Untill our Day 4 ride, we had sufficient petrol available on the way. Kaza to Keylong was the ride where we had to carry fuel.We went to the only petrol pump in Kaza on Day 3 evening itself. There we got to know the never heard story of not able to provive petrol. Since petrol pump's temperature had increased under sun, it was unable to pump out the petrol. This funny story made us worried as we were planning to leave at 5:00 AM next day. Petrol Pump guy assured us that he will come in the morning at 5:00 AM to provide us the petrol.
Day 4 morning we arrived Petrol Station at 5:30 AM and to our fears Petrol pump was closed. Since the weather was cloudy and we were expecting some rain on the way made me more impatient. After various calls to Petrol Pump employee, he landed at 6:30 AM by when a long queue of vehicles had gathered.
Under cloudy weather we started the ride at 07:00 AM from Kaza towards Losar, Chandertaal and finally Keylong. We had heard a lot about this stretch. It was isolated, full of landslide prone areas, water crossing , too narrow and off road tracks.
The deserts of Spiti valley continued and mettled road disappeared soon. We were riding on rocks and water often. The day was too cold with windy morning. Met a group of riders before Losar who were struggling to ride on this track and one of the riders escaped from a fall with marginal difference.
We reached Losar, a small village, where we stopped for Breakfast. The day was turning to be more cold and since we were heading towards Kuzum Pass which is known for its haunting steep downhill track with lot of mud, it made me little worried.
Before riding beyond Losar one need to enter its details with Police at Losar. So we registered ourselves there and moved ahead. The most worst roads have started now with rocks and water on the road. I experienced first imbalance of my bike of this trip. While I was riding on rocks and water, I turned my bike to the other side of the road assuming that rocks are big enough to take the turn. But it proved to be other way round and small rocks with water imbalanced my bike. Somehow I managed to lift the bike before it hit the road.
The road towards Kunzum Pass was in bad condition. Windy weather with no sun on top had made the ride more difficult. We met few riders on the way along with some cars plying towards Keylong/Manali.
I had heard and read a lot about Kunzum Pass and its challenges. So I was excited to ride up there to 4,551 Meters and see the famous Kunzum. In couple of hours from Losar, we arrived at the top of Kunzum Pass. The wind had increased manifold and flags all over the place were creating a soothing noise. Snow patches on the top scattered unevenly made the view spectacular.
Riding down from Kunzum Pass to Batal (Apprx 30 KM) was the most difficult track so far. Steep downhill road with Mud, water and rocks made it difficult to ride. But we kept moving as our next destination was Chandertaal. With lot of patient to ride slow, we finally arrived at Batal where we inquired the off road track towards Chandertaal. Here we came to know that the off road track to Chandertaal diverts five kilometer before Batal. We had no energy to ride back those horrible tracks again back and then 13 kilometers most challenging road to Chandertaal.
But without wasting much time, we rode back to reverse those last five kilometers. I was curious to see the board which was put at Diversion point because we did not notice it while going down. When we reached that point, we saw a big board which we had conveniently missed, it proves the horrible condition of the road which forced us to continuously focus on road rather than hoarding around it.
So far we were not aware that we had taken up the most challenging 13 kilometers of the trip. Though HPPWD has declared this as Jeep Road I would advice people to not to take Cars/Jeeps on this road. Huge rocks falling on the road from landslides are big hurdles and the width of road is exactly equal a sedan car. Above this, the uneven surface of the road is good enough to imbalance any car with speed more than 10kmph.
To add more spice to the adventure, there were two giant water crossing coming straight down from Kunzum Pass. We saw one Mahindra Jeep standing well before the first water crossing waiting for someone to come as he was not able to dare to cross the stream. So we two Bike Riders became the motivation. We had crossed so many water streams that it was normal for us to get indulged in water. But the freezing water under cloudy weather was challenge for any biker here.
The road till the end was narrow and difficult. Last two kilometers we experienced riding on sand with risk of imbalance. But finally we reached the end of the road where some camp sites were also available. My impression was little different that we will be able to ride upto Chandertaal but in reality we had to walk almost half a kilometer to be able to see the Lake. So we walked slowly as we were badly tired. The day was still cloudy but the excitement to see Chandertaal pulled us towards it.
The first view of Lake took all my tiredness away and made me realize that its worth putting an effort to mark your presence here. The true unexplored and untouched corner of the world, Chandertaal made us relax for a while. There were no people except three people other than us. The wind blowing on face and making soft noise in the ears felt heavenly and washed off whole body ache in seconds.
I spent sometime there sitting on the side of the lake and imagined a small tent, bonfire and my loving one with me. Well that was just a dream and soon Anand made me realise that we need to head back soon as we were to still ride another 140 kilometer and it was already 01:00 PM.
We rode back from Chandertaal and haulted at Batal "Kangri Dhaba" for lunch. This guy happened to be from Bharmour, near my hometown. So we chatted in our Pahari Language while we were having lunch.
The road from Batal to Gramphoo was no good at all. Rather it worsened further. Since we were exiting from Spiti Valley and entering the green lush valleys, Snow capped mountains had spread huge mesh of water streams through out the stretch between Batal and Gramphoo.
We crossed countless water streams and most of them were huge, some were giant enough to push bike's front Tyre outward with the flow. Due to all kind of hurdles we were unable to hit the time which we had kept as a target. Anand was getting irritated badly today.
While we were not even sparing rocks for hard riding, a landslide because of increased water at one place made us wait for half an hour.
Once we crossed a place called Chhattru, the Greenery had started increasing drastically. The waterfalls on the other side of the valley were spectacular. One of the stretch between Chhattru and Graphoo reminded me of Chitkul valley.
Gramphoo brought us some relief when we merged into Manali Leh Highway. We were still 50 KM behind Keylong but since the road condition was good we were quite relieved.
With Spectacular views of waterfalls, Glaciers, Green lush valleys and civilization, we manage to reach Keylong at 05:00 PM.
Chanderbhaaga Hotel of Himachal Tourism at the outskirts of Keylong town became our shelter for night.