for me and all the local interactions have only enriched it further. A few zombie kind of steps for a minute or so, not at all in unision with what all have been doing... Again all video print screen images
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Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang9.jpg



End September, Pang is very cold, but this dhaba [and the only one over here] has its own permanent structure - as such the coldness does permaate much lesser inside than the parachute tents. Early dinner and off to my designated bed by around 7:30 pm. Soon fall asleep - what a beautiful and contending bicycle ride and travel day it has been in these high moutains.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-pang74.jpg



Each and every day on this journey has been special and memorable, so too should be tomorrow as the bicycle travel now goes on to the briliant More plains. The plan now is to take a short diversion off this iconic road - to branch off of it just before Debring and camp for a night beside the Tso Kar Lake.



contd...
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Old 10th June 2013, 22:12   #139
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Great travelling experiences you had Adc. It must be great experience doing it all alone. What an endurance!!!!

Above all appriciate your efforts & time taken to share this wonderful, adventurous journey with all of us. Hats off to you.

Thanks a lot for sharing.

regards,
Manjunath
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Old 11th June 2013, 16:45   #140
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 11: Pang - More plains - to Tashi dhaba 2 km before Debring [15,000 ft]: 42 km approx

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-fullscreen-capture-11062013-120348.jpg



The first day of October of year 2012, super cold in the morning but then then it should be an eventful day today too. The plan - another brilliant bicycle ride along the magnificent More plains and to end the day with a camping right beside the Tso Kar lake. Around 64 km of cycling was planned today, the ride after the uphill of 6 or so km from Pang, would take to around 15,000 feet for the rest of the day.


Early morning rise and a quick breakfast at Sonam Pangri of Pang, a goodbye to these wonderful people, I move out by around 8 am. The first 6-7 km is the incline as one goes up towards the More plains.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring44.jpg


The climb again typical, slow as the road slowly winds upwards towards the plains. The dhabas and the Army camp and an overview of the Pang gorges can be seen.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring45.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring46.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring48.jpg



Again the views fantastic, a panoramic as well as close up views of the mountains around as the road climbs up from Pang.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring66.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring57.jpg



Most probably this is river Toze Chu seen on the other side from the top of Pang.
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Sumkhel Lungpa river and gorge turrets as seen from top of Pang road. A track leads a high altitude trek towards Tso Moriri from here.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring59.jpg


I got a better pic of this magnificient view on our Oct 2010 travel. [Erroneously it has been put in post 137, this image should be out here]




Quote:
The crossing of another two rivers near their confluence brings the road out onto the Morey Plain. This seemingly waterless basic, for or five kilometers across and over 40 in length, undulating at an average level of 4700 meters, seems to offer no possibilities of supporting life. Nevertheless, some Chang-pa do occasionally set up camp there, as a base for reaching pastures towards the top of the neighboring side valleys. Even more surprisingly, a lucky few of those crossing it may be able to spot wildlife; mainly in the form of marmots, mountain-dwelling rodents about the size of a beaver, whose luxuriant fur and clumsy seeming gait are belied by the ease and completeness with which they can disappear into their burrows, and frustrate any attempt to examine them more closely; or sometimes the occasional heard of fleet-footed kyang, the Tibetan wild ass. --- Ladakh - Crossroads of High Asia, by Janet Rizvi
A final loop and gaining height and a turn to left brings up to the start of More plains.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring58.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring67.jpg



Manali -Leh highway is iconic for many a reason. From the gorge and hoodoos of Pang, this highway now enters this magnificent land surrounded by distant mountains as far as one can see.

Welcome to More plains - and I intend to experience it fully on a slow cycling ride on this amazing land at 15,000 feet - October 1, 2012.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring11.jpg


contd...

Last edited by adc : 11th June 2013 at 16:59.
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Old 11th June 2013, 17:24   #141
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

This travelogue is the most amazing one I have read in a very long time.

Probably exaggerating a little too much, but the amazement reading this travelogue is somewhat comparable to the "Mother of ALL Travelogues". The - http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...hi-to-Kinshasa

Awesome experience and adventure.
Please continue.
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Old 11th June 2013, 18:23   #142
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 11: Pang - More plains - to Tashi dhaba - 2 km before Debring [15,000 ft]: ...contd.


Though flat as seen and felt while driving or motorbiking, but on a bicycle one can feel the slight small ups and downs as the road continues to towards Debring, the base of the uphill ride to the mountain pass of Tanglang la. The road and culverts were being made in Oct 2010 drive and as such we had to go down to the side tracks, but now find this super tarred road for a smooth ride to start with on the More plains.



