Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 62 - May 9 - Lachung 2 YumeSamdong 2 Lachen

May09 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

I here the 4/4s roaring to life as early as 4.30. They have a schedule, take people to Mt Katao, then Yumthang and then back to Guwahati the same day. Even the Sun's almost out. I am too comfortable under the cozy quilts. I give the alarm a few more snoozes. By the time i am on feet the sun is shining bright at 5.30 am and the weather the best i have seen in the hills so far. Then the guilt of wasting the pleasant weather hits me. I gather all the things as i am not staying there tonight. Reach out far break fast in the hotels pretty dining hall. Dunno for what reason they take their own sweet time in making a cup of maggie. Just impatiently stare through the window waiting to ride out.

Did not really not know what to expect today. Cos was not going to a Pass or a lake or place of interest. With all the time in the world, started riding slowly and what a day i mean what a day. Bright sunshine and vivid blue sky, snow caped peaks have come out of hiding all around. Flowers of different colors have bloomed on either side of the road. I dont think i have ridden a KM without stopping for a pic. The ride till Yumthong was a colourful one with all the flowers beside the road and the Rhododendron trees. Once i reached Yumthong the place opened up to a meadow on the right with the Teesta river flower at the end of it. It was cold winds hitting my neck and face and it was chilling even under bright sunshine. Wanted to get near the river but in no mood to walk that far with helmet or facing the wind. Well what else is the bike for. OffRoaded the uneven meadow till the river bank on the bike it self. It was amazing ambiance out there. There were quite a few yaks grazing away to glory. The Medow littered with small colorful flowers and colorful tourists.

I have the permit till YumeSamdong but whats there ? i don't know. Thought if i make it quick can even check out Mt Katao on the way back. Just 25 kms more to go. After Yumthang the road narrowed down and i see hardly any vehicles compared to the previous stretch. Must say the fear of unknown gripped me. Dunno things were perfect but i felt anxious. The road now not so good at places, and started climbing uo the narrow road/path i could see the whole of the Yumthong valley and the medow as i rode up. See couple of vehicles coming back and i get relieved a bit and also thought i am too late? and i see more of them coming back and i am the only one going back. After endless rough horrid switch backs the road straightens and widens a bit and the views improve. Then here i go clicking away. It was like post 11 and i ditched the Mt katao idea so that i could ride peacefully here. There were no trees now and barren Himalayas it is. Some more wide switch backs climbing the inclined plane?! See these empty bunkers by the 10s. I move ahead and the winds are getting nasty now. My self made neck warmer not holding good and wind sneaking into my helmet. I reach a point where i see lot of 4/4s parked. What? this is it? cant be! then i came to know that a bridge has broken and they cant go ahead. Even my bike cant go cos a path of 60 feet is full of rocks. There is a Zero Point a couple of KMs ahead. Zero Point? End of the road literally it means. Interesting. There is no slush, so i take a pic and get onto it. And boy o boy it was tough. The moment the tire climbs a rock it gives way. I wasnt prepared for the offroad and bike is fully loaded as well. Some how manage it and get on to the road on the other side much to the dismay of the onlookers. Well i made it but have to do it again on the way back.

No one the road ahead. Again i am thinking should i venture ahead. But the weather was great and had time so pushed ahead. Passed couple of Kms and still no end of the road. Well thinking very unbikerly was waiting for end of the road:D Where i sure reached after 5 kms. The road ended to nothing but gentle inclined plane going up. There was just a Hut made of Yak wool and Plastic tent. That must be the highest hotel in north sikkim. The place was amazing at 15k + feet. All the hills around white quoted with fresh snow from last night it seems. I am hungry and readly gulp the Channa and hot cup of maggie. The winds outside the tent were unbearable. Funny if there are no winds the place aint cold. Few peole take a hike to the near by hill to play on the snow. I have no intention to do that. Its like i am tied to my bike with an invisible rope:D By 12 i start back. As i could see the southern mountains being engulfed by white clouds and black ones not far from them. The ride back is going to be dull. The sunlight stays till i cross over the broken bridge. Then it gets boring. every thing looks so dull compared to morning and all the snow caped peaks hidden away for the day. Forced to get into rain gear as well.

