…and before we even know it we see the sign saying “Bara-lacha la”. It’s a really priceless feeling to look over this wide space of NOTHING in front of me and these mountains which now have a huge similarity with a painting… It is something that you cannot imagine while reading, but something that you need to see and experience with your own eyes.
(from: Getting to Love the Solitude)
Day 2: From Koksar (3,500m) to Sarchu (4,290m) part 2
Soon after we start off again, it happened: we finally lost one bag. The truck behind us kept honking and made us aware of it. I mean, it just had to happen sooner or later with these crazy bumpy roads. Fortunately the place where it happened offered us an amazing view so we took the chance to take a break and soak it all in.
We continue driving over more incredible roads and then when it seems like it’s only getting worse instead of better we can finally breathe again and release some tension: in front of us there is a beautifully paved straight road.
Mentally it takes me back to the road of Monument Valley, in Utah (USA), to a place I visited a few years back with my brother…
We change seats, I go in front and put my hands on the handlebars. My first driving lesson is about to start and my heart starts pounding. Sourabh is giving me instructions: put the gear into neutral, press the start button, change to first gear, pull the throttle and goooooo! If it were only this easy… No, I am still standing in exactly the same position because the engine stalled. After the third time, it finally happened and there I was, driving in the Himalayas!
I proudly drive us all the way into Sarchu, which is now not far anymore. It is a great feeling!
When we enter Sarchu, there is another checkpoint, since it is the last settlement in the Himachal Pradesh region and we are now entering J&K, Jammu and Kashmir. Basically in Sarchu there are no houses, there are just temporary tents, because in winter everything freezes, so people can’t live here permanently. We stop at one of the small dhabas, to ask how much it costs for the night, but since the price is way too much, like 20 Euro for a shared room, we decide to put up our tent nearby.
We remember the words of advice given to us by some drivers, cautioning us to be careful as petrol is often stolen, and so we hide our petrol cans in the tent and go back to the dhaba, to heat ourselves up and eat something. All they have available is some omelet, Maggie noodles, chai and some local liquor. We order everything and also fill our bottles with hot water. The drivers we met earlier today at Bara-lacha la are also there in the dhaba so we exchange the experiences of today and look at some amazing videos they took with their drone. Seeing the area we were driving through today, from a bird’s perspective is really something else.
Just before heading towards our tent, we ask the dhaba owner to rent us a blanket for the night since the temperature has dropped drastically (around 3°C) and we lost one of our sleeping bags yesterday. Thankfully she helps us and we go back to our “room”.
Even though it is really cold now and my fingertips are slowly getting numb, I can’t help but get out my camera and start taking pictures, one after the other. After an infinite tries of self-timer pictures, we finally manage and get the perfect shot of Sourabh, Angelo & me.
Now I am relieved & happy and will sleep in peace.
Good night lovelies xxx
Today was one of those days that seem like they never end, a day which feels like a whole week, a day I will never forget and one of the best days of my life. We have experienced so many things today and I have felt so very much alive. I will take some time to process and digest all of it. This time, as I want to test my body’s limits, I am not taking any preventive medicine for the AMS (acute mountain sickness) like I did while hiking to EBC (Everest Base Camp) but nevertheless & thankfully I am not having any symptoms.
And I can say that I feel more grown or wiser today than yesterday since I had the courage to drive the bullet, which, if you had told me this a few weeks ago, I would not have believed it but I guess the fact that I was sitting all day on the bike, facing different challenges, and getting used to the environment and the situation we are in, made me feel more comfortable, more confident and took the fear away from me.