Over the next 3 hours or so I stop so often, this brilliant land mesmerizes me on a more lasting level than the last zip drive over this land by Safari.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring72.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring4.jpg

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More plains, an extension of the Changthang plateau of Tibet and adjoining Ladakh, is also a grazing ground for the nomadic Khampa tribe. I stop over here too, as I see a nomad grazing his herd of sheep.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring5.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring7.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring6.jpg




And my bicycling ride continues to the other end of More plains.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring15.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring16.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring69.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring71.jpg



contd...

Last edited by adc : 11th June 2013 at 18:44.
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Old 11th June 2013, 20:01   #143
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 11: Pang - More plains - to Tashi dhaba - 2 km before Debring [15,000 ft]: ...contd.


The black tarred road after sometime gave way to..
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring61.jpg


Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring19.jpg


..gravel and sand as this section of road was still under construction.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring3.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring20.jpg



But then I am not complaining, the views still fabulous and magnificent.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring30.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring26.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring31.jpg



At this far end of More plains, I see a road construction labour camp of BRO.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring22.jpg



As I stop and click, I chat up with some of them. This group is mostly from the Massanjore-Dumka border area of W Bengal and Jharkhand. A lively talk follows with them. Take down their address and have promised to give them these photos if I go towards the Massanjore dam side - most probably this monsoon or winter time.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring24.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring25.jpg

And these images do also bring back memories of this incident from that October 2010 travel of Ladakh and Changthang.

Quote:
- from http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...t-10-a-10.html (Self-Drive Expedition Travel-Ladakh and cold desert Changthang in "off-season" Oct 10)

.... But then just as we crossed the Nyoma BRO camp, we had a flat, as described before. As I again went about the fully tiresome process of changing a Safari tyre with the stock equipment, the local labourers came up and lend me a hand. These people from all different states were looking forward to their return journey back to their wives and children as they left to be earn some living here.

It was humanity at its best and they all obliged for a photo for us to keep them framed and we remember their selflessness every time. All places that we have travelled, we have met the real common people everywhere and have got the best of support from them, here it was no exception.










The high altitude BRO labour camp at More plains. The brilliant setting of the camp somehow is both ironic and contradictory and belies their work condition among toxic fumes and the cold harsh weather at 15,000 feet of More plains.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring23.jpg



After that stop, the cycling continues along the gravel track towards Debring for Tso Kar diversion.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring27.jpg


contd...

Last edited by adc : 11th June 2013 at 20:17.
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Old 11th June 2013, 21:24   #144
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 11: Pang - More plains - to Tashi dhaba - 2 km before Debring [15,000 ft] ....contd.


After some 40 odd kilometers and some 3 hours later, I see parachute tents at a distance. Had some contradictory information as to whether they were still there at this month of October. The plan still was to have lunch over here and then take the diversion off to Tso Kar. Enough time was still there to continue and camp at the Lake.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring29.jpg


There were two parachute tents were over. One had already closed down and the other, Tashi dhaba [the one with the Tata pickup in front], still open for the odd trucker or even more less for a traveller.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring34.jpg


This tent is located some kms before Debring, opposite to a shortcut track to Tso Kar but it goes through some sand areas.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring32.jpg



Super cold outside with big crosswinds picking up again from afternoon, I park the cycle inside and have a double bowl of maggi and of course tea.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring35.jpg


Now again something unexpected happened. Tashi dhaba is run by father and son duo. The son also owns the Tata mobile pickup and is used for rent mostly around Tso Kar and Leh area.

As I was finishing off the meal to head off towards Tso Kar, the father-son duo and along with a helper of continue with their game of card, which was briefly interrupted as my maggi meal was being cooked. I do think hard now, whether to go and find out a place and camp at Tso Kar or stay over here spend the night out here and leisurely see around Tso Kar tomorrow. With the break and hot maggi and tea, the day's objective to go towards Tso Kar was abandoned, more so with the animated card game ongoing.


And considering the coldness outside along with howling wind that has picked up again, and with the evening soon approaching, I join them in this card game, a rummy derivative. Another brilliant experience, a game of cards near Debring at 15,000 feet and do win quite a few rounds! The son and father are seen at the opposite ends and the helper in between.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring38.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring36.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring37.jpg




Later in the evening as a temporary fireplace is lit, we discuss many a varied things, from 4wd travel of Tata mobile to distant lands over here to travel with horses as the owner-father do have a few of them too, to this and that.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring39.jpg

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An early dinner and by 8 pm, it is time for bed located at the back side of the tent.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring40.jpg


We all soon fall asleep, as the owner-father of Tashi dhaba chanted his prayers before going to bed. A video printscreen shot.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring41.jpg



A brilliant day again, varied experiences again and though I had intended and could have ended the day at Tso Kar itself, I do cherish this day spent over here at this local tent/dhaba - the card game, all those discussions about distant lands and their way of life and of course their shelter and food in this "off-season" month of October.


contd...

