We had a good night’s sleep. Woke up little late but still the sunrise had not happened. I could see the faint orange hue in the sky, but the sun was in opposite direction to which I was facing.
Most of the people were still sleeping, tired from yesterday’s heavy ride. I wanted to spend some early morning time around my hotel area and so I rushed down taking the bike keys along with me. It was a beautiful pleasant morning and we could hear the sounds of the bird chirping. I clicked some few snaps with whatever view I got from standing near the bike and cranked the engine. Unaware in which direction to go, I scrolled the maps and googled some locations which I had noted down during the planning phase, and left.
Wherever the map took me, I went. There wasn’t any destination but I was just exploring the roads where I could get unobstructed view of the valley. Mussoorie being a famous hill station, is crowded with many hotels along the mountain slope and room rates are decided based on the clear view it offers.
The sun had risen behind the mountain which blocked it. I could feel it with the strong orange tone fading away. I did whatever best I could make with the sunrise photography along with my bike and then decided to come back to the hotel and check on my guys. Another reason to return was that I had not worn the gloves in the excitement and it was having a toll of my fingers. Riding back to the hotel room was really a challenge.
Rest were still sleeping except Karan and so we again went down to have a cup of tea. We returned after half n hour only to see that now everyone was up. The time was past 9am and we all decided to get ready and start exploring. We had only a single day for mussoorie.
We packed light and carried only the cameras with us. As per the itinerary we were supposed to go to Lal Tibba for breakfast. We had known that it offered some magnificent views of the Himalayan ranges. The 5 of us took three bikes and headed straight for the destination. It was some roughly 6-8 kms from our hotel. We then drove through narrow lanes of mussoorie which then opened up as we were about to reach the destination. We could still feel the cold even at this time of the day.
There was an wow moment when we actually saw the restaurant up close with our eyes. The location was indeed superb with a roof top place for having breakfast. Without wasting much time we headed upstairs. As it was early in the morning, not much crowd were there, only some couples and a family. Before moving up, we ordered ourselves a special coffee along with some grilled cheese sandwich, which the owner said was the hot item here. By the time the breakfast was served, we managed ourselves to get soak into the surroundings, clicking pictures of each other and of the far Himalayan mountain range.
After breakfast we headed back in the direction of our hotel thinking where should be go next. We had only 2-3 places fixed for sightseeing today. We took a different route to our hotel and stopped at places where we could get a clear view of the mountain ranges for a photograph. We clicked pictures again, this time managing to pull all together in one frame, thanks to the small camera tripod which I had brought along with me.
After that, we quickly reached back home to refresh ourselves. Now it was decided that we were going to Clouds End. It was not far away. Just a few mtrs of driving and Anis bhai was stopped at a checkpost for not wearing an helmet. We managed to escape somehow since we were the first and the inspector might not have noticed us due to heavy rush near the crossing area. Since we too were without helmets, we were afraid to go back and help Anis bhai. And so we parked our bikes there itself and went back to check on Anis bhai. Bimal ji was the last and he had seen Anis bhai getting pulled on the side for the crime. Fearing he too would get caught, he took a u-turn towards different road and was observing the whole thing. When we came back to the scene, we saw Anis bhai speaking with the inspector. Since he too is an RTO inspector, they both were exchanging something.
After a good drama of around 20 mins, the bike was released with a nominal fine. Then we all decided to go back and take our helmets, since no of them were wearing one. We assumed that nothing will happen to us or vice a versa, no one will give a damn about us. That took another 15 minutes and finally we were off to our location. In the middle, we stopped for having lunch. Lunch consisted of Parantha and Omelette. After that it was just a 5 min drive towards the destination.
We reached Cloud’s end after some struggle with the roads. They were not friendly and not meant to be ridden upon. But we all took the bike right up to the top.
There was nothing at the top. It was a flat land with George Everest house at one corner while there was small hill on top of this flat portion jutting upwards at the far end of the corner. The view was splendid from this place but we decided to go even further and try to look down the valley from the hill top. Initially the roads were supporting us but, as we moved ahead it became a risky climb. There was not a proper trek route to the top and it was left to the climber to find. The hill side were full of loose mud and gravel and valley on our right side was just waiting to greet us if anything wrong happened. Margin for error was almost negligible.
Seeing such a risky climb to that top, Bimal ji and Anis bhai stayed back. Anis bhai were not having proper shoes and hence he decided not to take any chances. After a long time I was doing a trek and with little difficulty we reached to the top. The sun was about to go down the mountains and hence we decided to do some photo shoot. The sky again had turned into complete orange silhouetting anything coming in its way. We did some sunset timlapses until we decided that it was high time to go down as it was getting dark faster.
Deciding not to take the risky route while going down, this time we decided to take the much safer but longer route down. Bimal ji and Anis bhai were waiting for us for a long time and finally we grouped again. Till now, the sky had gone complete dark with faint remains of blue and orange colors. The scene was perfect. I pulled out a tripod and we did silhouette photography against the beautiful backdrop of colors. It was completely natural and a treat to the eyes.
It was completely dark by now, so much so that we had to use our mobile flash lights for that. We quickly hopped onto our bikes and headed straight for the hotel. The time was around 6pm. We changed the route as we neared the hotel as we didn’t want to pay the daily parking fee of 100rs per vehicle. Hence we took the help of google to show us a different route to the hotel but believe me guys, the new route was literally treacherous. It was a complete uphill climb with twisty at the end and road width was such that barely 2 people can stand, shoulder to shoulder. And this we did in the night time. I got stuck in a big pothole just before the climb, but my friends were there to rescue me. It was really a suicidal mission for solo rider.
Back in the hotel, it was nothing much to do. We were unable to control our laughs and were joking on the recent route taken to come back. We then offloaded ourselves. Had a good bath and then went out to explore the mussoorie market. It was Sunday and there was huge rush on the streets. After spending some 1-2 hrs exploring the place and shopping nothing, we ate outside, having a good mix of Tunday Kabab’s and some veg delicacies.
We came home immediately after that since tomorrow we were going to our next destination which was Rishikesh but instead taking the normal route we were going to take the longer route via some prominent places just so that we could ride whole day and arrive at Rishikesh in the evening. I did not sleep immediately after returning. I went again to the spot where I and Karan had the morning tea with my DSLR and tripod. I wanted to take some night snaps of mussoorie at night. Content that I had taken enough and just the frames I wanted. I returned back in hush. Almost everyone were deep in their sleep.
Not wanting to wake up anybody with the noise, I pulled over the blanket and slept quietly. Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
Mussoorie was over!