|15th September 2009, 11:42||#46|
The highway.. CONT
Continuing from where I left last time... I was talking about the awesome views.
There is a big problem with Manali Leh highway. If you go there, and click a million pics, and if I go there and click a million pics, all will look different. Seriously!
We continued on our journey, clicking lots of thing, however if we started to click everything, the journey will never end. We will spend the entire 3 weeks on this highway itself
And then as we approached Sarchu, the bad roads came back, Dirt tracks are okay, but its the potholed roads which take a toll on the back
However how bad the road does not matter, the scenery was as awe inspiring as before, infact getting better
The white elephant
As we approached Sarchu, the famous rock formations got more abundant, and with intermittant sunlight and clouds we expected some great light
Finally Sarchu came, with its tents
The uber expensive tents
A different view
Inspite of mixed roads, we were making good time till now, and my back was somewhat holding up. Pang was still far away, and there were the Gata Loops and the two passes to conquer.
With a prayer it was time to move forward. The time was not even 10:30 and the morning was young.
Some more rock formations with shadows of clouds
|15th September 2009, 12:01||#49|
On this trip I also got to use the 75-300 Telephoto lens for the wild asses
|15th September 2009, 12:13||#50|
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New Delhi
Thanked: 39 Times
|15th September 2009, 12:15||#51|
Sarchu to Pang - L:iving on a prayer
The scenery sure was nice, but my back was feeling the brunt.
Tried reclining the shotgun seat and putting cushion etc., but not much help.
Pang was still hours away.
So nothing else to do but move on and on and click
The roads worsened even further with tell tale signs of landslides abound
More scenery from around the area
And then, we came to our first road block of the day
The reason was a landslide, and a bulldozer was busy clearing the road. The jam took only minutes to clear, thanks to hardly any traffic.
One thing I notices during the entire journey. We did not see a single car. Only MUVs mostly Qualis sumo, Xylo, and a solitary private Delhi innova, with whom we will indulge in friendly race between shortcut and speed on the loops!
For now it was time to move on and up towards Nakeela
Thankfully near the Famous Gata Loops the road became excellent, almost unbelievable excellent
Couple of more tarmac pics. This is a rare sight in those parts!
And with the Gata loops came the shortcuts.
The lure of the shortcuts is a dangerous thing, and the temptation is so strong that even smooth black tarmac cannot lure you away.
So up we went on the first shortcut we saw, It seemed easy, though steep.
However at that time did not know that it would almost end in disaster...
|15th September 2009, 12:37||#52|
Gata rahe mare Dil
Below is a GPS log of Gata loops. The thick line are the loops which have been very accurately mapped in openstreetmap, and the thin red line is yours truly. the track goes from left to right
After taking the first minor shortcut, the target was the next major shortcut.
The second one.
If you see we climb up, go wrong way and then go back
Now the story.
I took the elephant up the shortcut, in 2nd low. rpm at 2500 and we were climbing up nicely, and then things started to get tough. From gravel it turned into sand, and I had to shift midway to 1st low.
With the engine howling, rpm at a sweet 25-2800, we gently trudged up and near the top a sight greeted us which made my knuckes go white, and palms sweaty. The road had been recently relayed, and the road surface was a good 3-4 inches higher than the shortcut. Not an issue really, but near the side of the road, the sand had piled up.
And near the end it was much much steeper. Kind of like OTR obstacles.
If we lose momemtum here, offroad tires or not, wheels will spin
So with a prayer it was time to continue on, and then there is a shrill blast of a loud horn. We are near the top, at the place where I need momentum, and an army 4x4 stallion is hurtling down.
So what to do?
Stop, on the sandy incline, few feet short of the road.
The truck passes by, and its time to see what happens.
Transmission locked in 1st gear 4L, I gently nurse her forward, and the wheels start spinning, but we are moving, then suddenly something slips somewhere, and the car starts sliding sideways.
This is panic time, any more and we will go cartwheeling sideways!
Time to stop, gently reverse, reaim and try again. This time I use what Samurai called the Gypsy technique. All revs gung ho.
And we are on the road, albeit facing the wrong way.
so time to go and reverse at a suitable spot.
But as you can make out from my track, we did not miss the other shortcuts, and the next one saw us bypassing quite a few of the loops!
View from the top
The Final loop
Can you spot the white elephant!
See those loops
Next up it was time to head to Nakeela.
As you can make out, after the loops the road all but vanished.
Nakeela, our 3rd pass of the journey was coming up.
|15th September 2009, 12:40||#53|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: UP 16
Thanked: 156 Times
Amazing pics & great narration man. I am so reliving my journey again.
I see you've left us at a cliffhanger!
|15th September 2009, 13:51||#54|
Nakeela, Lachungla and Pang...
It was around noon that we hit Nakeela
Pang was around 2 hours away, but before that we had the short drive to the 4th pass of the journey, lachungla.
The distance was short no doubt, and there were ways of making it shorter. The short cut
Here is a gps log of the same short cut
On the shortcut. Towards extreme right you will see vehicles on main track
The short cut
Pics of the scenery
At the top of the shortcut, Lachungla is coming!
Finally around 12:45 we were at Lachungla
The road worsened, and there were river crossings also, but all dried up. Drought had taken its toll here
Now if this is a road...
My back was now at its worst
The topography changed slightly, signalling pang was near
The views were good, but I was not really enjoying all this much
Intermittently there was tar, but potholed tar which is worse than the dirt tracks
Many times tar gave way to bumpy gravel
The rocks were coming near.. where was Pang?
Any time now eh? It was 1:30, and there were still 30 agonizing minutes to go
Couple of pics of an arch
A makeshift bridge
More rock formations
Finally around 2, we were at Pang. My back was splitting now, and I just crashed at a dhaba. Got mornings Aloo Paranthas heated, and also got hot water filled.
There was another problem.
The leaking jerry cans fumes were making the inside of the car unbearable, and coupled with the dust it was very nauseating.
So time to put those 33 liters in the tank.
I was not in a position to lift even 3 liters let alone 33,
So here my wife had to do the lifting.
We took out the empty can, put funnel over it and put it on the ground. My wife tilted the heavy can, and in three installments put 10 liters of fuel in the tank each time.
So with the cans empty, we were set to go. No fumy troubles now, just the dust which was being fed to us in generous doses even on recirculation mode.
I made my position on the shotgun seat, next would be the legendary morey plains where hopefully there will be some respite from the bad road.
Pain spray and hot water bottle was a great relief and off we set towards the plains, hoping against hope for a 120kmph flat top sambhar lake equivalent....
|15th September 2009, 14:13||#57|
Rates are variable.
If you reach at noon on a nice clear day you will get a nice swiss tent for as low as 1000rs, however if you reach in the evening with nowhere else to go rates can climb upto 2500rs
|15th September 2009, 14:23||#58|
Join Date: Apr 2004
Thanked: 5,217 Times
Make hay while the sun shines. If they're booked well in advance then one gets an even better deal. Rashpian guys were telling me that they pay a huge sum every year to block their camp site.
|15th September 2009, 14:39||#59|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Mar 2007
Thanked: 2,159 Times
Fantastic pics Tsk, all these Ladakh travelogues out here this time is making me cope better with my inability to go this year.
Particularly interesting will be track pics at Sach Pass and Marsimek La, sure you have tried the latter?