Last edited by adc : 11th June 2013 at 21:52.
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Old 11th June 2013, 22:15   #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
The black tarred road after sometime gave way to..
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-debring20.jpg

This was the condition of Morey planes (add enough water to it) for at least few kilometers in 2006. Here and there one could see some temporary boards saying sinking grounds. Remember driving Gypsy with 4 wheel low and second gear all through without allowing it to slow down.
It was more of a drifting on one foot muddy sinking ground with heart in my mouth.

NOTE: Did you shoot all the pics as JPEG? I've added a bit of tone as how it should be under super clear October light.
Without asking you of course. My sincere apology.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 12th June 2013 at 07:56.
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Old 12th June 2013, 12:19   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
[ATTACH]
NOTE: Did you shoot all the pics as JPEG? I've added a bit of tone as how it should be under super clear October light.

Arre Rudra-da it is an honour to have you on this thread!

Yes, almost all of the pics after Pang were now in JPEG now as the cards were again almost full since the last transfer for images at Sarchu - was on the last of the cards by that day and with still 2 days to go for Leh. With videos taking up much of space, the RAW option was skipped after Pang.

I am furiously converting all the varied images as possible through Picasa and Nik Viveza through S tone and curve before the 15-day trial is over. That image was posted as it came out from camera as thought that would be an inconsequential sand track shot.

But indeed it would be like that with the golden hue predominating.

Last edited by adc : 12th June 2013 at 12:39.
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Old 12th June 2013, 18:43   #147
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

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Originally Posted by sen2009 View Post
Probably exaggerating a little too much, but the amazement reading this travelogue is somewhat comparable to the "Mother of ALL Travelogues". The - http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...hi-to-Kinshasa
That is quite a sweeping statement. I went through first few pages of that Congo travelogue. It had only two themes. How they kept getting stuck in mud and had to dig to get their LC out and second there is too much corruption in Congo, official as well as un-official. It hardly had any pictures of the landscape describing its beauty or any great bits encouraging others to undertake such a journey. It was more like how one could survive in adverse and hostile conditions.

ADC, sorry for going OT, but couldn't resist. Please continue your excellent and memorable travelogue.
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Old 12th June 2013, 19:04   #148
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 12: Tashi dhaba -Tso Kar [15,000 ft] : Approx 25 km

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tso-kar-camping.jpg


A late and leisurely start unlike other days, as readers would recall that today's journey was in fact a continuation of yesterday's one, which got abruptly truncated over here at Tashi dhaba of Debring.



As would be seen from the wikimapia image, Tashi Dhaba is actually located a few kms before the Y junction i.e., the branch off road [the orange one ] towards Tso Kar from the Manali Leh Highway. However from Tashi dhaba to connect to the tarred road [the orange line coloured line], one has to cross sandy areas which did take some time by bicycle as was getting frequently bogged down.
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Taking the short cut and on towards the tarred road of Tso Kar.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar39.jpg


And a look back from when the day's journey started. Tashi dhaba faintly seen from the distance.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar40.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar42.jpg



To connect back to the tarred road that connects Debring of the highway to Tso Kar.
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A luxury resort camp seen at a distance, though looked like it has shut down for the season.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar44.jpg



Also at a distance see some Kiyangs, found abundantly in the Changthang region of Ladakh
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar45.jpg

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As for Kiyangs, this remains one of our favourite shots from October 2010 travel - as they dart from one side to the other of the Loma-Hanle road.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-kiyang-hanle.jpg





September month has turned the marshy grass yellow
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar50.jpg




and then this dog moves along me as I cycle on towards the Tso Kar village.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar51.jpg




and we both soon arrive at the tiny village of Tso Kar.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar52.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar53.jpg





The first most important task here was to find out the DSPT phone [Digital Satellite Phone Terminal ] and call back home, it has been around 5 days since the last call from Darcha. Again grateful to the two guys who I met en route, who called back Asmita to say that things are okay and I am progressing well.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar54.jpg




And then for the noon meal of Maggi and tea, go off to the single dhaba at Tso Kar. Bed is also available here and could have stayed out for the night, but then overnight camping beside the Lake was the main agenda for today.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar56.jpg



Meal over, it is now time to go ahead and leave the village, to find a suitable place by the Lake and pitch the tent.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar60.jpg




contd...

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Old 12th June 2013, 20:35   #149
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

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Originally Posted by shipnil View Post
That is quite a sweeping statement.....
I referred to that story to just compare the spirit, courage and "never say quit" attitude - that is reflected in this travelogue as well.

However, I have to agree with your feeling about that thread. Belgians had colonized that country, sucked all its wealth till it was easy to come, and then abandoned it to rot.

One can refer to this link to understand how bad it actually was -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congo_F...ate#Mutilation

Now, two Belgian travelers go on and on about the corruption, the mud, the greedy cops, the "black uncivilized" people.

