Solo exploration

anubis

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I had started recording this like a daily journal but like always got lazy and never posted it. Felt like sharing my travel stories with you guys, Hope you enjoy it.

Day 1 : 25/3/2017 Delhi to Chakrata.

  This was probably the most easiest 350km ride so far. For all who dont know what is happening, i quit my job couple of weeks ago, packed my bags and left.
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Without a destination in mind! But i knew i have a lot of friends whom i can contact en-route and eventually come up with a plan. So after years of thinking about a solo trip, far away from home, I was finally doing it. I could not have been more excited.

Actual day 1 of my ride was 11th March, Literally the very next day after my job ended. We had a quad chapter meet at Dandeli where members from Pune, Mumbai,
Hyderabad and Bangalore (where i belong) were gathering for a huge Holi party. And as per plan all reached the venue on 11 March and had one crazy party. And yes as
always it was a memorable event.
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13th March i left to Mumbai along with the Mumbai Chapter riders. The first 100 kms of ghat roads tricked me into believing that my ride was going to be amazing with all the twists and turns. Soon it dawned upon me, as soon as we reached the Pune Highway, i realized i had a very long way to go before I reach Delhi. The gateway to the mountains. But i fought through and made it to Mumbai. Stayed that night and couple of more nights in Mumbai coz i was sort of feeling
at home. So many friends there, meeting many of them after a few years.
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 I was glad i stopped there and yes i ended up at Hotel Fountain again for the 3rd time in 3 yrs.
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Next stop Baroda, but something special was awaiting en-route. I landed at Atul gau (20kms after Vapi).This was a planned stop to meet an old friend i met on the road.
2 yrs ago this man had helped me fix my engine without which i would not have been able to visit Rann of Kutch, Dholavira, Forts in Rajasthan or Chandigarh RM.
After just describing the incident he immediately remembered and mentioned everything about that day. He even went ahead and gave a quick look around the bike just
to make sure everything was fine.
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Exchanging best wishes to each other i continued to Baroda for my night stay. Next morning i start early to avoid heat (March/April - this part of India = Super Hot).


I reached Udaipur without any hassle and checked into a hotel my friend had arranged. It was his Wedding and boy was it a Big Fat Wedding.I was just amazed with the whole set up and arrangements for guests. Congrats Manchi, loved the food mate.
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Once i was out of the wedding ceremony, i suddenly realized 'Dilli duur hai(Delhi is still far)'. And this distance had to be covered. But one stop was definitely necessary.
The same spot where i met with a very scary accident but stood up to tell the tale. One toll before entering city of Ajmer.
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Since i had lot of time, i thought lets make this route  interesting, How about take a detour off of the main highway Visit Bangarh fort and via Alwar reach delhi. But i was discouraged of this idea as the route is notorious and definitely not safe for solo traveling. I had already experienced something similar in a different region of Rajasthan, a guy threw a stone towards my head and i could barely manage to escape as i noticed it just in time to speed up and take the chance of hopefully missing it. After this i would blindly believe the suggestions given by
locals. But Bangarh was still running in my head as i have tried going there twice before and failed, you will soon see why. So i decided to stay in Jaipur for two nights.
Do Bangarh and then the next day head to Delhi. But this was just the plan. Like the previous two times i reached Jaipur with issues on my bike.So i just decided Bangarh
was not for me. Three times things going wrong when i am heading towards Bangarh was a sign enough for me to change my mind. I straight hit the Delhi highway after
getting small fixes done on my Bike. My only goal was to reach Delhi and get a quick servicing done on my bike. Thankfully i was able to reach Delhi without any other
issues. Dilwalon ka Dilli, i reached Delhi and got escorted by Abid bhai to my place of stay. Boruah's place, he was not just kind enough to let me stay at his place but also share
his keys so that i am not left out in his absence. Delhi stay had one party every night and amazing food along with it. I so wish i had an appetite like before. Delhi
would have been a paradise. The day i went back to Delhi 6 (purani Dilli), i had an immediate connect with the city. I know i would love to live here inspite of the
traffic.

