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Old 6th April 2010, 10:47   #1
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Default (Photo)Log from the the land of summer snowwalls

Snow is one thing which I take absolute delight in. Esp when there is snow in summer. The temperatures touch 40 in the plains, but up there its still freezing. the roads are not open, and the men and women of BRO toil every day to cut the high mountain passes, and bring back lahaul valley into civilization.
Up there its no cakewalk.
After driving in the snow countless times, getting slightly stuck, and then getting out with a roar of the 140 horses, this could also have been a cakewalk.
But it was not.
My feet are wet, because I got out of the car and splashed into a "puddle" which is knee deep, and very cold.
The white elephant has also gotten her feet wet. The right front lies submerged, the left front is on soft slushy freshly cleared snow, the rear right axle sits on top of rock hard mirror like ice, lovingly called sheesha by the ever cheerful BRO folks, and the left rear wheel? Well, its having delusions of flight, and is hung midair, like a half retracted landing gear.
Technicalities aside, I know I am stuck, royally stuck. Today will be a long long day.
All I was trying to do is take a U turn.
Time to put the camera to rest, and see what to do....

Before the carnage
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What you see in the foreground may look like everyday patch of slushy ice, but its the pit that has swallowed the white elephant. And now its upto me, and only me, to somehow get her out without asking the BRO folks for help(and save face, as they say). Will I succeed on my own?

TO BE CONT.............
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Old 6th April 2010, 10:51   #2
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I envy you guys. Man, any weekend, you take you white elephant for a walk through those ice.

Lucky fellow.
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Old 6th April 2010, 10:53   #3
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^^ +1 to that. And what a picture to start off. Glued in for more.
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Old 6th April 2010, 10:54   #4
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Default Destination - Kothi

Barely an hour away from Manali lies the quaint little village of kothi. But Manali itself is 12 hours away.
So at 8:30am on April fools way, we set out.
8:30 may seem like a late start to many of you, but we normally see the light at 9am, and starting at 8:30am means we have started real real early.
Thankfully, the holiday rush will start tomorrow, not today, and without much ado we are on NH1, navigating traffic, and stepping on the gas at a brisk 90kmph.
The whole route can play in my mind with my eyes closed. Its the highway which takes us through the holy town of kiratpur sahib, all the way upto the himalayas.
Thankfully, traffic is scarce, and apart from some road relaying(God Bless PWD guys), its a quick run.

But the recent snowfalls have wrecked havoc on the stretches near kullu, and there are lots of landslides and broken tarmac to navigate.
Thankfully, at 8pm there are no jams in manali, and apart from some real bad roads for 3-4 kms, the road to kothi is well paved.
A quick dinner at 9pm is followed by talk with locals, one of whom claims that Rohtang is clear, but only locals are being allowed, and if we talk to BRO guys, maybe we will see lahaul?
Hopes up, spirits high we retire to bed.
tomorrow we won't go up first, we will raft.
We will ride the beas, and get dunked in the water, and then plan the journey up.

But for now, tomorrow is tomorrow, and its time for just sleep

TO BE CONT........
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Old 6th April 2010, 10:57   #5
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Another exciting travelogue in the making . I am hooked to this thread now.
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Old 6th April 2010, 11:00   #6
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fantastic start!!!! cant wait...
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Old 6th April 2010, 11:18   #7
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No, not fair. Not at all. We are planning to protest against you for typing only few lines of logs in each post and making our keyboards F5 go kaput
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Old 6th April 2010, 12:16   #8
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Default To the River

Today is 2nd April. The start of the long weekend. today the plains will descend on the hills, but I figure we have till late afternoon for the hoards to reach the mountain highway.
So the start is late, actually around 11am. But first, couple of pics about the view from the room. There is a reason we love Kothi. The views are awesome, and the tranquility this place has is unparalleled!
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Around noon we reach the raft point, bargain for 700rs for the 7km run for 2 people. I remember in may we paid around 600 for 2 for the 3km stretch.
The shorter stretch which is tougher, is closed due to low water level.

the 7kms one is a little boring. Beas is at low levels, and will pick up once the snows really start melting.
I am told that pre monsoon is the best time for rafting.
But irrespective of the water levels, we get a fair share of the dunking, and after rafting its time for a change of clothes, and time to head upto the cold high mountain.

But fate has other plans for now.
there is a 1 hour jam as the JCB clears out a fresh landslide, The tourist hoards have started arriving, and we are stuck in a long jam.

Looks like it will be a few hours wait!

TO BE CONT.......
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Old 6th April 2010, 12:18   #9
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I heard that when you put salt on ice, it melts. Perhaps you should have carried a big sack of Tata Salt in your Tata Safari.
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Old 6th April 2010, 13:13   #10
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Ice will improve traction however, for melting the ice well thats something I do not want to do. Melted slushy ice is the worst, as I discovered. The hard or powdery stuff is manageable, but whats not manageable is slushy muddy partially melted ice, esp if it covers a deep pit.
Moreover, think of the ecological disaster when that salt runs down to lower mountains via rain and all.
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Old 6th April 2010, 13:39   #11
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Another amazing thread in the making

Keep going Tanveer!!
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Old 6th April 2010, 13:52   #12
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Just 2 questions to you TSK
1. Do you find sleets? How do you handle them?
2. What would be the temperature of the places covered with snow? Will it be like -5, -10 accompanied by wind etc or like -2/-3?

Reason for question #2 is, sorry to say, I hate snow & hate to wear the additional protective clothing that needs to be worn; takes almost 5 minutes to gear them, go to the car, shovel the snow, come back & sit, now you feel the seats are terribly cold. So I'm just trying to understand if you'd to do all these things or the snows here are not that bad.
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Old 6th April 2010, 14:01   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post

Reason for question #2 is, sorry to say, I hate snow & hate to wear the additional protective clothing that needs to be worn;
I love snow. It's magical. I love cold weather. It's the shovelling, I hate.
When it snows, the place gets a bit warmer.
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Old 6th April 2010, 15:18   #14
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@ TSK - question for you. How do you manage on such snow/slush? Do you have special tires for that? Do you use metal chains on tires for better traction?

That opening photo was just stunning. I see one more great story unfolding.
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Old 6th April 2010, 16:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Just 2 questions to you TSK
1. Do you find sleets? How do you handle them?
2. What would be the temperature of the places covered with snow? Will it be like -5, -10 accompanied by wind etc or like -2/-3?

Reason for question #2 is, sorry to say, I hate snow & hate to wear the additional protective clothing that needs to be worn; takes almost 5 minutes to gear them, go to the car, shovel the snow, come back & sit, now you feel the seats are terribly cold. So I'm just trying to understand if you'd to do all these things or the snows here are not that bad.
LOL nobody likes getting wet in snow. Thats why I try to stay in car most of the time, and get out on hard ground. However we do get sometimes and its uncomfortable. Temperature in the evening was around -1/-2 degrees, and in the day it rises to 7-8 degrees, enough to partially melt the snow. And I never go out and shovel. If the patch is too tough, I mostly chicken out. In the above case also, it was not by design that I had gotten stuck, but purely by chance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by advaitlele View Post
@ TSK - question for you. How do you manage on such snow/slush? Do you have special tires for that? Do you use metal chains on tires for better traction?

That opening photo was just stunning. I see one more great story unfolding.
The continentals with their side lugs are pretty formidable against snow. No chains, just plain old 4WD and careful driving. For example, inching forward when snow is too thick instead of driving head long. If it looks like getting stuck, I reverse out.
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