Ladakh, Heaven on Earth

Day 4: 7th September 2005 (Sarchu – Leh)

Some time you wakeup and just don’t want to leave the bed no matter what, waking up today was like that. Not only were we late, both of us were suffering from AMS. Yet for some reason we didn’t take Diamox, neither could we mange to eat anything for breakfast.

But we knew one thing we will reach Leh city tonight no matter what, after stocking up water and biding farewell to our hosts we were ready to hit the road, knowing toughest day of riding was upon us.

My bike in front of the tent in Sarchu

My bike in front of the tent in Sarchu

First chore of the day conquering Gata loops was done in a jiffy, with minor difficulty due to the now oh now so familiar road conditions and twenty one loops which took us to an altitude of 15302 feet’s.

Me posing in front of the Gata Loop sign board

Me posing in front of the Gata Loop sign board

The famous loops of Gata loops

The famous loops of Gata loops

Within an hour of leaving Sarchu we were at the third pass of our trip, Nakee-La.

nakee la

Despite suffering from AMS, we were averaging pretty good speeds. But our condition was forcing us to take rest quite frequently, but every where we stopped the view just swept us off our feet’s.

our bikes view of the valley

Soon the forth pass of our trip was conquered, Lachulung-La

Lachulung-La Lachulung-La me posing at Lachulung-La

Now we were tired, suffering from headache and hungry. But that was not going to stop me from grabbing every opportunity to click a photograph.

shamik in the rear view miror

Our prayers for food were finally answered when we reached Pang. Even though we were feeling hungry a moment ago, we could not manage to eat more then one parantha each. But this was a much welcomed rest and it was the last major pit stop till the mighty Taglang-La.

Soon it was time to hit the road again and I was looking forward to riding on Moore-Plains that I had heard so much about.

Moore plains

But before we could explore Moore plains it was time to pop the pill, both of us took a dosage of Diamox. We should have done this much earlier, infect now I know we should have taken it a night before.

Moore plains stood true to their reputation, at 15400+ feet’s this was a well paved but bumpy road. Even though there was hardly any traffic and the road was pretty much straight we didn’t cross 80kmph in part due to the AMS and in part due to the punishment that was being handed out to our bikes from riding on such a bumpy surface.

moor plains

Sitting in the Moore plains with my head held between my hands I could only think of one thought, to return next year and do it all again.

With this promise I started my final push to Taglang-La. The road surface was better then what I had expected it to be and my bike was performing really well. Covering steep sections with ease at 45kmph in third gear, she was showing no sign of stress, yet I was unable to control her even at this speed due to the fatigue that was settling in.

I reached Taglang-La ahead of Shamik, it was deserted. The silence and the feeling being on top of the world can not be compared with anything else.

tanglang la

However by this time I was gasping for air and could not even muster the strength to get off my bike for some photos. So I decided to rode on, other side of Taglang-La was in a little bit worse shape. After descending a bit I was off my motorcycle, looking into the distance and knowing fully well that I had just conquered the second highest motor able pass in the world.

my bike

Rest of the descent was easy and the effects of AMS were getting lesser as we were descending to lower altitude. In fact the roads beyond Upshi were a treat to ride, so much so we were both doing 110+ kmph. We came across small villages which were stunningly beautiful; we loved every bit of the ride. We also came across Indian army men who were taking out procession for Ganesh Chaturthi.

army men

A friend of mine had visited Leh a month back and he had warned me, that due to the Ladakh festival and tourist season most of the hotel rooms were booked and those who had rooms were charging a premium for them. After searching for a hotel room it seemed true, I decided to call my Dad’s friend; he got us accommodated in a guest house.

After unloading the bikes it was time to go out for dinner, still I could not eat more then one chapatti. On top of that due to Diamox Cold drink tasted flat and it was difficult to drink it and by now my face and hand had started getting a tingling sensation.

But first phase of our journey was over, tomorrow we had to get the permits for Pangong-Tso and Nubra valley and go sight seeing around Leh city.

Preface, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7-1, Day 7-2, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16-17