Leh – Pangong – Srinagar

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The unbelievable part of this road trip was to be driving at 120kmph at 16000 feet above sea level at More plains. You just could see the road laid in front till the eyes could see. After this there’s a steep climb to Tanglang-La at 17,500 feet where I started feeling dizzy again. Susheel said lets take 30 mins rest here at the Pass and I had to tell him like a crazy panicking person that we need to rush down to feel better. Also it’s here I discovered Susheel wasn’t driving in the wrong lane due to bad driving habit learnt in the cities but deliberately to avoid the (view of the) steep fall on the valleys side, I was splitting my sides laughing and offered to drive but he wouldn’t let me, saying I was a crazy driver to be driving on that side and he didn’t want to die. Hahaha, still makes me go when I remember how we met unsuspecting drivers from the other direction in their rightful lanes honking at us. But we did have a taxi following us in the wrong lane and driving equally slow refusing to overtake. If you saw the views from Tanglang-La  you could perhaps be forgiven to be driving like that. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any good pictures as he didn’t want to stop and catch an accidental glimpse of the abyss.

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Roopkund Trek

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The trek starts from Wan. Wan—10kms—Bedni Bugyal—10—-Baguabasa—-7—Roopkund. The motor route follows the Rishikesh Badrinath highway NH58 till Karanprayag, after which you take the road for Gwaldom. From Tharali, the road to be taken is towards Debal- Lohajung. From Debal, ditch your vehicle and take a local cab, since the road requires a vehicle with good clearance from ground. If you are insane like us and did manage to drive till Lohajung with a lot of pre-inspection of the road and post inspection of your vehicle after crossing the muddy truck track hurdles, do drop it now and take a cab for 500 rupees for 12 kms to Wan where clearance only matters if skills are to match. At one point during the last stretch, the cab really got stuck in mud at a turn which had a steep fall on the driver’s side, tyres deep in 2 feet high slush and the Jeep was swerving unpredictably for us, thankfully the driver knew how much mud wrestling was good for his jeep. To add spice to the events there was a herd of wild boars crossing the road 10 yards in front of us. At Wan we met this interesting guy called Herasingh Bugyali , who introduced himself as an all-rounder. His all rounder definition comprised of being a shop-owner but also being able to lift heavy backpacks and doing roopkund and back in a day. That’s pretty much true about everybody there. So we got two such all rounders or porters and started the trek the next morning at 9, one hour behind fellow Noida trekkers from an IC chip design company. We caught them resting and sharing a cigarette within half a km of the trek. They reached Bedni Bugyal at 10 pm that day, while we had caught lunch at Bedni at 2 pm (such benchmarking always impresses me). If you are carrying your own backpacks don’t imagine to do this one in 5 hours as the climb is attrocious-level-7. Attrocious-level-9 is the final Baguabasa to Roopkund stretch. You might think is this a travelogue or what, a deter-ogue, but trekking here is not easy. Oh and I haven’t told you why not to go to Roopkund between June to September( inclusive). Coz it rains and there’s nothing to see except fog and clouds and all that Trishul jazz, thoughts of views of Nandaghunti and Trishul will tease you. See what I mean.

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Dodital – The Trek

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Another motivating factor was the leeches. They wouldn’t let us stop anywhere. Every stop we had to check for them on the path first and then on our shoes and then take off the ones which had had some luck with our blood.Balloo kept us occupied with his “jokes” all along.

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Joshimath

Joshimath

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…Travellers love rains and we weren’t very happy that we missed the rains. But a cloud burst is a different thing, and the kind of tent Nandan sends us with wouldn’t survive such winds…Drive after Chamoli is beautiful, the river flows right next to the road, and the expanse gave me an eerie deja-vu, Alaknanda felt like Tons around Tiuni-. It rained a little here…

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