Thought i would get to Lachen comfortably and rode on. Reached Lachung by 2.30 Pm and i find the BSNL network down. Couldn't call Dad for an update. Then road briskly towards Chungthong so that i could catch the Lachen road. In chungtongh by 3.30 but have some chores like making extra copies of permit to be submitted ahead, fone call. No fones!! Not only the network is down even land lines are not working! The only way is to get to Mangan 30 KMs away! Really dont want to ride there with that horrible road section. I cant even if i want cos there is a land slide just beyond Chung thong. With no choice i hit the Lachen road. But wait i min should i not refuel? went back looking for a fuel bunk and their aint one in the impartant hub of north Sikkim! Now i dont have enough fuel to go the gurdongmor and come back. None of the shops had fuel, people gave different suggestions and all the sources turned negative, near by Brigade at pegong did not have and so did the couple of towns towards mangan. They just had Diesel. At a deisal pump, a guy said that near Lachen i will definetly find fuel which is being sold unofficially at CWC. He gave assurance. Well atleast i will be heading towards Gurdongmor so i started. It was a nice ride as well but marred mood out as i could not call and uncertainity about fuel.

Reached the CWc after 20 kms and the guy over there promptly said no fuel. This is getting ridicules. He gave suggestions of a town ahead or State Intelligence Beuro, who have a petrol jepsee. I went ahead to the Choten town and you guessed it no fuel. Went ahead and requested a army Brigade 2 kms before Lachen for fuel. They had strict rules about giving fuel so they can help. But was offered to stay there, and get the fuel from Mangan the next day. Well that did not do any good so politely declined and continued. I knew the army stay would not be available to me when i need it and now i get when have other things on priority. Any way reached Lachen 6.30 and got negative at SIB too. Boy are the hotels expensive there. 800 1000 crap. Then a person guided me to Lutong Hotel which was under construction. Dint feel like staying there but the room it self was good. So houled up there for 300 bux. Even the hotel owner tried her best to get fuel from her know sources. She was expecting a petrol jipsee that evening with whome i could request. But i know that there is a land slide and the jipsee cant make it. Man this is really fraustrating. I just have 70 kms of fuel and i need atleast 6 liters to make it to gurdongmor and back to Mangan. With current holding i can only go back to mangan 6o kms away. One guy said i can get fuel at ITBP at Thangu 30 kms north. But if i dont get there then i will be stuck! Not knowing what to do, i just put an alarm for 5Am and went to sleep. Man what a contrast between the Euforian in the morning and fraustration int he evening!

The pretty dining area of Hotel Karzan...


The host...


Hot breakfast...


Clear skys and snow caped peaks clearly visible





Climbing up to Yumthong








Some Macros...











Whats the fun without water crossing...


Either side of the road was colorful with these flowers...








Strange hallowed out tree but still green above....


Me at Yumthong...


The river Teesta...


And i offroad...not that it was tough...


The meadow littered with these flowers...


Some filmy scene happening on the rocks...


Me the poser...


Awesome views near the river....





Lot of Yaks around...





This looks like a cross between Yak and a cow so i call it Yaow!


I call this Grisley Yaow!


A stupa there...


I ride ahead towards YumeSamdong...





Can see the whole of Yumthong valley while going up...


Getting higher...


Road not so good...





Now who put the rock on the road...


Silky smooth...


Clouds engulfing the mountains...


Getting bettor and bettor...











Bridge broken have to offroad...








The broken bridge...


Looks good on the other side...








At the Zero point... came to know that is Yume Samdong.. Good that i applied permit till here...


Now have to pose don i?





The only hotel...


The hosts, dorji and chopel.. pretty happy to get a customer.. the broken bridge hurting their business. only a few vehicles come there cos of that...


The yak hut..


Even in the freezing winds its pretty warm in there.. its wind proff and water proff though its perforated!! static electricity???


Nothing like a cup of hot channa...


and high altitude maggie:D


A couple of private vehicles join..


The revellers...


Hehe


Some hiked far to play...


Lot of war bunkers...


Inside...


I spot a black Zma from my bunker... all units take evasive action!








The dred path again...


Me at it...


The Yumthong valley getting dull


The bloom on either side of the road...









7 comments:

SKS said...

lovely pics... makes me jealousssssss

Simon said...

Just been reading your blog. Absolutely fabulous photos here!! Very jealous although I will be heading up this way in September in an auto rickshaw :)

Praveen said...

You will get your day SKS :P

Glad you liked the logs Simon. But Auto RIkshaw??!! More details please :)

Raghav said...

I have been going through your blog and pics non stop since Saturday!.... Great! Keep on Going.. Best of luck...

Aditya said...

Hey,

I too was in Zero point on the 8th May! The photos look real similar especially the huge boulder that fell in the middle of the road.

Great place!

Satish said...

Nice day dude.. Pics are awesome. And loved your YAOW. lol

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