Day-3 : Bahli – Rampur : My Cycling trip to Himalays

I woke up with the happiness left by yesterday’s ride. People started to take pictures of my fully loaded bicycle in Bahli J . After a tea, I started riding down to Taklech. While, yesterday’s downhill ride increased my heartbeat, this ride brought the heart into my mouth. The downhill is so steep that I feared that atleast in one corner I will fall into the valley. The forest is so silent that I felt like I was the only human left on earth. Being Monday, I saw happy and surprised faces of school children. It gave an instant relaxation, but was countered immediately by the increase in steep. I never waited for an uphill to appear so desperately. Before my Heart is completely out of my body I reached Taklech and stepped my foot on ground. It was so nice to be stable after a roller coaster ride !

Even here,I was offered a way to go to Rampur and  I have taken another right for one more adventure. I had a quick breakfast and sent a Kg of my clothes to home through India post for decreasing the load. This caused little delay. Being aware that climb to Darangathi will be tough,I motivated myself to do that and proceeded ahead.  Whomever I ask about Darangathi will point to hill top far far away, which is hardly visible and used to tell me it will take forever to reach there on a bicycle.

After climb for 7-8 Kms  in hot sun, I was very tired. Refreshed myself at a Nala. Looking at my exhausted face, a person in a general store cum home asked me to sit under shade for a while. He was also owner of an apple orchard. Listening to his stories, I had a maggi there and moved ahead.
The ride from there for further 5-6 Kms is heavenly. Narrow curved black road surrounded by green trees and by apple orchards. I felt all the beauties of nature can be seen only by those who climb up and up. More apple orchards, chullu trees showed up and my ride turned ecstatic. Though it is strenuous, I couldn’t stop being happy in that place.

A kilometer further, I was completely tired. I was in a very small village, where even tea is not available  My legs protested to move ahead. Luckily rain god saw my pain and showered a drizzle which turned into a big rain. With 20 Km’s more to go, I didn’t want to take risk in that rain. I asked a passing Mahindra Yut, if it can drop me at Darangathi. He agreed for Rs 100 and we went ahead.  As vehicle is completely occupied inside,I had to stand in the back. When it moved, I suddenly felt the chill of air. The air is so cold. After a long time, passing through some very narrow curves and blind turns, I was dropped 3-4 kms ahead of Darangathi. Rain stopped on the way and sun was back again. When I lifted my head to move ahead,I was awe struck at the sight of snow capped mountain peak. I was so happy on seeing the natural snow on hill top for first time in my life. I wondered if I can see them closer in my trip.

That motivated me for futher climb and I started riding. After a long climb I have finally reached the top of Daran Pass aka,Darangathi. It was completely surrounded by trees, hardly leaving any gap for light to enter. I saw the PWD guest house there surrounded by beautiful flowers. I wanted to stay there. But the greed in me has forced me to take the foulest decision in my trip.

Climb to Darangathi

With 3 more hours for sunset, around 30 kms to go with 12 km downhill,I thought I will reach Sarahan,before it gets dark.
Without even enquiring about stay or enjoying the serenity, I started climbing down to Mashnu. I was out of all emotions here. This is just a 45 degrees inclined slope, topped with boulders of all sizes. While my bicycle is having the best trail riding, I nearly wept trying to control my adrenaline rush. Brakes failed to control the speed at which bicycle is going. I was simply going ahead like a stone rolled falling from a stone. Jungle, loneliness, speed, boulders, darkness too many emotions at a time for me to absorb ! I was desperately longing for a human being to appear. After what it appeared to be forever, I saw a road worker. It is the happiest moment of my life. Though there is a mile stone in front of me, I asked him how far is Mashnu and confirmed he is a real human being and not my hallucination. The stop also provided me a chance to appreciate the beauty if the forest and snow peak ahead of me.
Few km’s later, I was stopped by a loudly barking wild dog. I stopped on its sight and slowly moved ahead. It increased its sound and I couldn’t step anyfuther. I waited for five minutes and started shouting for help. It’s mistress is shouting back “ aa rahi hun ”.She took her time and appeared with bundles of grass on her back. While I was trembling ,she said “ maine socha Bandar aaya hai “, which pissed me off. I pleaded her to hold the dog so that I can go ahead. She was very casually assured me, that it’s a pet dog and won’t cause any harm. I could sense that the dog is eagerly wait to jump upon me! She re assured and I got on my cycle.
 Being very steep, my bicycle moved quickly and the dog started chasing me with loudest barking it can produce. This particular stretch had larger stones and I could barely control the handle. While I too started shouting back, the dog didn’t gave up and coming towards me with more speed. I luckily crossed its territory and it gave up, but sadly that territory is a corner and my I rode on top of sharp stone.  Suddenly it’s silent. I realized that my bicycle had flat ! If I had not known, Mashnu is only 3 kms away,I would have surely burst into tears there. I slowly walked toward the village thorough beautiful fields and orchards.
After walking for a while, I realized that I cannot even walk with a flat tire and took out patch kit and wheel from bicycle. I tried so hard to remove the tire. It was so tight and while lifting it a small gap is revealing the rim inside. At that moment, I felt it is a tubeless tire. I cursed myself for not even observing this small fact in 1500 kms of riding on my bike! I felt it is the end of my cycling trip. I thought of staying somewhere in Mashnu and head for Rampur in bus next day and go ahead to Kaza from there. Another plan was to stop whole trip, throw my bicyle away in Delhi and go to Rajasthan. It was all chaos in my mind. Not able to decide,how to proceed with tour,I walked ahead to Mashnu. This time like a wounded cowboy.
Three friends sitting at entrance of village were curious to know my where abouts. They started the drill again, but I told them, “I’m having a very rough time and I need some place to relax and stay for the night. If you have any questions walk with me and ask ,I will be happy to answer”.
They said I may not find any stay in village. While I thought what worse can happen more and walked ahead. They started calling me and informed me that a vehicle is heading to Rampur and I can go in it! Tears of joy nearly flowed out. I told them extremely sorry for my behaviour and I acted so being very tired. They assured me it is not at all a problem and they can understand my situation. Himalayan people _/\_ .
The vehicle is a maruthi 800. While no one has any idea how my bicycle fit inside,I started removing wheels with just turn of a small lever attached. They all watched that in surprise and helped in placing it inside the car. I forgot to collect their name or mob no. as I was in desperation to move out of jungle.

The driver of this car is an 18 year old guy. He has shown me how rashly these young punks will drive in the valleys. His driving didn’t scare as much as my bicycle did on the slopes. This guy collected 500 from me on reaching Rampur.
I had golgappa for dinner and took accommodation in Buhari Sadan. A hot water bath gave me the much needed relaxation. On the way to buhari sadan, we spoke with a motor bike patch guy if he can repair my tube less tire. He said he will not repair a bicycle tire. After pleading for a while, he agreed to repair next day. 
A day with a bumper bonanza ended which presented me too many experiences to handle. The chaos in my mind is still running about stopping the trip and planning futher….Recong peo ? Kaza ? back to Shimla ? Delhi ? …and I was into sleep. 

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