Last evening when we came with the punctured bike to the cafe cum hotel, we got to know that the puncture shop would open only by 9am. We were ready to go last evening only but, being a Sunday, all the shops in the city were closed. Things were not just falling into place yesterday. This morning too, we did time-lapse of the remaining areas of the mountains and the routine almost followed like yesterday. But today, it had to be little fast since we had to be at the puncture shop. We tried calling him yesterday so that he could open up a little early but the call couldn’t get connected. The 9 am time was when most of the shops used to open.
Packing the luggage didn’t take much time as nothing much was taken out. We all got freshened up, only brushed the teeth. Taking a bath was out of this world as the water was chilled to the core. Even our toilets were done dry. That much severe it was. Touching the water was like touching fire. Even washing our face was a task. Today was 26th March and I had taken my last bath on 22nd.
We ordered bread omelette and coffee for breakfast. We then later settled the bill for 2 days and bid goodbye to our dear good friends. They were really cool and we gave them confidence then we would return back and also try to promote his cafe. The owner of the cafe accompanied us till the puncture shop as the bike was loaded onto his car.
At the puncture shop, the guys were successfully able to remove the tyre with special tools and we used a fresh tube and repaired the damaged one, just so if we needed it ahead. You never know. We were carrying spare tubes for both, front and rear. The puncture was repaired successfully and at around 10 am we left the place.
It was bright and sunny and motor-able like climate without wearing our warm liners. We were heading towards the dam again after which we were going to take right and head towards Kalpa.
We had decided to visit the famous suicide point situated in Roghi village ahead of Rekong Peo. From Karcham, it was only 25 kms. Kalpa is a city located atop mountain overlooking the majestic Kinner Kailash. It’s a good 6-7kms drive uphill to the city. At every turn you get to see the mightiness of the Kinner-Kailash mountain range. It makes you wanna stand and just gaze at them whole day. When you drive upwards from the main road, you first get Kalpa and then upwards Rekong Peo. Both of these are just beautiful villages with apple trees all around. Currently, apple trees were reduced to just dry branches. No greenery was to be seen on them as the season was to come later in October. But, there were these trees, who had these small little whitish pink flowers on them. It just looked like someone had put an Infrared filter to our eyes. The trees were just looking dreamlike. Totally unreal, not of this world. But yes, this was India and we were in Himachal Pradesh. I was totally mesmerized with the beauty.
With quite some efforts we finally managed to find a route towards the suicide point. The locals came to our rescue. The gave us the pin-point location. I guess, all the people in the village knew where the Suicide point was! We reached around 1 pm there and clicked photos taking turns. We had to wait initially as there was another bunch of guys already taking selfies at the spot. We didn’t want to bother them so we stayed out of their frame. We shot using the DSLR as the photo has to be taken from quite a distance. We had already planned the shot before the start of the trip and it was executed perfectly, just how we desired the frame to be.
We were with just bread omelette till now since morning and we really needed some energy before we could move on any further. It was not cold but the harsh UV rays were pinching us. Yes, pinching. At such heights, there is no atmosphere enough to absorb the UV rays and so the Sun is at it’s full power and hence you don’t feel hot but you can feel that something is pinching. It really is irritating and you are left with no choice but to find shadow quickly. Now, the reverse effect comes. As soon as you enter the shadowy area, your eyes go blind as you cant see anything. Its completely black in front our eyes. Now, just imagine driving like this whole day on a road which is barely 2 car width. It ain’t easy.
We decided to drop down to the main road and search for hotel ahead of Kalpa. We didn’t want to have lunch in Kalpa as it would have consumed lot of time due to traffic and people. Since our main objective for the day had cleared we just had to push ourselves for the remaining part of the day and see for ourselves where we landed. With whatever time we were having we thought of pulling till Nako. We stopped at one location on the highway for lunch but lunch was not being offered there. They told us that there was a hotel up ahead just 1 km from the place. The place called itself ‘Skibba’ and we found out that hotel. It was really a late lunch for us that day having done around 3:15pm. We ate omelette, roti, sabji along with rice and daal. Everything was served piping hot and we were just gobbling down the food without even looking and speaking to each other.
We spoke to few locals sitting there and inquired them about where to stay up ahead. When we initially told them that we were planning for Nako they out-rightly refused. There was no water there and also it was little far away from our current position taking the present time into consideration. So the next village before Nako was Pooh which was only 40 km which was doable. So, we all decided to end our day there.
We left the place after paying the bill. The roads were still good and then after riding around 20 km came the roughest patch. It was completely off-road till Pooh. That meant, we drove for the last 20 km at roughly 20kmph speed. The road was really testing us. It was bad. Just the kind of road we wanted but hadn’t got it till now right from Chandigarh. But it won’t remain the same in upcoming years. We could see some road construction activity going-on along that stretch and we approximated that in another year or two all the road would be smooth as a butter. All the joy of off-roading would get lost soon. At least we were lucky that we got to experience some. But to tell you, right after the patch ended, and we landed up in a hotel in pooh, everyone were breaking their back. We were completely taken by surprise especially, the body.
In search of a hotel we had almost exited Pooh but again came back when we saw that the city line was thinning out and there were just no any houses up ahead. I guess, we had not taken the road which diverted from the main road and went up ahead where the city were situated. After few minutes of search we found a good hotel as reviewed by Karan and Bimal ji. The rate was also reasonable around 1000 bucks and it was not less than a 3 star hotel. The good thing was, it offered beautiful view of the mountains up ahead through the gallery. Just the thing we aimed for. The time was 5:45 pm.
Without asking much, we offloaded all the luggage into the room and since the sun had almost set behind the mountains, there was still some light left and we could slowly see the orange lit mountains turn to dark. Without doing anything, we all were in gallery taking the time lapses. Once the cameras went in auto mode we all freshened ourselves and had tea. Today was the first time I bathed since the trip started, after 4 days. I was feeling so lighter and so fresh. All that tiredness vanished with the hot water bath.
I took all backup of my GoPro data into portable hard-drive. Later on, when it was time to order food, we were told that the chef was not available and that he did not know how to cook. He was alone in hotel with only us as his customers. We told him that we will cook for ourselves and that he supplied us with raw materials. He really didn’t have much with him and we in the end managed with scrambled eggs along with roti. What a way to end the day. We didn’t know that we would be cooking too in this trip. It was a great experience. 12 egg scrambled along with 15 rotis made our dinner. We had not made it more spicy as Karan did not like it.
We retired to our rooms after that. It was not that cold. It was moderate, but demanded we pulled our thermal bed-sheets. They had given us an extra bed which we lay on the floor. 3 people on a double sized bed was not gonna suffice. I and Bimal ji slept on bed while Karan was on the extra bed. I was last to sleep. Karan slept first and till the time I slept Bimal ji was voice recording his riding journey till now in his mobile. Sleep overpowered him during the recording and he slept. My DSLR time-lapse was still going on. I had planned in the evening to do a evening to night transition time-lapse . The battery was in its last stage to get over. I did not have the patience to wait as I was feeling damn sleepy. I had got what I wanted. I packed everything nicely in my bag and slept. The time was 12:30am.
The plan for tomorrow had already been made during our evening discussions. We had to reach reach Kaza by visiting some important sightseeing places along the way. We were now inline with our initial itinerary. Having lost a day in Sangla, it was compensated by cancelling our stay in Kalpa.