Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 99 - June 15 - Jomsom 2 Muktinath 2 Pokhara

June15 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Community

206 KMs Trip meter 12865

Big day today. Wake up by 5am and out by 6am. Out of the town and soon realize the path is not so smooth and also its only getting worse. Plan is to Muktinath and back in 3 hours or so I thought. Soon i ride out of life signs. Ride by the mountain side with the river bed to the left. After some time there is a fork. One going to the right up the mountain and I kinda can make out a path going above. But the path seemed less used. The other going to the river bed. The path looked smooth and i see a fresh tracks of water from the near by small water crossing. OK! i take it too. In no time my illusion was broken. It not at all smooth with rounded stones. Manage most of the river bed section slowly. See some stones ahead and wanted to shift to the other lane going over the center line of rounded stones. Big mistake! lost traction in the left leg and the bike is down tipping over precariously on the middle of the track. I cannot believe it! First time i am in that situation in the whole trip. No one in the sight around. Shit i am trouble! Try 4-5 times to lift it but there is not grip under the foot as its just soft sand and hard below. I know every time i try that i will be risking lot of cramps. I thought of waiting their for some1 to pass so that i can call for help. But I see oil. Its fuel from the tank slowly flowing out as the bike is more than 90 degrees tipped over. Gosh the last thing i want in this place is to run out of fuel! So there is no time to wait. I use my bare hands to shove away stones and mud from the place where the rear tire should touch down and also from my foot hold. I give it all i got and its up! The bike is up and i cant believe this too. But this has drained me a lot and my hands are shaking. I dont think i can balance the process of putting leg over. Put the side stand and get over. Bike does not start. Prolly carb drained out. Chock does not help. Open the fuel cap to remove the airlock and close. Now the bike purrs and starts in a few tries. Bring it to the lane and put it on side stand. Sit on a near by stone to catch my breath. Know thats a lot of LOVE! (loss of valuable energy) Hadn’t eaten the morning as well. Sure enough i get cramps. Not enough to immobilize me. Do some stretching. I have to be on my way. There is not time to waste. Its already like 1.5 hours now. Get on the bike and its much more harder to ride the bike with the body aching. Make it out of the riverbed but the mountain side path is also horrible. Small loose stones so many of them. How can a path be made in such disregard i thought. But well vehicles with more than 2 wheels have it easy. Plus i see locals around riding two wheelers at ease. For me, the bike is heavy, and the bike is too heavy for me. There is a detour to the village Kagbeni. Thinking should i venture, hell y not. Do some more up and down riding and see the path to kagbeni village going down. Seems like a lot of work. So i skip it as my main destination for the day is Muktinath which is some distance away. Here there is a climb on the narrow path and once above there is bit of plains and it was amazing over there. All the effort felt worth it. Love that huge wide open expanses. Could see the picturesque kagbeni village below. Clear sky the plain that i will be riding and hazy Yak mountain ahead. It was fantastic, wish i had more energy and more time to spend there. i ride on only to be more and more amazed. see a town but it aint muktinath but kinga. Its so pretty with lush green vegetation and farming. Things change here pretty quick.

Next settlement is jorkat. The path gets rougher in different ways. At jorkat i see the next settlement of Muktinath. I am getting close. Out of jorkat it gets arid again. some climb on the slippery/rocky path and i am in Muktinath. Thought of a quick darshan and then food yes food. But not so fast. Go to the end of the town and the temple is above. I see steps and i was told bikes make it up there. I give a try by the small incline next to the steps, both the wheels loose tracking and I slide down back like 10 feet! Luckily the bike is upright and i take a hit on ... you know where. Guess I am too tired to try that. Leave the bike there and start walking. The temple is way up and I have got climb. I am going any way. All but could only smile at the task ahead being so hungry. I see locals who climbed up the stairs on their bikes and are ripping through the narrow muddy track up! Envied there skills. Later came to know that they were providing taxi service for a fee. Reach the temple gate and lot more step inside. Ok coming this far I march ahead. Get to the temple. Thought I was pretty small compared to its fame. There was this 108 holy water outlets behind the temple. A holy and evil water pond in the front. By not my body is aching bad. I walk just touching water from the 108 outlets. Actually there was raining so that people can walk under it taking bath under each one of em. But just hand it self was painfully freezing by now. Get inside the temple and out. Now i can go have some food. Buy a Saligram as souvenir. Basically a fossil stone hallowed out by a shellfish body. Long long time ago. Buy a photograph of the god. Photography is not allowed inside but its sold outside!!

