Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 134 - July 20 - Surmoor 2 Wari La 2 Leh

July20 at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: Travel Community

166 KMs Trip meter 17455 KMs

Plan was to get up early and tryout Warila. Like always got lazy and took my own sweet time. Enjoying the ambiance in the Guest house and also the good service all at reasonable price. So moved out by like 9.30 am. Now there was a big water crossing to do if i want to try out Warila and i thought if its anything more then a lil effort i would give it up and ride to k-top. Lot of uncertainty on this less used road. I confess i wanted the water crossing to be bad enough to convincingly deter me else there would be a war in the mind whether to or not!

Ride out leisurely and looking around and observing the mountains and everything, riding at 30 kmph where 100 was easily possible. I was confident that the bridge before Agham would not have been built :D Never observed mountains closely. Even recognized the cliffs beside the road to Hunder on the other side of the shyok river. When i was riding to hunder i saw those tall solid cliffs and wondered where did all those loose small rocks come from if it was so solid. Now i can see that the cliffs were only the base and there was huge huge mountain range above them throwing out the loose rocks! Weather was great and took it pretty easy. Reached the Nobra fork. Dunno what that place is called but looked nice to have something. It was a lone hotel and shop with miles together in all directions visible with nothing human. So i take a break and i was hungry as well. Met a couple of Hitch hikers, Robin and Horsie, who were waiting for just about any thing to give them a lift to Surmoor! They even walk in the direction if something is not available in that direction and hope for lift! Man talk about uncertainty. I kinda heard unconfirmed news from other bikers that k-top was closed for the day. But the army guys said may its open! Any way i carry on. Get to the deviation to Agham. The road looked pretty nice though. I take it and the moment after a turn in the road there was gravel and sand on the road. Guess the sign of things to come.

There was no info as to state of road and how much offroads etc. But right from the start things around looked good. Except as expected there was no traffic. There was a local women and she confirmed that bikes can go no problem etc. well i got to see it. After some undulating ride on the mountain wall, ride down to the valley floor and suddenly there is small stretch of nothing but rocks! The offroad path ahead looked ok so i rode on. i could see a big stream passing to my left and i would have to cross it i thought. I take a left turn and voila there is this long and wide fresh looking cement water runoff. Convenient! Saved a quite a few feet of rough surface. There was water flat for quite some feet. With concrete it was nothing at all. After lil more offroading i seem to be nearing the water/river crossing and voila again there is a bridge. The water below looked fierce and i would have happily turned back if the bridge was not there. Looks like i am going to attempt Warila and its like almost past 12. All of a sudden i seem to be in a hurry. Cursing for lazing in the morning. Then on the road was just fantastic one laned road. I just hoped that its not a trap cos the more time i spend there the more i have to commit in getting to the other side of wari la else i would be stuck in the valley. Its right in the middle of the valley floor, kinda like made on the river bed. Either side of the road there was this dried up river bed like stones sand and then valley walls on both the sides. Rode like that for 5-6 kms and looked like that for few more. Took a break and what a place. Cos of walls on either side there was no wind, no sound and no one and good road too! It was a great break there. Wished i had started earlier. Continued and in no time the euphoric hit a rough. The road ended suddenly to a rocky offroad path! After like a Km i was wondering for how long is this. There was a lone home and i honked at the resident gesturing to come to me. cos i could not park the bike in sand. I was told that i would get black top after lil distance and its ok to ride till Warila!

She was right, crossed a bridge and there was black top. It was fresh. I hate fresh roads, cos they may end any time! Then i see a Army jeep approach from the opposite direction. This was an even cos i had not seen another vehicle in like 1.5 hours! Its all hurry hurry now but photography takes a priority. Decide to skip a meal to make up for some time. I see a barracks to my left and talked to the person. It belonged to GREF. He told me about a water crossing ahead and a broken bridge ahead of it! Man! I was told there 3-4 bullets went by the yesterday. So i should make it he said. Well i have my reservations. I ride ahead and see a lone trekker coming down. He's Kulpreet and taking a hike as he had come to visit his brother in army. Requested me to accompany me to the broken bridge just in case i needed help. He obliged and i get there. Its like a feet deep. But the water is calmly flowing by. Kulpreet stands in the middle of the water just in case, i wear my gaiters and wade my way through! Guess have confidence of backup makes all the difference, else would have been a bit tense on my own. Thanked a lot and i ride ahead.