With all the partying and getting high daily, we managed to make an itinerary for my ride. I left this to the experts. Abid bhai helped me finalise a dream route covering almost everything in Uttharakhand. Today was the day. I woke up early, all prepped for the ride and i could not contain my excitement. But first had to say bye for now to Mangi, Abid and Raman and all other Dilli waley who have been wishing me best. I started my ride much later than i had planned but we knew that it was a easy route and i can pull it off easily. With minimal breaks and trying not to depend on GPS and more on enquiring the route from the locals, i made a boo boo. Instead of taking by pass from Karnal i took the wrong turn but i soon realised something was not right and checked maps immediately. I was away from the route but a small detour could put me back on track. So i took that route and came across these vast fields and started contemplating the life i think a farmer has and what is the reality.

With a fresh and happy thought i exit to the main road and to my amazement i can see the mountains in front of me. i was all the more excited to reach Chakrata. It was a good 120km from this point but i did not feel it one bit and before i realized, i had reached my place of stay for the night. Ramtal Garden,Nagau,chakrata. Away from any town or city, atop a hill, quite and secluded it was just perfect. I tried my hand with a camera but was not very happy with it so just ordered myself a Maggi,rolled one and wrote this...... Until tomorrow.....
 

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anubis

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Surprisingly there is a limit on number of attachments in a post, so this image is for previous "ordered maggi, rolled one.......... "
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Day 2 : Chakrata to Barkot

I knew the distance was very short woke up late, unlike on any other ride day. 8 : 00 AM i wake up to feeling that i can sleep for a little while longer, i dont have to be at work, i dont need to call in Sick, nor answer my dad about why i am not going to work. i can just sleep. But as you are very punctual to the world, you inform the property guys to arrange breakfast by 8:30 instead of their usual 9:00 AM. So as a tight slap to my punctuality, the guy comes by the tent and says "Bhaiya, breakfast ready hai, aap karlo jaldi nikalna hai bol rahey the!". In deep sense of shame i responded " Haan bhaiya, 10 15 min main ready hokar aata hoon". i manged to enter the dining area by 9:20. For people who have seen me off late, you know how much i eat right? So although there was a spread of bread, butter, jam, parantha, coffee, tea..... my breakfast was 1 full aloo parantha and i was done. well not yet, now i had to load the bike.

Surprisingly today was the longest i took to pack my bags on the bike. (All the veteran riders will agree the first  couple of days of the ride you struggle with which bungee where , what bag where etc and after a few iterations in first few days you end up with this perfect set up that would take you least amount of time to pack your bags on bike just like  an F1 tyre change team would work.)

finally i was done, i lit myself a spliff and was ready to leave. i enquired about chakrata to pick up some medicines and a pair of warm gloves(turned out to be the wisest decision ever). but while i was enquiring little did i know i will undergo enquiry sooner than i can imagine. i travel the quick, beautiful and short 9 km to chakrata and stop at a Y junction to check on Google Maps. But wait as i make the move i am waved down by an army personnel. asked multiple questions and
constantly updating team. And when you are carrying and he keeps pointing up saying "chaliye officer saab se milne".... tab toh G***d phatti hai bhai. but luckily i got waved off to go and move to destination and not stop here and there. i happily ride 100 mts another person stops me and goes on with same set of questions. i said "neeche ek jan ne mujhse yeh sab pucha aur allow kiya. He said "kaun tha wahan?".... i thought to myself should i be asking someone their name while being questioned. i promptly said, "unka naam nahin pucha sir, woh bhi uniform main the." he let me go after that. but the confusions have not ended yet. i finish my shopping, struggle to get my bike out amidst all the sumos that were parked around and some how managed to get to the town. i just thought would be a wise idea to fill up the tank as i was taking a road less travelled. I am told i have to go to the same market to get petrol in black. No petrol pumps any where close. i just realized i will have to go through those two jawans again. But this had to be done so i proceed into getting the fuel and luckily no questioning, they are obviously nice people duty makes them be tuff at times. Back to the story, with full tank of petrol i venture into the unknown. And its not just your text book definition unknown , this route was such that a even the local villagers did not know about roads two villages beyond his. And with Google baba on my side i
start riding, first i follow the instructions and start riding on beautiful roads, remembered Abid saying "Thanta ka route bahut scenic hai", so i was like what the hell "thanta it is".... but about 25 kms into the ride, i hit a Y point and google said "Take Left" and i did. The road continued to be beautiful like in Nascars "Untill the first turn"... i take a left and the road is literally non existant. Why would the road contractor play such a nasty joke on people like us. He will be
thinking "i know there is no road ahead but just for fun we will add some tarmac and fool tourists" . And it works people.