Get into a hotel for some quick food. Corn flakes should be quick and energy giver. All this as taken 4 hours! I still have to get back to Jomsom and make it pokhara by EOD! Now i decide on very lil pic stops. I am more than tired than ever. Weigh lifting is not my forte! I seem to be riding a bit fast than usual. Thats cos riding slow takes more effort and i am not able to do that. Momentum helps in balancing but more chances of dropping the bike. Try hard to find the balance. Now all I think is to get myself to Jomsom. The path feels rougher than ever. Spend a few mins at the plain I told about. Just trying to gasp the openness. Have to leave. Negotiate the path and enter the dreaded river bed section. Its hard very hard. Cant even ride a bit slow. Just when i was almost done with the incline, it happens again. Have to go a bit right, the front wheel hits the center pile of rounded stones and looses it and the bike tips over. Ghosh this cant be happening! Again no one in sight. The bike is in bettor position then last time. Give a huge try and its up. My hands have cramped up into folding. But no time to relax. If I delay I will not be able to cross the possible slush sections definitely not with energy drained out. I ride it out till jomsom and make it by 11 am. Just crash on the bed. The second lift has really taken a toll and I am very very tired and body aching. Weather looks good today but who know when it might rain. I so wanted to rest there but have to move on. Get pain killer tablets, food, packup and ride towards south 12 noon.

Now the daunting task of all the 85 kms of offroad. I can feel every bump larger. Uncertain of how much i can take just ride on. It surprising how much you can do if you have no choice! My offroad confidence seems to have gone down. Managing the heavy bike is taxing now. I have like 6 hours to get to Baglung, if i can by day light. Again thought of very lil pic stops. The fone charger is not working. Looks like the GPS tracking days are over! Get into the marpha town just for the heck of it. It sure was fun riding in the narrow town path:D then the path gets more and more rougher. There is a lot of wind too. The same spots which was just things to ride now gives me scars of bike tipping over. But my speed seems to be good. Not that I have become good, but bit slower bike becomes unmanageable. Taking help of momentum and luck. In 45 mins the whole plate of fried rice is gone and i am damn hungry! But not time to stop. Have an energy chocolate bar and ride on. I seem to be a bit faster than a truck as i am made to wait every few mins for the truck to go away so the dust settles. i so wish i was ahead of him. So that if my bike falls I know there can be help arriving. I get a chance as the truck waits narrow place for an approaching truck. I whisk ahead of him and stop. Good, cos I cant lift my bike any more. Reach lete thought of having food. But thought of finishing the stones in the 'danger' section(what the locals call) first, have food at Dana and take on the possible slush monsters after food. The lete town street was more irritating than ever. Really wanted to punch the designer of it :D The rough ups and downs which i just passed yesterday are not giving me fright. Going down with a heavy bike but was more and more taxing. There is not let off. Long inclines down. Stop every now and then examine the least cost path. Have plenty of scares loosing the bike. Then there is a upward strech. Thought its ok as going up was ok y'day. But now today the front in the air a bit and looses grip the bike is tipping, I throttle a bit not letting go and with a couple of left and right gyrating, the front catches grip and I bike is still vertical. All that happened subconsciously only to breath sigh relief later. Have some deep water crossings, which i took cooly keeping the handle bar steady y'day, now seem to loose the front causing the foot to get into water. But the bike is up, who cares of wet shoes! When i see a flat path bettor to gun, cos those are sand traps and have to slow down a lot.

By 3 pm i am done with the 'danger' section. Pretty good speed covering 40kms in 3 hours. Half way through. Food time now. The south skies looks clear but clouds are closing in on from the north west. This gets me impatient. So much tempted to skip the lunch. But i am so hungry that the stomach must be digesting itself inside out! Order a chowmin which is the only thing they can make quickly. Those 10 mins were very impatient as i can see the clouds cover the sky above and heading south. Off all the things i have to have a greasy chowmin? When I get the place, its made out of maggie. It looks great. It tastes splendid. Perfect not only can I finish it quickly, I can even have the whole plate. Those 20 mins there felt totally worth it. I get back onto the saddle. After some rest its seems so much harder to work. After some rough surfaces, its smooth I mean really smooth with thick layers of soft sand. Seems it has not rained for couple of days. One by one i pass sleeping slush monsters. This section till beni is like continuous humps. I am getting to ride all kinds of offroad. To add salt i see the locals ripping i mean ripping on their two wheelers as if it was tarmac!! And i am supposed to be a tough biker! The exadurated movements due to the humps is not helping at all. Reach beni by 5.30. I am making good progress and what luck there has been no rain and the path is dry. I dont think i could have got through if the road was wet.

Just 17 kms to hit the tarmac. But again not so easy. They are making road it seems. And like in india there have self righteously put the first layer of stones and mud. These continuous small bumps are getting more and more painful. I keep looking at the trip meter every few seconds. The meter is rolling very slow, very very slow. But i ride on without stopping. Just 3 kms to freedom there is a land slide clearing happening and have to wait out some time. See some locals crossing as the work is going on. Two people maneuvering the bike, with wheel spinning and all. No way i can do that so just wait it out. The earth mover flattens a fresh dump of mud and huge stones and the tractor guy is happy. Drives over it, then a truck with lil effort, then a mini bus which faces some wheel spin. Now my turn. No choice but going ahead. Its already getting dark. Ask a local to hold my bike as i pass through the slush. At one point i have to cross a murky slush water section and vehicles from opposite side are honking to give way! Well its time, i hold the handle bar stead and throttle through the patch and to my surprice i am out of the long patch!! Lil ride and i am on tarmac!! Never been so happy to see the road.

