Distance : 33 Kms.
Ascent till Kunzum La and 11km steep descent till Batal ( Worst riding conditions and heavy head,cross winds)
In Losar, I was asked to enter details at the police check post as I’m travelling alone. I started pedalling after that. Today is the big day the in whole trip as I will be climbing a mountain pass, all by myself, one of the reasons I came for this trip.
It is not very tough but a long climb to Kunzum. The grasslands and flowers has taken away my sadness that I couldn’t make it to valley of flowers this year. I was getting more and more closer to Snow peaks.The biggest mountain peak is palying hide and seek with me by hiding it self in clouds not giving me a chance to capture it. I’m not sure if it is altitude sickness, but there is some trouble in my breathing and got headache.I couldn’t pedal with ease because of that.
I stopped every now and then, drank lot of water. People in passing by vehicles used to throw a look of surprise at me and some were generous enough to stop and advice ” Dheere chalana,paani peena”. ( Ride slow, drink water)
|The Climb to Kunzum begins|
|Mile stone !|
|Peak at Kunzum top, seen from two kilometers to reach|
After lot of pedalling I saw a temple,surrounded by flags. I thought it is Kunzum top, but no it is not. I started moving again. The road appeared plain further , yet tough to pedal. After an eternity passed and infinite pedalling, I could see Kunzum top and made there finally.
I pedalled all the way 4,590 m or 15,060 ft high.
Though I’m on one of the highest passes, the surrounding mountains made me feel that I’m on a low land. I was very happy that I have reached Kunzum. After giving up at 19kms on first day, I never thought that I will make it so far ! Another moment of pride for me.
|Temple at Kunzum Top|
The flags around were waving severely due to winds. As per the custom, I made completed a loop around the kunzum temple. After looking at all peaks around me once again, I have started for Batal.
The winds are blowing severely and this is the one of the worst ride ever. The path is filled with sharp stones and boulders and it is a downhill ! It has completely pissed me off. The winds were pushing off the ridge and traffic if also little high. To add more challenge, there are ice blocks and small water pools as they were melting.
The loops were never ending, and I had no clue when Batal will show up. I now figured out how high I have climbed 🙂 After sometime when I have lost all my patience, Batal showed up.
Apart from a dhaba and a PWD guest house nothing else is there. One should definitely experience the stay at Batal. You get to sleep in a stone house or in a bunker. Chacha Chachi Dhaba is the only source of food there. A search in internet will reveal greatness of the elderly couple serving so many tourists. I enjoyed their hospitality very much. Almost every vehicle passing through that route will stop there.
After having food and refreshed, I looked for a vehicle that will go to Chandra taal Lake, I couldn’t find any.I was in no mood to pedal in such heavy head and cross winds . I waited some more time but, I was not lucky to have a visit to Chandrataal this time.
I walked around. There are only snow peaks around and every peak is beautiful.
The couple I met at water crossing before Losar was also here. Two guys from Delhi who were touring on a KTM duke were staying here from the day before. We all started chatting and it went non stop for few hours. Severe winds forced us to go inside dhaba.I was surprised how the stone structures were able to with stand such heavy winds.
The guys from Delhi are professionally DJ and VJ . They shared their experiences and it went on till the ghost stories and scary routes in Delhi. After dinner we all dispersed.
During dinner, every one speculated about the stream crossings ahead and especially the Pagal nala , in which is very and deep with a flow enough push a van into the river ! So the couple and both guys planned to start early in the morning to avoid heavy flow.
The talk about streams brought a little phobia inside me and I wanted to leave as early as possible. So even I thought to leave early, leaving the Chandertaal behind. A sad decision, yet I had to make.
It is pitch dark inside the tent and I have put on light music and went to sleep. The experiences I had today were not so beautiful as they motivated me to get out of spiti soon !
I should not forget to mention about the costs at Batal. The price of the stine hut per day is rs 100. Two meals, a yummy fried rice, a tomato soup, many tea, and eight roasted bread cost just 300 rs.