I did not turn back instead kept inching towards thanta highway. 10 kms still no roads, 20 kms still no road. finally i stop to ask a shepherd about the route. He said "aage rasta aur bhi kharab hai. Aap wapas jakar aur ek rasta lelo." i being the stupid one, did not believe him. I asked two more shepherds while i had already started returning. Like i would change my mind after that road. I ended up doing a rough 45km off road, terribly bad for my bike. but i was relieved as the road was beautiful once i returned on the right route. Asking people Barkot  and people giving you mixed response saying "shayad jaati hai", "nahin saab aap galath aagaye, mussorie ke raste se jaana tha" and an occasional "bilkul jayega". with all the confusion i managed to reach a small village which was about 22 km from the bridge that i needed to cross to get on the other side of the river. i ask again " Bhai yeh barkot ka raasta hai na?". he responded "haan sir, yahan se neeche uthrega na toh ek pulya milega usko lage hua rasta lekar upar ko nikal jao". Fair enough right , he explained in very simple way? Wrong..

If you see he only said neeche chale jao. he did not say 100 mts away you have to again make a choice between good roads and bad roads, so to get down you can choose the good road which will still take you to same place but looks like you are climbing up while making the choice.  So i just followed instructions as i have always been programmed this way. i took the bad roads because he said "neeche uthro pulya milega" so main uthra, aur uthra aur thoda uthra. 22 km of absolutely no roads again morning show part two. I know there is something good at the end but the process seemed too tough and mind numbing. I endured the roads and reached the infamous "pulya" i had been on a quest for. But just couple of kms before the bridge i landed at a place called lakhmandal. I stopped at the only hotel in the village as i had eaten nothing post breakfast. the only hotel there sells only momos. So i ordered 1 plate,unaware that there is only fried momo and only veg momo. I had to make the moment a little more bearable. So i start chatting with the guy, what is famous around this place and he starts on with an amusing story of how this could be one of the oldest temple towns in the world. Suddenly it did not matter that i was eating non chicken/non steamed momo. i listen to him carefully and get to know the name of the town is quite literally place of a lakh shiva linga. i was fascinated with the facts so i went into the temple. i sat with the priest and asked him to tell me more about the place. he starts with some facts where he credits 2007 archeological study in the area to discover the actual existence of all the shiv ling. Then he goes on to explain that there are at least a few thousand different gods sculptures found here. you name a god from any part of the country and a high possibility that we have a sculpture or is yet to be found there. then he moves on to tell about the 4 yugas as per the hindu scriptures. And apparently shivling has different forms and colors in each yuga and the black one we worship is for Kali yuga, the last yuga before end of world. He starts to talk about one very different shiv linga here, if poured water on the linga, it reflects like a mirror. i could literally see every bit of detail on clothin i was wearing, thats how clear it is up close. he told why this was made here, apparently this was to depict a scene from mahabharatha. The pandavas were searching for lord shiva, as to lift off their curse they had to touch the lord himself. SO this was one of the stops where lord showed himself and the delightful pandavas go close and pour water as a part of showing praise and respect and the lord disappears leaving an image of the pandavas themselves in front of them.
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After a good session of talk with the preist there, i walk out of the temple much happier than when i entered this hidden small village. I start riding towards the bridge crossed it and ride up towards barkot and Post this it was amazing roads, i covered a lot of distance in very short time.

