Morning we got up early to see a few Army jawans surrounding our tents. We talked to them for a while and started off to Sarchu. We reached Sarchu at 9, along the way it was so freezing cold that we could see ice formations on our hairs and legs. Even though it was too cold we enjoyed the journey, we drove for an hour along beautiful himlayan mountains and across a place which looked like The Grand Canyon.
At Sarchu, we met the other guys, they were all excited and were explaining about their adventurous journey from Bharathpur to Sarchu. Basha had a small fall, as his bike slid off thin ice on the road near Sarchuu.
I started feeling feverish and I guess even Ginix, Basha and Vinay felt the same way. I could’nt even have my breakfast, I took an aspirin and started feeling dizzy like hell. I climbed onto Bharath’s bike as a pillion rider and we started off. We could see ice boulders on the road which probably fell off from huge mountains due to an avalanche. We almost had a fall when Bharath’s scarf got entangled onto the bike chains, but Bharath controlled it somehow. And then it was a long ride, I was half asleep all the while and almost fell off the bike on a couple of occasions.
We took a break at Pang and had tea/biscuits at Pang. People at Pang warned us to get our faces covered as its gonna be a dusty ride along the Morey plains. I was all back to normal self after having tea biscuits and a power nap.
Pang is a small place, with only a few temporary tents and cottages. But theres a military camp near Pang which looks really cool, especially when you climb the hills and view Pang military settlement from hill top.
We still had to cover around 150 KMs to Leh, and we were all determined to reach Leh by night. After climbing the hills for a while, we came across the worlds highest plains- The Morey plains. No words, everyone were just awestruck, the plains are like the classic picture perfect postcard landscapes, everything looked gigantic, the mountains, clouds seemed a lot closer, horizon seems a touching distant, our eyes aren’t used to being able to see so far, the plains themselves seemed to unroll as we drove along, the trucks looked like small goats, the plains looked like a sandy golf course, you’l have to make your own way while driving, but need to be aware of sand traps and bunkers. Sands along the plains are so fine that they easily form a layer on your skin. Fine grains of sand covers your eyebrows and fills your nose very quickly, phew..
We covered ground fairly quickly on the plains, but it started becoming colder suddenly and we had to cross yet another pass and then travel another 100 kms.
Tanglang-La(17,592 feet)- The roads started getting worser and numbness kicked in due to severe cold and exhaustion, and yes the altitude was a little too much to handle, but we had no other go, we had to cross the pass. It became dark so quickly and we were like no matter what happens, we cannot stay overnight at such an altitude, we had experienced enough of it at Bharathpur already. But climbing down the pass on a bad road is equally very dangerous. Our only hope was to stay at a Rumtse, which was another 25 KMs from Tanglang La. The pace at which we were driving our bikes was around 5-10 K Mph, we couldn’t go any faster. Gosh that was the most gutsy ride ever, we were also not sure if we would get any accomodation in Rumtse.
We reached Rumtse at 9, everyone were like as if we had passed our near death experience. We found a nice home stay at Rumtse and the very kind hospitable people welcomed us in. They prepared us nice hot Roti and Sabjees. We freshened up, and after our dinner, there was this josh in us as if we reached our destination. Leh was only 80 KMs from Rumtse and we were told that the roads were very good and Leh was only two hours far.
Some of us had rum and we cracked jokes and laughed (thanks to Vinay’s PJs) and felt very pleased with our efforts.
I kept asking everyone, how do we make it till Kargil. For everyone the destination was Leh, to me it was Leh as well as Kargil. In fact I had updated on Orkut, "Destination Kargil, lakshya to har hal me paana he", just before I left for the trip.
Bharath said don’t worry dude we will make it to Kargil as well.
Soon we all fell asleep.