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Old 7th April 2010, 15:25   #46
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Amazing travelogue tsk. However, I couldn't help noticing this small irritant that's glowing bright red on the pic called parting pic. Guess it's a warning that says seatbelt not worn. Didn't expect this from you sir!
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Old 7th April 2010, 15:31   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
However, I couldn't help noticing this small irritant that's glowing bright red on the pic called parting pic. Guess it's a warning that says seatbelt not worn. Didn't expect this from you sir!
The parting pic is taken with the car stationary & parking brake "On". I think it was taken at the place they were staying, just before getting off the car.
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Old 7th April 2010, 15:44   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Amazing travelogue tsk. However, I couldn't help noticing this small irritant that's glowing bright red on the pic called parting pic. Guess it's a warning that says seatbelt not worn. Didn't expect this from you sir!
Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
The parting pic is taken with the car stationary & parking brake "On". I think it was taken at the place they were staying, just before getting off the car.
Well MX6, I never drive without seat belt on. Even if it is driving 100 meters from parking lot to brake.
the pic was taken before we just got out of the car to see the views.
Suman, this pic was taken before Gulaba(coming from rohtang side). It was getting dark, and we just got out for few minutes to soak in the last moments of daylight. So before shutting of the engine, I took this pic
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Old 7th April 2010, 16:07   #49
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Tanveer,

Very Nice place & very good traveloque.

I think I own you some money as you make me visit this wonderful place.

Waiting for your next post.

Thanks & Regards
Anupam00
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Old 7th April 2010, 16:18   #50
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Default The mountain movers

There is a crew of about 20 people at the top. Few officers, and some temporary workers.
Their job is to clear and shovel snow, while the BRO officials man the Bulldozers.

The bulldozers work in tandem.
First the main dozer, which you see on top(tiny yellow one) clears the snow wall. Lot of snow keeps falling from the sides, and the other two dozers clear it behind the lead one.
Its hard work, an progress is painfully slow.
today has been a much slower day
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They tell me that I have come at the perfect time. few hours before, the it was so icy that their truck had trouble climbing. It was very windy, and snow kept blowing onto the cleared section, so instead of supporting the lead dozer, they two remaining dozers are now removing the snow which came due to wind.

As of now the lead bulldozer was barely a km from Rohtang, and if we wanted, we could climb up.
We tried that, but only managed to get very wet and cold. This snow is not even walkable, and its cold inspite of the sun

We just roam around while they have their lunch. The bulldozer has created a U turn point, but the truck is blocking my way
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Soon the truck is moved, and I walk to the car.
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I survey the scene. There seems to be an icy pit, but its not very deep or is it?
I have to cross this before the U turn
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Its all white and nice and fuzzy and christmassy.
I get in and start the engines.

The dozers are silent, and so are the winds.
Only sound is the pitter patter of the common rail, and the only smell is the fresh snowy air, tinted with the unburnt exhaust.
Time to move forward. The rpms rises, the wheels spin, the turbo whistles, and I am off.
Gently in first gear I trudge along. On snow never rev, or you will spin. And then

Crash.............
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Old 7th April 2010, 16:23   #51
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Amazing pics TSK. I'm spellbound. I've had 7 trips to the Himalayas. Can never quite get over it still!
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Old 7th April 2010, 17:57   #52
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Default Beached..

The door to patal lok has opened, and I am sitting at a very odd angle.
The front right wheel sits deep in icy water, the rear left is airborne, and the differential right side sits on hard solid block of ice.
Only the front left has any traction whatsoever.
Anyways, I rev and try to go forward, and am greeted with spinning wheels.
Try to reverse and there are cracking sounds coming from below. This cannot be good.
I open the door and step out.
Splash.
There goes my show.
Now I am also drenched till my knees.
Its a bad bad day.
I get out.
Survey the scene. first to check the undercarriage.
Those scary sounds were the diff supports sliding on the ice. There are cracks beggining to appear, and I think I can pull it off.
Maybe.
I can ask help from the lunch party, but that would be embarrassing, so its time to try myself.

I get in, start, let her idle for some time, and then engage reverse.
the wheels spin and I can hear the ice cracking as the 2.5 ton behemoth push on.
I can budge a few inches, so far so good.
Now its time for forward gear.
With a lurch I go, and again the diff catches the ice, and its wheel spin.,
Again back
Forward
Back
Forward.
And then with a crack, the ice sheet cracks, and the rear left wheel decides to land.
With one final lurch, and roaring engine, I am out.

Time to get out and inspect undercarriage.
Nothing broken. Everything fine.
The skid plates did not even touch anything, it was all the rear at work.

I make a U turn, and we get ready to go back.
But we have to wait. A BRO gypsy with senior officers is coming up, and there is lack of space on road for 2 vehicles. So once they come up, we go down.

Meanwhile a few workers start clearing snow with shovels from the side so that return crossing of the pit is less adventrous.

I can hear the whine of the MPFI petrol. The gypsy is just one hairpin away, and I can see it from top.