Still 70 kms to pokhara. So much tempted to stay at Baglung. But now that i will rest for a day or kinda have to any way. Want to be at pokhara so that i can save time heading out to India. With the smooth tarmac, body a bit relaxed, all the pains manifests itself more! The lower back muscles are stiff as stone and pain full. Now back to self motivating stuff like 'you can make it' etc. Just wonder if i will survive ladakh if and when i ride there!! Km by km i keep track on the meter. Its gets dark. Looks like an hour of night riding. Now i am convinced no way i am riding tomm. Finally i get into pokhara by 8.15 pm. Made it. Thought of fueling up just in case. But there is non at a bunk. Man again problems? i ride back some distance where i saw bikes getting fuel and fill mine to the brip. Now i have enough to ride into india when i get back to riding.

Get to the same hotel Barahi. They dont have the 'budget' room so i get a delux room and for 1000 nepali rs after i said 1.5k is too much for me. Its got an bath tub and an AC!! Either they are very impressed with my journey or good business sense in the offseason! Get a back massage in a saloon. Yes, all saloons here do massage for nominal price. Felt good but did not really help. Walk with great effort and crash in the room for the night.

Bike had been parked safely in the night...


Getting out of Jomsom...


Out in no time...


Nilgiri in the morning...


Follow the river...





Which way shall i take... no one to ask around, just study the tracks and found the one going into the riverbed more used so i also take it....


Down to the river bed i go. Looks smooth from here. But not really..


Riding on the river bed...





Then it happens... in a not so bright manuver!!


No 1 to ask for help...


Manage to bring it up. Can see the mud being cleared. Used bare hands for that!!


One of the towns enroute...





Getting away from civilization...


Riding over the kagbeni village...


Very nice eh?


Hairy goats...


Golden fields....


Only one way and thats up...


Going up and up...


Kagbeni village seen from above....


The lure of the montains again...


Some plains above...


Common just one pose!!


Kagbeni village...


Loved riding here...





Thats a walking trail going up to a temple or goemba, prolly you can spot a white structure at the end of the trail...





Towards muktinath...





Green fields from nowhere!!








And trees too!!


Thought that was Muktinath but was jorkot...





The cute calfs...








I finally make it....


Thought that was the temple but its up ahead....


This is where i stopped but locals do take their bikes up that!!


The altitude where i left my bike...


Some climb to the temple...


More climb....


The Muktinath temple...


The Adharm pond to the right and Dharm pond to the left!





108 holy water outlets...


Height of the temple...


The not so vella people out there...


Which one do i ring?


Buy the saligram as suvanir...


Muktinath photo sold outside, but photography was banned inside!!


A hotel with strange seating arrangements...


Its a freakin owl!!!


This is what happens to my face if i over exhert myself...


The yak mountain...





Dont know the name of this one...


On the way back...








This was so tough!!..








Bridge to get into Jomsom...


The hotel where i stayed...


Aircraft landing spot of jomsom airport runway...


Look back once before i turn away...


Nearing Marpha...


Riding in just for the heck of it...


In lete village, and hated this path to the core!!


Some ride between trees...


'Danger' area atleast thats what the locals call this strech...








After Tatopani, the slush monsters are still dormant, the rains have not awakened them! Really lucky at this count. Its supposed to be rainy season here!!..


Reach beni, tormac not too far...


Not letting me so easy. Have to cross this after a land slide has been cleared!!


AAAAH lovely lovely tarmac. I missed it so much!!


Vertical travel to Muktinath...


On way back to pokhara. Fone ran out of battery at beni...

10 comments:

Srinidhi said...

man...you are seriously something...look at your face....kudos PKM kudos

manikandaanr said...

parveen dont over do it da......u need lots of energy to come back....take care

Ashvin said...

'Danger' area looks supercool

Anonymous said...

All the best keep going..

jsr said...

great going, nice pics!
take care
--
jsr

Praveen said...

Srinidhi: Hehe yeah. But had no choice had to lift the bike myself.

Mani: Me to thought so. But more than offroading its the weightlifting that got me tired.

Ashwin: Yeah it was even cooler to look directly :)

Thanks Anon.

Thanks jsr :)

Prabul said...

wat a desolate strech!!! scary!!

Jon said...

nice looking trip. did the trek down from muktinah on foot and really enjoyed it, special place.

Amrita said...

Trip full of risks...u must had a very great Lifetime experience.

Praveen said...

Yes Amrita, it was. Lucky to come back in one piece but memories for life time i guess.