From here its all accent. And kinda getting out to the open. I take a turn and there is one more water crossing with sand. make through that also. Dunno what more surprises are awaiting me. Getting high and high the euphoria is back and enjoy the clear weather the land scape and climb. the road was good too. Was glad that i took this route but had the fear of unknown. Stopped many times for pix. My bike started struggling and i was relegated to 1st and 2nd gear. Checked the altitude on the fone and it was hardly 3500 meters! That was a concern cos would be climbing at least 2000 meters more! I could see a few snow top mountains i am approaching but not sure where the pass is. The look so near in the clear air but its quite far and i just keep ascending. Kinda when out of the valley there was moving air and some green moss around and soon bike started performing bettor! guess its the lack of oxygen in the valley below that was causing trouble. The ambiance changed from brown to green getting higher strange. Its getting much more scenic compared to k-top. I see a few people settling beside the road and thought they were villagers. I could see a zigzag on the white top mountain ahead and got an idea as to where i will be riding. No i will not be there in some time! cos just after a couple of kms and there was a water crossing! This was a big and strange one. Could not believe my eyes. Its like a entire large stream was using the road for 50-60 feet before going to the other side. Its not like its going perpendicular to the road! Man i am in trouble. I walked along the bank of the road! to do a recce and it was not very deep prolly ranging from 4 - 10 inches. But here was lot of stones of all shapes and sizes and the water was bit murky and forceful. I was not sure of making all the distance by myself. I was just wondered what to do. It was like 3pm and i cant go back and i have to hurry as there is the decent as well!

Rode down to the few people i saw below. It turned out there were a couple of kms behind. Man when will they come even if they agreed. Its seems there were actually from a camping company setting up tents and were in a schedule to get the tent up before their clients arrive! So they were help less. This is waste of time, the more time the more water at the crossing. But they do suggest that there were a couple of ppl staying in tent above before the crossing and i could ask them help. Well gotto give it a try. Road up more than a km and sure i see a tent. I walk up and boy was i getting tired. Its the altitude. was above 4k meters u see. Asked the man for help in return for couple of hundred bux. He agreed and two people ready to get into water! They were basically yak herders watching over their yaks grazing a lil distance away. I ride up the the water crossing. Take my tank bag the other side while they come. First the guy asked if its ok that he will ride it out! But that one less person managing the bike from falling! I cant do that. So i ride while they kinda push and mainly dont let the bike fall down. It was tough even with the help. My feet are in ice cold water in no time. It was straineous and had cramps in the hands. But with help the bike was on the other side with rubber side down. Phew. Not sure if i would have made it on my own. It would have been too tiring and would have let the bike drop i guess. Any way happy that i am on the other side and i was assured that no more water crossing ahead as there are bridges. I thanked Norbu and Nobzung, paid them and even gave them chocolates. Was lucky cos i found no people in between.

No as the final accent starts, like all the passes the road becomes path and rough. with small streams of ice melt runoffs etc. Road becomes rough as well. Then i see two Toyota qualis heading down. They were carrying the clients for the tents. Must say the camping site was beautiful. The whole place was beautiful. Stopped for many pix. And finally make it to the Warila top. There is no board but for Prayer flags like on top of the passes and a temple near by. the path went down after that so thought this was the top. Spent a few mins there trying to get my breath right. My stomach started cramping. I guess the effect of altitude is showing as i spent quite some time above 4k meters and did a bit of running around as well. Then its the descent and it looks so different on the other side. Mountains in layers of colors starting from brown to black to white tops. The getting down was rough as the lot of loose stones especially around switch backs. Negotiate carefully. The going is really slow. Could see black top wide loops below. But not going to get there any time soon. Its real slow going. I look back and seems like i just left the pass top! With clear air things look nearer then they actually are. The two qualis return back dropping their clients. Of course they were surprised to find a lone biker in this less used trail and asked if i needed help. Continued my slow ride. I was not in hurry any more. It was like 4.30 5 and weather is clear and was taking it easy. The climbing down just never seems to end. With loosing altitude breathing and stomach seems to get bettor. Take as many breaks i want. Once i head the smooth road the mountains around also smoothend and it was very nice as well. The evening glow of the sun just above the mountain anytime waiting to dive behind. It was all great. But felt bit tired as well.

Get to Sakti village and think of options. Its like 6 pm and no way i want to do changla in the dark. I have to head till Karu to fuel up and kinda stay there. But with Leh just 35kms from there on smooth two laned road its an half hour affair. So i decided to ride down to Leh any way. Made it like 7 pm. And get to the mech before entering the town. I see four bulleters and in a chat found they were the ones who made it to warila the previous day. But they were in schedule and had pushed till Tangse and are back today after pangong visit. Kinda tempted to chill out at leh for a day. Even after half hour the mech is in no mood to check out just the chain! Have an argument and i leave. I had some things to buy before i head out, fuel was not available for the day. I was tired and decided to chill out at Leh for a day. It was a nice day's ride.

Room at A.O. Guest house at Surmoor...


Pretty lil Guest house...


Some flowers...





Mountains visible from the garden...


All this for 450 bux for the night stay and 3 meals put together!


Mountains around Nobra valley...


Lone rlazy ride...


Those are the Cliffs you see by the road on the way to Hunder. The ones towards bottem left. They looked huge and high but now they are just the base of the huge'er mountain!


Strange formations...


