Thankfully Ramana sat down posing here (he is 6 ft 2 inch and am 5 ft 6 inch)
Soon we had enough of RTOP and we started our journey again. We spotted a group of bikers...probably on their way to Leh.
The snow clad peaks at a distance were enticing us to climb higher.
How can I forget the clouds ?(hearing GS grumbling from the seat behind me again).Tuning out the grumbling noises and doing my job as the designated photographer of this car.
Soon we saw a river.... Is it the Bhaaga or Chandra ? Hmmm...Ladakh experts may be able to tell.
And then we saw this flock of sheep...
(Wondering which of "flock" or "herd" is the proper collective noun for sheep). Seen sheep at many places in HP/Ladakh. Guess sheep rearing is an important occupation in these parts of the country. Hoping it's for the wool rather than the meat.
Beautiful curves....and shades of green with brown, blue and white to make it prettier.
Soon we stopped for lunch here. People relaxed on the cots/diwans before and after lunch. Sorry, don't have food pics. Am a foodie...but somehow missed taking food pics on this trip.It was a simple but delicious home cooked vegetarian meal.
And our vehicles fueled up at Tandi village...a few Kms before Keylong. We saw this board and the petrol pump boy too confirmed that the next filling station was at Karu village near Leh...365 Kms away.
Passed by a few beautiful mountain streams...
And soon we reached our destination for the day...our abode for the night "Jispa Journeys Camp". It was dusk.
The camp grounds...
It was a lovely setting...and, more importantly, we reached when there was sufficient light. The setting sun made for awesome lighting conditions to take a few stunning pics near the Bhaaga river flowing behind the tents. We had cups of hot tea in the dining tent, dumped our luggage in the tents allotted to us (6 double and 2 triple occupancy) and rushed to the river banks. It was quite cold and chilly at around 5.30- 6 pm.
I was a bit worried if the terrible ear-ache (suffered with unbearable ear-ache during both our Sikkim trips) will surface again and spoil my trip. Touchwood....so far so good. Skull cap to remain till the end of trip to prevent cold air entering my ears. Now u know the reason why my precious ears are always covered
Same backdrop in a few more pics...Loved Nvvln's attire
The Cmdr & LN posing...
Family time for the ketas...Ishaan with mummy and daddy.
Gautam pondering the complexities of life at the tender age of 11...budding philosopher
The fenced off area with red plastic chairs is where the camp fire /revelry occurred later in the night.
And finally after darkness won its war over light and the moonless night began its conquest...we had a quick dinner in the dining tent. Thankfully we had warm water to drink.
The dining tent...
The chef's hut (pic taken early the next morning)
The tents at night...
The eventful third day ended with a campfire to warm our bones and a dual-language (Hindi/Telugu) anthyakshari competition. The standout singers were (as usual)...the Cmdr, Jaya, Chaitu, Nvvl, VL and GS. The absolute non-contributors were (as usual)...yours truly, Nani, Ramana and surprisingly, SR (despite all of us pleading and cajoling her to sing at least one song in Malayalam she did not oblige us, much to our disappointment).
Got called by Punchok...he cautioned us to start early the next day...latest by 7 am, as we had a couple of water crossings to negotiate enroute Sarchu and beyond, not to mention the long drive of 9+hours to Tso Moriri. It seems there is a risk of heavy water flow, especially at one place called the "paagal naala" the longer we delay the more difficult it becomes due to more melting of ice in the glaciers. Omparkash wanted an even earlier start ...latest by 6.30 am. I, always relishing the opportunity to play negotiator, negotiated successfully for a start time of 6.45 am latest .
Jaya again rescheduled it to 6.15 am latest. Her logic...Indian Standard Time has a built-in delay of +30 minutes for any appointment. Practical girl
Informed the boy/supervisor of the camp to arrange packed breakfast with whatever he could manage at that ungodly hour... and also morning tea at 6 am to warm our bodies before we start our journey. Retired for the day in the cosy, neat tents, each of which had a bed, two chairs , a table, charging points, quilts and attached bathroom/toilet. Was impressed with the hygienic condition of the bathroom/toilet. If there is one thing which puts me off terribly, it's a dirty bathroom. Thankfully we were spared this ordeal and the bathrooms in all the tents were clean.
Slept peacefully with the sound of the river flowing just a few metres away...(not dreaming in the least of the great difficulties waiting in store for us the next day).
On that note...I end the tlog for today.
Woke up early. Packed up, shifted our suitcases to the parking area of the camp grounds. We were the only two souls up and ready by 5.30 am. Went for a short stroll up and down the road and returned. Still no one up at 6 am. Chef's hut also was deserted.
After a few minutes wait, saw Nani, Hema and the kids walk out dragging their luggage to the parking area from the tents.
Took advantage of the morning light and clicked these pics. Potato crop in the camp grounds was flowering...never knew potato flowers could be so beautiful.
Soon the other members came out one after the other with luggage and we started loading in the cars. The morning tea/coffee was soon ready.
The chef surprised us with not only toast (sandwiches) but also aloo parathas at that early hour...all neatly wrapped in aluminium foil. Never saw anyone make parathas so fast.
Tipped the boy looking after the guests and off we were on the road again. Glanced at the time and saw it was 6.45 am on the dot. Well done...I patted myself on the back.