From the last 2-3 days back, I have been in constant touch with Top Singh ji to keep track of road conditions of Rohtang and the news that was coming in was not that good. There was slush and lot of it as it had been raining from the past 3 days. This made me bit sceptical about the journey ahead but after giving it some thought, we finally decided to take things as they come.
We begin our return tomorrow early morning.
We left Leh early in the morning without having our breakfast. It was wonderful riding parallel to the Indus.
Each moment of this stretch was magical. After a quick but heavy breakfast of aloo-parathas just out of Leh, we resumed our journey.
Soon we were ascending the Tanglang-la. The weather was very nice until we began out ascent. As we approached the top, it started to get dark and then came mild snow-fall. It was freezing at the top. After a quick photo-op at the milestone, marking our presence.
Soon we were in the Mooreh-plains and even though very dusty, it was awesome to get off the road and take the trails. You need to be cautious and should not blindly throttle-up as there are many unexpected uneven patches which can be dangerous if not noticed.
It was noon and we were damn hungry. We had a hearty meal of rice, dal, sabji and papad at a dhaba in debring and then rested and enjoyed the vastness all around for a good one hour or so.
We were soon on the road again. Soon came Pang. The magical landscapes, millions of years’ of art-work on the slopes. All so very magical. And then some more of the amazing formations.
We stopped and enjoyed the highs and lows of Pang for sometime and then again resumed towards Sarchu. The initial plan was to stay overnight at Pang but it was just past noon so we decided to make the night stop at Sarchu instead.
We reached Sarchu before sundown and booked our food and stay at a dhaba at @200/per person + food. With nothing to do, we washed the bikes, roamed and then headed back to the warmth of the stove inside.
After a having our dinner consisting of rice, dal & egg, we called it a day. The plan is to start early tomorrow and reach rohtang as early as possible. And pray, it doesn’t rain there.
The next day we got up early, had a very light breakfast at the dhaba itself and left.
Nothing special happened until we started seeing Rohtang at a distance. It was BLACK. It was covered in fog and it was SCARY. Like a monster.
We have been in touch with Top Singhji about the road condition and he has been saying that there’s a lot of slush in Rohtang. But, to our surprise, we came across very less slush and managed to reach the top without much difficulties.
We were much relieved and as it was just about noon so we thought of spending some time there. We had parathans in luch and just about when we were finishing, it started raining. But, as we knew we had crossed the slush and we had nothing to worry.
Just then, I over-heard a cab driver cursing the rain as it will make it more tough to cross the ‘slush’!
SLUSH?? But haven’t we already left it behind?
The responses from the people there came to us as a shock!!
ALL THE SLUSH LIES AHEAD!! We have not crossed any slush behind. Those were just bad patches!!
Everybody there suggested us to start immediately and that was exactly what we did!!
And we saw the un-avoidable in just 5-10 mins!! Vehicles stuck, bikers struggling to even ride at less than walking pace.
On one side, a deep gorge, fully covered in snow, not allowing to see anything, on the other, the mountain, constantly shooting stones and mud and below, knee-deep slush on a road with boulders on its surface.
After 5-10 mins of trying to ride on this stretch, I lost count how many times did I fall down and people helped me get up.
We came across many bikes who on their way to the top, had burnt their clutch-plates and were heading back to Manali, with their steeds on the backs of mini – trucks.
After hours of struggle, we finally managed to leave all the slush and boulder-ridden road behind. By this time, apart from the face which was inside the helmet, no other part of the body was left uncovered in mud.
I have no shame, the time I took to cross the stretch IS the scariest of my life till now. I even had doubts if I would be make it back in one piece!!
Soon we were on our way to Manali. It was still raining so we were going slow. The ride to Manali from Rohtang made me realize how beeeeautiful Himachal is!!
It was still raining when we reached Manali. Somehow found ourselves a wonderful accommodation just 100mts from the Mall road and that too, for a totally unexpectedly wonderful price.
Rs.300/double-room wit TV & running hot water.
After freshening-up, which took pretty long, as expected, we celebrated the success of ride in the bar oppo. to the SBI ATM in the mall road (don’t remember the name).
Some photos of these two days!
They don’t seem to be bothered about the slush and mud
Finally all the slush is left behind
Had pipping hot tea and hot noodles after all the hard-work
Slipped in the cold waters of Rani nallah, got my shoes and socks wet