This is where the Nobra valley forks. Can see both the vallies on either side of the photograph. Needed a wide angle lense for this...


Colorful shrubs on the way....


Road carved out of once river bed of something...


Liked the place for a break...


Had my fill here. It was just a T junction looked like in middle of no where and just a tea stall...


Have to cross those white top mountains one way or the other....


Taking a left towards Agham, to try for Wari La....


The road less used...





At that point not sure how long is the stone track! Just carried on till i saw the river crossing point!


This is so conveniant... easy to ride out the streams...


Wow! the bridge is ready. Else i would have happily turned back towards k'top


The road looks nice ahead...





Some steepish undulating narrow terrain... The rocks must have been laughing when i was honking in blinds... Rarely used road...


Going down to the river bed...


It was fantastice riding on the river bed road in the center of the valley floor with mountain range on both the sides...


Loving it...


Some snax!!!


Looks like lot of work is put on this less used road. Else this would have been a big water crossing!








Now landed up on this. was like this for couple of kms!


Found black top soon...


Plants growing in the middle of the road, tells you about the frequency of the road usage!!


Lot of Gonpas...


Some work is done towards rolling that stone away!


GREF barracs on the way...


The small water crossing... The qualis had parked on the good part!


Kinda riding up towards the ridge...


The broken bridge!


Kulpreet, moral support just in case i needed help in the crossing... Thanks man...


Climbing up towards the right mountain ridge.. Lil of the white tops visible.. Wari La should be somewhere up there...


Wasnt too soft a sand luckily...


Was riding in the cravase that you in the center, for some time before coming to the open...


There is only one way now... up!


Leaving behind the switch backs...








I am staying away from the short cuts!








Thought they were villagers...


settling for the day...


Looks like the pass ahead...


On zoom i see a zig zag, guess will be heading there...


The mules role in the dust to get ride of tix i guess...


Now where did this come from... the stream using the road for 50- 60 feet. There are bridges for small streams and this huge one is left alone!...


Its just half of the crossing...


The helping hands Norbu and Nobzing, cos of whom my bike on this side of the water crossing.


The yaks of Norbu and his son...


Leaving behind the pretty valley...


Nearing the top...


Switch backs i rode up...


Like all passes not so good at the top...


Nice place for camping...





At Wari La...


Its a board about snow melt water harvesting... but that was the only board around!


17374 feet says my fone... Just 300 feet less than k-top... according to my fone!


The other side of Wari La....


The natural expressio after crossing Wari La...


Drink bought at k-top and consumed at w-top.. Dont worry i carried the empty can with me for orderly disposal :)


The roads not so good going down the other side as well!


See black top below...


The qualis returning after dropping off their clients at the camping site on the other side of Warila...


Yellow stones!


Just a guy and his bike!


The W-top looks so near but its well over half hour of decending!


Long way down...


Looks great too...


Mountain ranges in the order of Brown, black and white!


Its gets prettier going down...


One more lazy break...


Some happy go clicking...











The Sakti village below...


A dilapidated fort at Sakti village...


Info about the route taken at Sakti village...


Fast roads to Leh so i head to Leh...
Vertical travel for the day...

10 comments:

SKS said...

i sooo f***in envy you... good going dude!

santosh said...

hey its gr8 gr8 to c u in Warila...we not abel to get photos..becz we dun 2 tim 1 in eve and one in n8 ard 11pm..........its beautiful pass......................
thxs keeeeeeeeeep going.....and try to go to hannal monastry,,,,,

Jagan Balireddy said...

Praveen!!

So good to read the post. Hope u are doin well. Take care of yourself and try becoming stronger when this trip ends.

I wish you good luck!
Regards,
Jagan

Jagan Balireddy said...

That expression of yours.. lol. I came back today to the blog to look at it... he he he

Everyman said...

Remarkable stuff...did the ride to Ladakh, K-top etc recently, so know what this is all about. Awesome!

Praveen said...

SKS: Me too :D. Thanks man :)

Thanks santosh, i was there but skipped Hanle monastery as it would take lot of time and effort...

Thanks for the words Jagan, hope you had a good rest of the trip :)

Thanks Everyman :)

出張ホスト said...

女性会員様増加につき、当サイトの出張ホストが不足中です。女性の自宅やホテルに出向き、欲望を満たすお手伝いをしてくれる男性アルバイトをただいま募集していますので、興味のある方はTOPページから無料登録をお願いいたします

家出 said...

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救援部 said...

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Nick Irvine-Fortescue said...

You returned to Leh on the same day? Funny, did you have a really short holiday?
Ok so 150km isnt so much but I met a lot of Indian bikers who were really pushing themselves and would ride in the dark even in Ladakh.

I'm a very slack biker in comparison, my average speed works out at about 20km/h because i'm always stopping for tea and to take photos.

I hated riding in the dark in India: if the scenery was beautiful you missed it and if it was a highway you got blinded by the trucks' full-beam headlights.