As i was about 10 12 kms from barkot, i got a glimpse of what i was not mentally prepared for.

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I yelled on top of my voice and pointed my finger towards the peak and said "Finally you called". i kept riding the same  direction and the snow clad mountain kept playing hide and seek with me. i reached barkot and realized i was still far away from the mountains. i look at the time it was just 3:50PM. i still had good two hours of sunlight, so i popped the gear and again started this small game of hide and seek with the mountains about 1.5 hours into the game and 50kms i reached the last town on this road. beyond this its paidal yathra to Yamunotri temple.I end up in a small quite lodge, with a lot of college girls in neighboring lodges. i took a shower, took a small stroll until i could look at the mountains. had roti - daal, rolled one and wrote this.... Until tomorrow...

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Philip

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Good start Keerthi


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Umang Malik

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way to go brother... looking forward to the next part
 

anubis

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day 3 - YAMUNOTRI TREK


It was much cooler than chakrata at yamunotri base. i was staying at the last chatti before the trek starts. Accept my apology as i am
about 5 days behind on writing my logs and might not get a lot of names of places right but will try and keep it real.

So i wake at around 7 AM. i walk out and get a beautiful view of the mountains and the sun was already making it look like it was showered with gold.

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I ask the hotel guy for tea without milk and he gladly prepares one for me. I started to talk about the trek, a very important detail i missed to tell i had severe cold and cough on this day. so my enthusiasm if there was any to climb yamunotri, was dead by now. i was feeling very weak. But the guys pumped me up by saying you have come so far riding, don't return from here, do the trek. the pep talk worked and by 8:30 i was on my long solo walk to the top of yamunotri and visit the temple. I even decided to carry extra pair of clothes as there is a natural hot spring on the top and there is no sign of hot water to bathe at the place i stayed. second day without a shower, water is just too cold, i did not have the balls to bathe with this. Anyways getting back to the trek, Before i started my ride from Delhi one wise man had suggested "for treks all you need is some energy (pointing to the joint in his hand)". the name of this wise man is Umang Malik ;).
I blindly followed his advise and rolled one before i left. i walked the first 3 kms in a trance i cant explain and believe me it was only 9:45 AM
i had climed first 3 kms in 1 hour so the next 2 should take me only 45 mins, i was not too slow compared to locals who do it in 1 hour 15 - 30 mins
But wait,this is exactly when the climb starts, trust me post this every 100 mts i was stopping for a gasp of air and a sip of water.
Another wise suggestion taken, before the trip started, Satish suggested to take Nandeesh's hydration pack for water on the trip, and  so i was
always hydrated through all the treks i have done so far on this trip.

Getting back to the climb, it was 2 hours after the first 3 kms and i had just reached snow.

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People had told half a km before the temple there is snow and had given me a staff to take support with. Such nice people in the hills i cant explain. So humble, such basic and minimalist life they lead its very obvious to bring in this non greedy helping attitude. I know i wander off the topic way too often but these had to be put out in words. But for the view that i cant put in words, here are some pictures.

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So after roughly 3 and a half hour of walking i reached the temple. the sight is just so amazing. a tiny temple town hidden amidst giant rocks we call himalayas and one of them is Yamunotri the creator of river Yamuna.

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See the delay in recording is affecting the story, there is a very important bit i am missing here. my experiences while i was doing the trek. So at the

start of the trek 8 AM was too early for the guy to prepare breakfast, so he suggested "upar apne babaji hai,unko boldo aravind annexie se aaye ho, woh jo
chaho paka denge khane ke liye". And when you trek, you off course trek with absolute essentials and nothing else. While you are on a solo trip there are a few things you need to remember, there is nobody around to motivate you or praise you or correct you. You are to do all those jobs yourself. And you need some kind of motivation to look forward to, like a prize or something you will get at the end. So on this trek i chose that to be food. But while i am constantly motivating myself with food, I was  speculating what i should order considering i have to walk back etc. Then suddenly it occurred to me that i dont have money on me while i was about 2 kms into the trek. And in that zombie walk of mine it struck to me that the guy down hill did not explain if babaji will charge me or not. So with this same thought in my head constantly, i started being very hungry. It came to a point where the thought of asking any passer by to lend me 50 or 100 rs and will return when i come down to the town, or atleast give me a packet of parleG or a fruit or something.

