On are arrival at Leh we had learnt that there was huge landslide on the way to Pangong Lake and thousands of tourists were rescued by Army. Assuming that situation would get normalized in few days we had kept our Pangong Ride towards the end of the trip. Thank fully as per our intuition, the situation had normalized by 9th day of our trip and we were all set to ride to Pangong Lake.
Unlike our initial days of trip, now we had luxury to start the day little late as the roads were good and huge water streams were just a story now. With lesser luggage, the ride felt great until we started riding steep uphill towards Chang La, world’s third highest motorable pass. Keeping in mind that during 2011 bike trip, we were not able to go to Pangong Lake due to time constraint, I was much more excited to cross Chang La again and witness the divine beauty of Pangong Lake.
Once we crossed the first check post, the bike started losing its power due to low oxygen. Couple of miles ahead and we had severe problem in pulling our 500 CC machines on steep uphill ride. The road to Chang La has its unique daunting curves with roads full of rocks unevenly spread on steep uphill drive. Bikers with lesser CCs in hand were struggling badly and stopping under loosely hanging rocks was not at all choice for anyone. Speed and balance was to be maintained very carefully throughout.
While we were slowly nearing Chang La and Snow Capped peaks were indicating the drizzling coming down, we found caught ourselves in the middle of huge trucker’s caravan moving uphill. At the same time beginning of some of the uneven surfaced water streams added spice to the entire story. Now it was either a truck creating hurdle in our efforts or a water stream. On the other side, the weather was turning cold with every move.
By the time we reached Chang La, we had crossed almost 50 trucks. The sad part was that we had to stop at Chang La and by the time we would resume our ride, these trucks again will be driving downhill on the other side of Chang La downhill waiting for us to repeat the same effort. But there was no question that we would not stop at Chang La.
Ignoring all this, we really felt proud to be at World’s Third highest motorable pass. The surrounding peaks of pass were all covered under thick snow and overcastted weather was clear indication of drizzling any time.
Once we resumed our ride, the other side of the pass was full of snow and roads were completely under water. The truckers had disappeared and we could not see them anywhere. Now we were eagerly looking for the recent landslide spot. In some time we had to stop in the middle of now where as there was road repair work was on. The road from both side was full of vehicles. And later we realized that this was the very same place where couple of days back there was huge landslide.
Ride after this break was extremely smooth and enjoyable. The landscapes of this corner of Ladakh always fascinated me. On the way, stopped at couple of places to relax, to eat and for photography.
In the later part of the ride, we reached a place where in a board was put in to indicate the first glimpse of Pangong Lake. This is where my excitement increased manifold. The blue color of lake always attracted me.
Finally, we reached at the beginning of the lake. The water was calm and blue color was shining under clear sky. With handful of tourists in the area, the solace can be felt despite of the thump of the bullet. There were many camp sites close to the lake but we were looking for the best, and we knew that to get the best we need to ride further. Our destination was village Spangmik. A small village situated at the bank of Pangong Lake is the only best option to stay.
We chose a camp site which was exactly in front of the lake and we opted for a lake facing tent for the night. The hospitality of people here was extremely impressive and we had superbly delicious lunch followed by a coffee under open sky.
After some relaxation time post lunch, we were all over the lake. The place always seemed like a house of god. The water is unbelievably blue and calm. The evening darkness made me realize that the day has come to an end.
Day 10, we had to ride back to Leh and we were nearing towards the end of the mega trip. This brought a sadness in me. But we had no choice than to come back to the reality.