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|5th October 2009, 11:38||#331|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: UP 16
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|5th October 2009, 16:09||#333|
Join Date: May 2009
Thanked: 8 Times
|5th October 2009, 16:27||#334|
Its september 4th, and a friday. Today we will begin on the last leg of our travel(or what we thought to be the last leg), and go to Zanskar valley.
240kms of pain, from what we had heard from the locals. Getting up early is not an issue, since we just want to get the hell out of here.
Its 8:45am when we are fuelled, and ready to go. FE for the Dha run has been 9.68, slightly lower than expected, but I think my pedal to the metal run on the Hamboting La section had something to do with it.
first step is finding breakfast, but everything is closed, and I do not want to waste the morning hunting for food. Turned out to be a really bad decision, in hindsight.
As we head along the Suru, we expect to find atleast tea at Sankoo, but sadly, no such luck. I think about picking fruits, but then skip the idea. Again, bad decision.
We cross Sankoo, and head towards Panikhar.
The road is bad., Very bad. Very very bad. Infact the road is the worst we have seen on the entire journey.
If it had been a dirt track it would have been okay, but its a rock track.
So slowly crawling we are heading at a snails pace towards Panikhar.
Spot a foreigner couple on a bullet who are stopped. Ask them if they need assistance, well no comes the answer, they have just stopped to put relispray on their backs.
I guess I am not alone in the agony.
I ask them if they spotted food somewhere, again no is the answer, but unlike us, they have been wise enough to buy fruits in Sankoo.
No food for us.
Time to head to Panikhar!
Though the scenery is amazing, clicks are a few. With such roads and hungry stomach, photography is the last thing on my mind!
Its finally at 11:30am we get to Panikhar. Again same story. Not even a tea shop. We reach JKTDC hotel, and ask the guy if he can whip something up.
It will take 1-2 hours says the hotel guy. Clearly, he is not interested in cooking.
Again take a tour of the small town, but no such luck.
Now we are reserved to chips, biscuits and water. We will have food at Rangdum, definitely we will get atleast maggi there!
After Panikhar I finally take out the cam. the views are nice. Nothing too awesome(after what we have seen in Changthang Plateau, but nice)
The last few days of incessant rain has also dumped lots of snow in the peaks, and its cold inspite of being sunny.
Finally Parkachik is here and with it the Parkachik glacier
The time is almost 12:30, and Rangdum seems so far away.
The road has gotten worse, and now there is another problem.
there is mining going on, and people with flags stand on the road.
They wave the red flag, whistle loudly, and the guy "upstairs" stops blasting or drilling or whatever.
If the guy above can't hear, you blow the horn till you get his attention.
The progress is slow, and as if the road is not bad enough, the rocks are also falling;
Finally, its close to 1pm we spot our first stupa, after days. I can't tell you the glee. Stupa means Randum must be near, and this means we will get maggi!
The views remain nice, but the road remains worse. There are rocks, water crossings and what not, and for the second time during the entire trick, I am worried about the continentals
The recent wet weather system has dumped quite a bit of snow everywhere!
The road remains as worse as ever
And the views as awesome
All this is taking a big toll on me. My back aches like hell, and Padum still seems so far away.
Its 2pm when we reach Rangdum, exactly 5 hours since we started, and I just crash at the Dhaba.
This cannot go on.
3 vehicles with trekkers are also at the Dhaba, and they are coming from Padum.
We will eat, talk with them, and decide the next course of action.
A driver change is needed now, whatever we decide, I will sit on the passenger seat, and my wife will do the driving.
But first we eat. The food is pretty bad, but our last meal had been last night. Beggars cannot be choosers.
We are too happy to see food.
So at Rangdum, 120kms from Kargil, and 120kms from Padum, we are at the crossroads. We have come halfway, and we can go either way.
First food, then decision
TO BE CONT.......
|5th October 2009, 16:39||#335|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2007
Thanked: 2,103 Times
Been out of touch for 8 days and a still more Leh travelogues up here on tbhp.
Just browsing through the pics now, will be catching up with the text later on - the pictures are way way superb. Fantastic.