 I am not kidding i was struggling to stay motivated to complete the walk with this hunger. but i was constantly telling myself what if he doesn't charge, this kept me motivated enough to reach the top. But there for my shock there was no babaji, he was out visiting someone in the mountain. I know sounds weird but i guess its a common thing up here. So now with a disappointed face i start my very very long walk back to the base. but wait i got motivation for my return walk, i will get food at the end of this ;) ha ha... thats how i made it down.  but couple of stops for re-energizing with such view was helping me:)

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it was a really long struggle for me between choosing to ask any random stranger or just keep walking. I made it down in one piece thanks to water i was carrying and as soon as i reach i said "Bhai kuch bhi khilado jaldi se" he said "dal chaval chalega?" i said "kuch bhi bhai, kuch bhi" and devoured on the available food for a good half an hour. and then i went and plonked on my bed. So 8:30 to 2PM was the trek i did. By 2 :30 i hit the bed only to later wake up by 7PM. I quickly freshened up went out for 2 km walk to find 2 packets on parle G and 5 mango bite candy. that was literally my food for most part of the next day. i was again too tired so i just straight went to bed.

But 5 days later trying to remember all this has been quite difficult with the view of mountains in auli, so i ordered myself a black tea, rolled one and wrote this.... Untill tomorrow.....
 

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day 4 Yamunotri to dharali

As i had got good rest i woke up early at around 8 AM... Remember i dont have to report to anyone about getting late to work;) ha ha.
I start packing and it was a very pleasant morning to start the ride too. with a black tea the guy sets me off. the charge i paid here for two nights including all the the food i sometimes got, was 1200. lesser than what i paid in chakrata for 1 night and 2 meals. The view was just amazing at every turn i took while returning, although i was pretty much returning till uttarkashi by the same road i took while coming to yamunotri, i was looking at different side of the same views and they definitely look very different and are equally beautiful.

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So with such amazing views i reached uttarkashi just in time for late lunch and enquire about dharali.

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It was doable by 4 PM and i did it. But just like the previous time, i was too curious i thought its hardly 20kms from here and i have good 2 hours of day light left. let me reach Gangotri and find a place to sleep. Since i did not talk to any one, nobody could tell me that gangotri was like a deserted town now. i start riding with a close watch on day light, distance and then it happened. The infamous bad roads. 14kms to gangotri and i am jumping up and down on my seat. the roads were so bad that 80% of road surface had looze gravel stones and the extreme ends what ever was left of the road had looze sand.

So at no point was my bike going straight here. And on top of that this is "pahadi rasta" with all the sharp bends i was literally drifting each time i was turning. so with all the struggling to stay upright, not hurt myself in any ditch or bump on the road, i reach gangotri dham entrance to be welcomed by 3 guys sitting and staring at the road for anybody coming. i ride close to them and ask if i can get a place to stay, he immediately said haan mandir ke us paar hai thoda aage jana hoga, i said OK. i was atleast getting a place to sleep i thought. but when i reach the temple i realise its a one way street and temple is where all vehicles stop and he was very clear "mandir ke us paar". so i look at the time, the distance i had to carry my luggage( another issue i have, i mostly dont let anyone carry my luggage even if its a 5 star. not because i am scared its just that i cant let others do it for me) but most important of all i had to make a choice if i wanted to stay here where there is no electricity, no water supply (bucket into ganga river was my water option), no mobile network, nobody knows i am here except for 5 people i could count in the entire village,two out of them seemed mentally retarded. And i made the most practical choice at that moment due to the light, i decided to stay.