In one particular post, they go as far as to say -

Quote:
We had the feeling that they were focussing on us, not only because we were in a vehicle, but because of our skin color. Did a white person do something wrong here? Where they trying to seek vengeance?
- http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...780#post737780
Good question to ask to people they have sucked blood out of for hundreds of years.

As a citizen of a country which was equally looted by white skin colonists, I cannot stand their analysis of corruption and greed any better than any other Indian.

It riled me up as much as it did you.

However, politics apart, those two travelers did undertake some serious risk and also did manage to push on against surmounting odds. That's what I found interesting in that story.


And, to end, I take back the statement about "Mother of all travelogues".


Quote:
End of Please continue with this awesome story.

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Old 13th June 2013, 09:19   #150
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Default Re: Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit

Day 12: Tashi dhaba -Tso Kar [15,000 ft] : contd...


Quote:
The Tso Kar or Tsho kar, known for its size and depth, is a fluctuating salt lake situated in Rapshu in the southern part of Ladakh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Tso Kar is connected by an inlet stream at its south-west end to a small lake, Startsapuk Tso, and together they form the 9 km2 More plains pool, which is dominated by the peaks of two mountains, Thugje (6050 m) and Gursan (6370 m). From the geology of the More Plains, it can be concluded that the Tso Kar in historical times ranged up to this high valley. Until a few years ago the lake was an important source of salt, which the Changpa nomads used to export to Tibet. The nomadic settlement of Thugje is located 3 km in the north.


Due to the salinity of the Tso Kar, most of the resident fauna is found in its tributaries and in Startsapuk Tso. There are large breeding colonies of grebes and Brown-headed gulls, and some Strip geese, rust geese and terns. In the vicinity of the lake Black-necked Cranes and Tibetan grouse are relatively common. The basin of the Tso Kar and the adjoining More Plains constitute one of the most important habitats of the kiang, Tibetan gazelles, Tibetan wolves and foxes; there are steppe marmots in the higher reaches. Yaks and horses are kept by the nomads. ---Wikipedia
As I was scouting for a flat spot to pitch the tent, I come across another cyclist coming from Tso Moriri side and going towards More plain. Do not remember the nationality but do recall telling him how good he was dressed for on this bicycling ride on this rough land, matching jacket and panniers colours to perfection!
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar57.jpg



The banks is mostly marshy and sloping ahead. Found this just enough flat area to pitch the tent, and soon done.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar58.jpg



The worry for the stability of the tent was the ever-present strong crosswind. At a distance even a big whirlpool is seen.
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Kept all the luggage in the tent, and they went out to explore near the banks as possible.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar2.jpg

Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar91.jpg



Went up to the road again - it leads towards Tso Moriri eventually after crossing Polakongka la.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar92.jpg


For me my excursion today is limited over here, find a spot and just while away time beside the lake. It is quite marshy thus the Lake was still some distance away.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar93.jpg



Brahminy ducks were there in plenty but no black cranes.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar18.jpg

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Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar22.jpg



After more than a hour spent along the Lake, and around 4 pm now, it is now time to head back to the Tso Kar village dhaba for an early evening meal.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar5.jpg


and crossing the tent again, as I pass by -- glad to see it still standing!
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar6.jpg


At Tso Kar village again, the gompa can be seen on the mountain side.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar26.jpg


At the dhaba..
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar27.jpg


... and an early evening meal of maggi and tea.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar28.jpg


Evening as approaching fast, and the temperature drop made the coldness even worse. Back to tent.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar29.jpg


Memory cards due to the frequent video and image data were almost full now. The last transfer was at Sarchu where I had opened the laptop tentatively, but then it was okay. Here also at 15,000 feet, the laptop works fine and a couple of cards were emptied.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar30.jpg


Radio was my companion again. Mostly Chinese channels, but locked into one station with old Hindi classics.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar35.jpg


Super super cold, October 2nd night - Even put on the raincoat inside as an extra layer.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tsokar31.jpg



I still venture outside braving the cold - the night amazing as stars lit up the sky, at 9:15 pm on October 2, 2012. Wished had a remote timer to do a basic kind of star trail.
Extreme Expedition - Bicycling Manali-TsoKar-Leh-Khardungla & Stok Kangri summit trek-tso-kar-camping-2.jpg



Done that and shivering from cold, back to the sleeping bag. Soon fall asleep, fully content with another great day of travel. So another day of cycling and just another pass, and Leh is at my doorstep -- now only it had been so smooth. There is a reason why this road is iconic and thus challenging too. And tomorrow I get a full on experience of it, and more also of the temerity to think of the day as "just another day".


contd...

Last edited by adc : 13th June 2013 at 09:40.
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