About Kashmir, do tell me you got some info about Gurez and Bangus! Will be on the look out for the Kashmir journey, of course also along with the rest of the travel.
Again thanks for sharing and could connect much to this route as this is what would have been planning if would have done this year.
|5th October 2009, 23:50||#337|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 25 Times
@tsk1979: awesome sense of composition! (main part of photography). Though, I am a learner in photography, your composition makes think twice. Mind blowing. Laterally, you taught me something of light and shadow play in photography. How a good photographer should capture a landscapes is there in details?
Thanks a billion.
@adc: waiting for your your travelogue.
Last edited by Joy : 5th October 2009 at 23:57.
|6th October 2009, 11:46||#339|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 2 Times
TSK, Tanveer, i am sorry that this travelogue is nearing its end, it kept me on toes for a long time and really enjoyed your narration and the fantastic photos. what was the damage on White elephant after the trip, were there some major expenses, please do keep the thread posted and also looking out for details about the lepoard experiences
|6th October 2009, 11:48||#340|
Nearing its end...? Well not exactly, its around 3/4th done.
As for the damages... What damages and what expenses. All the white elephant did was drink fuel at 10.21 average FE. Thats about it.
In Leh I also bought one liter coolant as the bottle was slightly low(not below min mark though).
Apart from that, no expenses, if you do not count the 2 car washes!
|6th October 2009, 12:08||#341|
The bitter taste of Defeat
As we slowly munched the very badly cooked rajma and stuff, and had tea, my back was cursing me.
Even sitting on the bench was a problem.
The heart wanted to go to Padum, but the body was not upto it.
So how to take this decision.
I decided to talk to the taxi drivers, as well as the foreign trekkers.
They showed me pictures of Drang Drung, Padum etc.,
The place seemed good, but nothing exceptional, nothing really out of the world, except for maybe Drang drung. At 35kms away, it was a two hour run.If we go there and come back, we will reach Kargil at midnight.
So the turn back would have to happen now.
The road had defeated my back. So as the taxis left for Kargil, we also started back few minutes later.
I was not on the passenger seat with a hot water bottle.
We had come 120kms in 5 hours, exactly half way.
So goodbye Randum, Goodbye Padum, some other time.
But not all is lost. We have gained 2 days now, and this will not translate to reaching Delhi 2 days early. This will translate to a change in the intenary.
Earlier the plan was this
1. Padum Kargil
2. Kargil Sonmarg
3. Sonmarg Patnitop
4. Patnitop - Punjab
Now we will not stay at Patnitop. We will take diversions. We will go to Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Srinagar, and soak in Kashmir.
So what no Zanskar, we will see heaven instead.
So it was around 2:30pm, when we started back towards the city of darkness - Kargil
Me not driving meant more time for pictures. But I took lesser than I expected, maybe the regret and the back pain. More the back pain
you must be wondering, whats it about this padum road that everyone cries
Well see this!
The weather was turning slightly cloudy. The snow quota of the high mountains is not yet over
The views were great as always, with snow and greenery and the colors of autumn
And the road... WEll do not call it the road, it was pain
Water crossings with big rocks.
Slowly as we inched along, I kept clicking and clicking...
TO BE CONT................
|6th October 2009, 12:18||#342|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 2 Times
I take back my word so that is going to keep me engaged for the next couple of days! Love your works, please keep posting more of them. Thanks for the information on the White elephant, i was expecting something more after the grueling ordeal that it had taken during the ride.
|7th October 2009, 02:48||#343|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Tanveer: I am not too much of an online reader, but this has kept me hooked for the past few day. It is amazing how you have detailed the complete experience and the photographs are truly breath taking ... Nostalgic
|7th October 2009, 09:20||#344|
Join Date: May 2009
Thanked: 8 Times
You know, we were kind of thinking the same as well...probably going to pensila and back would be a better idea than going to padum unless we want to trek in padum.But we really liked the zanskar stretch.
|7th October 2009, 11:12||#345|
BTW, I did not push her on bad roads. For example we did Kargil Rangdum in exactly 5 hours. Faster than the taxis, but still slow by safari standards
Think of it.
Right from the start of the hills at Anandpur Sahib, to Rangdum we had done 2900kms
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