These are the few picture of the temple surroundings i took. River bed looks dry as the water levels had not yet risen, but i did get to taste River Ganga when it is at its purest form :)

[attachment=2064] [attachment=2065] [attachment=2066]

when we reached the room, he gave me 1 small candle and said light for tonight if you need. i promptly took it and kept it aside and returned it as is next day. but i start to settle in and another fellow traveller walks up to say hello, he has been traveling for 8 weeks now. Was in nepal for this long and came here to trek in uttarakhand. We chat about each others travel experiences and goes without saying there were a few rolls going on. Amidst all this i realised, if there is no electricity, there is no light pollution and night sky is going to to amazing.
i look around except for a solar light shining at the temple door there is complete darkness and the only light was from moon and the sky full of stars. i moved my chair such that i get a clear view of the sky and he did the same.Then there was absolute silence. we were called for dinner and i got a repeat of roti, dal sabzi and chaval. post this he went to his room and i sat looking at the stars with a rolled one in my hand for a while before i went and crashed. i wanted to wake up early and leave gangotri as there was absolutely nothing one can do there. even walking into the mountains was not allowed. So after a good trip on the night sky, snow capped mountains and the flowing water i crash without even changing.... until day 5.....

BTW goes without saying i had rolled one and then wrote this ;)
 

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Guardian

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Awesome Keerthi...

It was a walk through... Amazing and excited to read the rest of the trip...

God Bless...

Cheers !!!
 

rockingrajan

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Amazing Keerthi!!

looks like Yamunotri Trek is on my list now...

Keep the story rolling... Excited for future posts on this thread!!
 

anubis

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day 5: Gangotri to Chopta

I was in no mood to stay here any longer as i would just be doing nothing. Although now when i am writing this, it sounds like a very
good option to me, at that moment it was different. I went to bed previous night with a decision to leave as early as possible. So by
7:30 AM i was ready to leave saying last good byes to people i met there, i walk the long way out of the temple premises to reach my bike.
i do three trips to bring all the luggage to my bike to witness something even more shocking. My bike's rear mudguard(people who have
seen my bike would agree that its a joke in the name of mudguard but was holding my rear number plate) was broken. And it had to be fixed
before i continue on my journey further. So i load my luggage on the bike, use a normal jute rope to tie the mudguard as firmly as i could
and start riding. Within couple of km i realized that it is not firm enough for me to ride very fast. And from my travel log to gangotri
you might remember there is 15km of bad roads, which means my speed was reduced to half due to bad roads and now to save the mudguard from
completely ripping off (which might be a bigger fix to be done) i had to reduce my speed further down. So i end up doing 40 kms in 2 hours.
It was just too much for me to take anymore. i stopped and pulled out a joint i had rolled before leaving i have a few puffs suddenly a
light bulb lights up over my head, i blew off the joint stored it for later and walked to the rear of my bike and used the bungee that was laying in the back
and voila the mudguard was secure. Secure to an extent where i could start ripping again without being worried about the shaky breaky thing.
i manage to find a Welder about 80km from gangotri.

[attachment=2067]

 The guy was kind enough to drop everything he was doing to fix my bike and within 10 mins
it was done. And even i felt very confident about the job done. It costed me a mere 150 rs, for the same thing i would be paying atleast 500 to
600Rs in Bangalore for a job that would not be half as good as  this. Because in Bangalore nobody listens to you, they know it all and you either do it his way or walk away.

So from this location i had to travel to uttarkashi, just before i enter the city take a left towards lumbgaon and reach chopta via ghansali. Or atleast that was the plan until that evening. i start the ride towards lumbgaon and the view just keeps getting better and better. So i did manage to get a few snaps in appropriate resting areas made just for my bike ;) may be its something else(dont tell me now).

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The ride was also quite challenging as i was riding on really tall hills now. the tricky bit is while riding downhill. most of us just use gears to brake or control speed and that works pretty much always right? would fail miserably here. Imagine a 40 to 50 degree incline with a sharp right hand hairpin and the road is wide enough for one bus to travel at once. Some how you manage to keep the momentum going, Now add a hump as soon as you make that turn or a bus staring right in your face or even worse its followed by another Left hand hair pin which is steeper than the one you just crossed. Well i did it all, one after the other carefully getting away from on coming traffic, trying to make up distance but at the same time not losing cool in such tricky turns, with a lot of effort i see a board ghansali 30 kms.

