Coming back to life - Zanskar, August 2017

Discussion in 'Travelogues from North India' started by Yogesh Yadav, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. Yogesh Yadav

    Yogesh Yadav Travel is the healthiest addiction.

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    We were in for a surprise. Nelson and Allroy went ahead as me and Ajay were left with a bit of packing. I got onto my bike and so did Ajay and just then Ajay realized that his rear tyre was flat. The sun was bellowing down even at 9:30 AM and there was no way of towing/pushing the bike out of there. Ajay asked me to go get Nelson and Allroy while he would remove the tyre. Allroy suggested that we just inflate Ajay's tyre and get him to the hotel for breakfast and where we could operate in some shade. It turned out to be a fruitful idea as Ajay's tyre was difficult to open up and ate up quite sometime. It was almost 12:30 PM until we were done and exhausted too. Amidst all of this, we had met some Britishers and Israelis when we had arrived at La Himalaya who had advised us to head to Padum before noon because there is a stream up ahead approx. 10 kms that runs very high and will be difficult to cross once the sun goes up. We were late and unsure about what to expect.

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    We rode on. Shortly, we arrived at the said stream. For the record, this was our first major stream. With all the preface we had received about it, we stopped in our tracks, questioning our ability to go through it. Ajay went right until it's far end trying to find a spot to cross through, there was none. Me and Nelson walked through it to gauge how deep it was and where the sturdy spots were. There seemed to be soft sand at the entry point which caused doubts. We must have spent about 25 minutes deliberating and then finally, Nelson's patience caved it. He got onto his bike and just rode through it standing on the Himalayan. Ajay followed next, Allroy took a different path and i followed Allroy's path and we were all across. Much ado about nothing really :). This experience was to serve as the launch pad for all of the stream crossings we would do next on the trip (with ease).

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  2. Yogesh Yadav

    Yogesh Yadav Travel is the healthiest addiction.

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    It was Pensi la and Drang Drung up next. We did not stop there for long as it was drizzling slightly and with steady winds, the chill was unbearable.

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    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  3. Yogesh Yadav

    Yogesh Yadav Travel is the healthiest addiction.

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    After the late start in the morning, the time spent at the stream and extremely demanding terrain, our spirits were withering low. No humans in sight, no sign of any village since we passed the Drang Drung glacier where some construction activity was in progress. After some hours of riding, we reached Arban Village and stopped for tea. Upon inquiring with the hotel owner, we got to know that Padum was 50 kms away. And based on their experience, with the kind of road ahead, it would take us atleast 3 hours more to get there. That update did no good for our morale. Over tea, we discovered that the hotel owner let out her home as a homestay at a modest rate. That news was met with a unanimous decision to stop at Arban for the night. Little did we know that this decision would serve us well, would be the best times we would spend together on this trip.

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    That's us arriving at the homestay.

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  4. Yogesh Yadav

    Yogesh Yadav Travel is the healthiest addiction.

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    Arban Diaries

    Arban is a quaint little village situated between the Drang Drung Glacier and Padum. It has it's own Bhartiya Vidyapeeth school and a Radio station too. We were also surprised to see satellite TV installations there although weren't interested in knowing if they work. Of course, no cellphone network. Nice.

    We freshened up after arriving with whatever we could salvage on ourselves from the freezing water. Soon, we got to the point with a little whisky and some rum. And it was time to snooze off after the long hard day.

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    Morning came, breakfast happened, TOLD was visited, some shaving and washing done (for whatever reason, their toilet was marked as 'TOLD'.

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    We decided not to proceed to Padum after discussions with villagers and decided to ride around Arban for the day soaking in it's sights and sounds. First, we proceeded to the local school to meet with the local children and distribute some goodies.

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    Next, we headed to a remote field to spend some time out there, cook some lunch, listen to some music and be back by early evening before it gets too cold. Allroy decided to get a shave in there while we hung around clicking some pics.

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    The sun was up and after a while, being out there in the open was proving to be too difficult let alone cook there. We decided to explore elsewhere and found this picturesque spot in the midst of a field where we cooked lunch whilst listening to our favorite tunes.

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    We got back to the homestay in the evening and wound down for the night. We would start next morning back to Rangdum but did not know that we would surprise ourselves tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Going to Neverland

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    great going guys
     
  6. Gaurav Chopra

    Gaurav Chopra zestbiker-if there is a SPIRIT,I ride it

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    Beautiful going

    Zanskar looking all the more alluring in your clicks and description

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  7. Yogesh Yadav

    Yogesh Yadav Travel is the healthiest addiction.

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    Please excuse me for the extended hiatus. That’s what city life does to you. We returned back in August 2017 and life took a surprise turn for me sucking out all of the enthusiasm to do this log. Yet, this travelogue has to be done. Without it’s conclusion, the next one appears not to be calling me J. Back to the cherished memories.


    The next morning started with getting ready and loaded for the return journey. We took the opportunity to take some pictures with our hosts for the previous 2 nights. Lovely people they were, so happy with so little.

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  8. Yogesh Yadav

    Yogesh Yadav Travel is the healthiest addiction.

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    The surprise in store was how we would ride back as a group. What had been a tiring, prolonging journey to Arban from Rangdum was suddenly being done as if we were pros at this type of terrain. In no time, we were reunited with Mr. Drang Drung again. We did not wish to just pass by, no we wouldn’t.

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  9. Yogesh Yadav

    Yogesh Yadav Travel is the healthiest addiction.

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    5.JPG Allroy had a bit of trouble on the way back with his right footpeg being dislodged. Riding with that was going to be a no-brainer. But we had Nelson, and all was good after a bit of tweaking here and there.
     
  10. Yogesh Yadav

    Yogesh Yadav Travel is the healthiest addiction.

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    Just outside of Panikhar, we decided to try and see if we could get a room at the JKTDC hotel. We went up the hill however decided to turn back with the hotel nowhere in sight and head forward. By54 PM, we reached Sankoo and stopped at the JKTDC bungalow there. It was a quaint little place with unfortunately minimal services (for it being a government accommodation). We started winding down for the night there.

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