Its struggling. Badly. Really really badly. Wheels are spinning, and snow is giving it a tough time.
Kind of funny. Is it on 2WD? Nope, I can make out the front tires also spinning crazily.
Later as the gypsy comes close the mystery is revealed. Its running highway tires. Like ZVTS or something. Proper car highway tires.

And then it approaches the pit.
I frantically wave to the driver to take to his left, as the pit is very deep. But I don't think he noticed.
Head long, at speed the right side of the gypsy lunges into the pit, and there is a loud crash, both the left wheels lift off the ground, and it starts to overturn.
Luckily the hard top glances the snowwall and bounces back.

With a loud crash.
Gypsy is also gotten delusions of flight, but instead of the rear left, its the front left which is taking off.
Lot of wheelspin, but no result.

The officers get out.
They are unfazed.
I mean you would be if you had a giant truck and 3 bulldozers at your beck and call.
But this also means we will get delayed on our journey back.

So the BRO workers come with shovels and start clearing snow from the gypsy.
the driver gets in, and wheels spin hopelessly. These tires were not made for snow.
But why worry. there are 8-9 workers pushing with their might, and the stranded gypsy is rescued.

time for us to go back
One final pic of the mighty dozers
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See that top yellow one? Whats in front of it? A mountain of ice. This is what it pushed through, inch by inch.

As for us, its time to head down, goodby rohtang, till we meet again
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The return journey is not as bad w.r.t jams but we still waste 45 minutes at Marhi. Its windy and cold, and maggi noodles is 40rs. Better to go down to kothi and have proper chowmein or something for that much money.

Food done, evening has arrived, sunset will happen soon, and its time for a drive and walks

TO BE CONT............
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Old 7th April 2010, 18:19   #53
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Thanks tsk for sharing yet another excellent snowlog.

One query: do you keep your gps traces? If yes, would be nice if you could share those files. Since places like Kothi are hard to find in the maps, people going to these places for the first time can really benefit from the gpx files.
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Old 8th April 2010, 11:00   #54
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I do have the traces, but they do not have places marked. OTOH, the road is mapped in both openstreetmap as well as google maps. Thats a better source of directions than unnamed gpx traces.
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Old 8th April 2010, 11:07   #55
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Amazing pics. May be Tata should consider one of your pictures for advertising Safari; ofcourse by paying you, afterall what's free other than sunlight on this planet?
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Old 8th April 2010, 11:09   #56
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Excellent travelogue... as expected! :-)
It seems Manali-Rohtang is becoming the Goa of Delhi. Go there anytime, fun guaranteed.
OR, send Tanveer anytime, great travelogue guaranteed.
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Old 8th April 2010, 11:18   #57
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Really nice snow in there man - Awesome stuff
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Old 8th April 2010, 11:21   #58
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Default Closing a great day!

The light is fading, and its getting cloudy. Just like any other evening this time. Every evening clouds gather at rohtang, threaten to burst, and then scatter away.
the views from the guest house
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We set out for the Gulaba road. Time to do a few kms driving on the tarmac, and take a walk in the woods
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The woods are dark. Earlier in the day we had seen some bovine skulls and bones. Maybe a predator lurks within?
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Its a short short walk, and then we had back to the safari
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Daylight is fading, and we have little time. But no worries.
We decide to check out a local waterfall, spoilt with packets of chips and bottles of coke. Why would somebody throw plastic waste into the pristine waterfall?
Lack or proper upbringing, family issues, genetic pool defect due to inbreeding? We can only speculate

Thankfully, the beauty of the fall is still intact.
We climb up on the slipper slopes
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and take pictures
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Its getting real dark now. One last destination, a mead below gulaba.
the smooth tarmac ensures its just a 5 minutes drive.

Its dark, but a tripod and long exposure ensures there is enough light
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With a led torch, we check out the bones. There are a lot of them scattered here and there, and some of them seem to be of young calves. Up here maybe its a leopard, or a bear?
With such happy thoughts and night falling, its time to scamper back to the car
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Its dark now, and we head back to our guest house.

Our journey has ended and tomorrow will be a boring ride back to the daily grind.
And so, a great trip comes to an end.

In closing, a couple of starry sky shots taken on the last night

There is no moon to light up the landscape.
Here is the orion to the southern skies
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And here is the polaris, the anchor, the star which has told explorers for millenia which direction is north
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Time to bid good night, and the END


__THE END__
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Old 8th April 2010, 11:43   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
I do have the traces, but they do not have places marked. OTOH, the road is mapped in both openstreetmap as well as google maps. Thats a better source of directions than unnamed gpx traces.
Actually I had looked at Google map, and couldn't locate Kothi - but now that you have mentioned, I looked up openstreetmap and it is indeed marked there.

By the way, there is a website: EveryTrail - GPS Travel Community, Share your GPS Tracks, Geotag your photos, where one can upload gpx files, and it plots them on a map. One can keep it private, or make it public; depends on the user.
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Old 8th April 2010, 11:47   #60
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I do the same on openstreetmap. Infact a lot of the leh manali highway, and nubra sections and interior ladakh sections have been mapped my me
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