I knew that if i reach Ghansali it means i would be in the valley and a little easier roads to ride on. the time is 3 PM and chopta is about 110 kms from ghansali. 140km in 3-4 hours is what we think right? Oh wait you have not seen how steeps roads can get in uttarakhand. 4:45 i am 4kms from ghansali. I immediately called Shobith as he is from the region, he suggested "pahadon main jaldi andhera hota hai, ghansali main ruk ja. raston main kuch na kuch khatra rehta hai. Warna 110kms ke liye 9PM tak  ride karna padega". i decided let me give it a shot, later felt i should have listened to Shobit.

I kept on riding in the windy roads which were not too steep as the first half of the day but were quite tricky in their own way. I could see the sun light reduce slowly and i am counting distance, time left and making choices in my head. And then suddenly it got really dark almost instantaneously and the time was only 6 : 40. i had covered about 40 to 50 kms by now.But something happened. while i had stopped near a bridge to check the time, i notice a guy sitting about 100 mts away on other side of bridge and was lighting fire to the plants on the side. He literally started a forest fire there as i saw it spread quickly. i started my bike and he suddenly realized he was not alone. He stood up and started walking towards me. I admit, it was quite scary but i noticed the way he was walking and was certain he was drunk. i start riding on the bridge and he spreads his arms wide apart in a way to gesture like he was going
to block me. I was riding slow without able to decide my next move. while the wheels were still rolling i held on to the clutch and opened throttle and for the
sound he sort of hesitantly moved out of the way, i took this opportunity released the clutch and almost popped a wheelie and suddenly the bike accelerated and passed him before he could realize. He then followed to throw a bottle too, which i am sure didn travel too far from him and i just heard glass shatter.

I was scared beyond explanation at this moment , but I just looked up once, with a nod I just continued. After this incident i did not want to take any more chances. So i decide the next town i land in i am going to stay. I check maps again, mainly stopped to get over the shiver that had kicked in. I could convince myself that the situation could have been much worse than
what it is right now so lets just move on and also narrowed down on Mayali as place for stay as it was only 9 kms away. But it took me a good 25 mins to cover those 9 kms. i reach mayali, asked a person for a place to stay and he pointed at a busy looking shop saying "wahan puchlo". i go there and its the most shady looking place, it had that 0 watt bulb creating a sort of dim glow in the room, multiple tables with filled glass of water, fridge filled with everything from soft drinks, to vegetables to a packet of Atta and what not. I call out at the reception and a young chap comes out of a place that sort of looked like a kitchen. Why else would there be vessels kept on the floor right.. So this guy takes me through a narrow passage way next to the restaurant and tells me to wait there. Another guy walks upto me who was informed by the chap i suppose! This new guy asks how many people, how many days etc. after listening to my answers he says " mere paas single room nahin hai abhi, yeh 3 bed ka room hai aap yehi lelo" i was anyways going to take whatever was available but i still ask about the price as he specifically mentioned 3 bed. he said "3 bed, 300 rs" , i jokingly said "but main toh ek hi bed pe sone wala hoon".He laughed and said theek hai aap 200 dedo phir. i was too tired to react i just said yes and went out to bring my luggage.

Meanwhile the same guy walks upto me and said "cigarette hai kya?" i said "main cigarette nahin peeta". He responded with
"arey mere paas ek accha maal tha, company nahin mil raha", i immediately jumped on the opportunity and said "maal zaroor peeta hoon";) we quickly walk to a shop buy
cigarettes and even before we realize one joint is rolled half is smoked and we were already baked. It was some really really good stuff. It might be that rare
kashmiri black. As i definitely tasted some kind of spicy flavour in this. and it resembled the looks too. But only thing is it was hard like its available in this part.
He flatly denied to accept Bombay black or manali as good stuff saying "isko aise soft rakhne ke liye, oil use karte hai banate waqt". i was too baked to argue about the
process. i just sat back and relaxed. His duty called and he vanished and i started tripping. post dinner i rolled one more for myself. smoked half and saved for next
morning. i just slept like a log after this..... until day 6...
 

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anubis

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day 6 Mayali to CHopta    

This was a very short ride about 60 to 70 kms. i wake up and pay the 200 that was decided previous night and just while i was about to leave he asked thoda paper doge roll karne ke liye. i hesitated coz i did not want to go short of it or have to look for it. Thats why I was carrying extra but then he said "apko aage agasthmuni main mil jayega". I gave him one packet and just started, eventually i did replenish the packet in agasthmuni but thats a very minor detail. By noon i was nearing chopta. here i met another solo traveller. He was
on his thunderbird. i just waved at him while passing and he returned the gesture. But after a while i could see him in my rear view mirror so i just stopped to talk. Then on talking i get to know that he is from dandeli and has been travelling from there solo in search of some local black and also visit tungnath. So we decide to ride together to chopta and camped around the same area. Here we met some really nice people. Such humble and selfless people i cant explain. We pitch tents or i should say he pitched his tent and i was trying to figure out
my tent. Not like i did not know how to do it, but this time it was just not coming right no matter how many times i tried. finally i notice that the top cover is of Arpenaz 3+ and my tent is Arpenaz3XL. So i cursed all my friends who might have done this even though it was a mistake. But i just borrowed some ropes from the other guy (Name : Atul) and pitch my tent as firmly as i could. And since i had an entire day to pitch tent,i did some beautification of the ropes to shorten its length :) things you end up doing to pass time while alone.

[attachment=2070][attachment=2071]
 
So post this the real session started. Atul asked you dont smoke cigarettes but you dont do anything else? i replied with i dont like tobacco, liqour i dont drink at all, i could see he was eagerly waiting for the last bit i said "i have gone all natural so only green". He exhaled by saying "something in common" and pulls out a broken chillum, some green and a bottle with two holes. prepared a bottle bong and passed it on. This was the first time i was even holding a bong so he told how to use it and 2 PM we both were stoned. Trying to find shade in my tent
he decided to go crash in his tent. i decently went into mine and did the same. 20 mins later we hear some screams of excitement and cheering.
We both pretty much walked out of the tent at same time to see what was happening. turns out there is gully cricket going on, wickets kept in middle of the road. Scoring opportunities are plenty if you hit the ball uphill and you are out if you hit the ball into the valley or goes below the road level. But the most amazing part is if the ball goes down hill there is literally a person running behind it all the way down until the ball is fetched again.

[attachment=2072] [attachment=2073]

Ball made using old cloth, socks and what not ;)


 The stamina these guys showed at this altitude was tremendous. We were also invited to play on one condition that we will have to fetch the ball if it goes down during our fielding. i did not even try fielding ;) the day passed and by evening we knew pretty much every one in chopta, the forest officer/warden, 3 shop owners of the only 3 shops in that stretch and all the guys working in these 3 shops we all decide to go out on a short ride and an entourage of 4 bikes leave the lane of chopta until we reached a view point not many know off.

[attachment=2074]

while standing at the view one of the shop owners made the first move by saying "kya apke paas paper hai, mujhe ek baba ne thoda prasad diya hai."
i nodded saying "sab kuch toh tent main hai." So they start making it in a cigarette only. In between he says kaala toh hoga na apke paas.
i again nodded "tent main hai". immediate ecstatic look on every bodies face there. "Humein bhi pilaon na bhai" was a chorus i heard.
due to bad light we could spot only a few animals in that range and we return to our tents, i quickly realize how cold it was going to be by night and that my tent was not going to be fully functional due to a shorter cover. so we pay the shop guy for some fire wood and make some fire in front of our tents. there were bong sessions happening continuously so were pretty high most of the evening and by night was stoned enough to forget about how cold it was and settled into our tents. Early morning 5 or 5:30 AM start the trek to tungnath was the plan we made before getting into our tents..... until day 7.....
 

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