Distance : 64 km
Batal to Chatru : 32 Kms undulating and descent through Chota Dhara
Chatru to Rhotang pass : 32 Kms.
Undulating, Descents,ascents till Gramphoo and gradual ascent till Rhotang pass.
It is very weird situation after Batal. The roads are worse. It was cold, yet I am sweating. Road appears climbing but pedalling was easy !
Also this is the entirely different day in the trip, in terms of beauty and challenges the magical land offered me. The landscape changed ,all of a sudden. The barren and dusty mountains are replaced by rocky and snow caped peaks.
There were snow blocks on both sides of roads at many places. At some places there were channels made below the road and water flows behind the ice blocks !
This beauty is a treachery leading me to the stream crossings. There were stream crossings for every 5/6 kilometres. The first few crossings were easy and I pedalled through them easily and it was fun. As sun started rising, the flow of water and depth of streams got increased. I have put on my sandals for further crossings. At some places and it was terribly scary as I had no idea, how deep the streams were ?
I used to push my front wheel for checking the depth and then used to step on the biggest visible stone for proceeding ahead. At places, the wheels of incoming Enfield were half immersed in the streams and that sight used to cause a chill in my spine !
Looking at these streams, I wondered how terrible the pagal nalah will be ! At every stream I used to look around in desperation to see if I can get any help for crossing, but its only in vain. Sarcastically, vehicles used to come as soon as I crossed. After pedalling sometime and if I remember correctly, after crossing chota dhara I came across a very big stream. All the streams till then were harldy 10/20 meteres, but this is very big and will be surely 60 or 70 meters long and water is muddy not giving me a chance to estimate depth. If that was the first stream crossing I had to cross ,I would have fainted right away. Again there is no sign of getting any help and I crossed the stream spending the longest two minutes of my life ! I caught my breath after the crossing and felt so happy to be alive. I have asked a shepherd passing by, if this is the pagal nalah and he said yes. I felt so relieved.
Spiti had no mercy on me .When I passed few kilometres, there was a big waterfall, directly falling on the road and damn, it is a national highway ! Stream is more than 100 metres long and one could imagine the reaction in my face to see this after crossing pagal nallah. I parked the cycle, went and checked the depth for few visible metres and then came back to take the cycle again. This stream was thrilling compared to the previous one as the water is clear and I could see the stones, but it is very deep and made my feet numb as that waterfall is melted ice !
After crossing some more small streams, I reached Chatru at 9am. I had breakfast there and now it was time to decide to decide the destiny of my day. 30kms riding takes me to Gramphoo and if I ride 81 kilometres more ,I will be in Manali.
I made a bad estimate, that I may reach Manali, by the time it gets darker (10 more hours )as 50 kms from Rohtang top to manali is a downhill.
I started slowly. All of a sudden landscape changed to incredibly beautiful green. It is a very beautiful sight, to see such green among the rocky hills. Some of the peaks appeared very smooth. The spiti flowing throughout, with roaring sound adds the missing sound effects from nature.
In this route, I was constantly stopped by the herds of sheep and sometimes horses. I had to get down every time due to the dogs protecting them. Some of the shepherds just are laying on the rocks looking after the flocks of more than 500 sheep. I curiously asked one of the shepherds if they lose count anytime, but he replied that all sheep will return home safely and he need not worry about the count.
I was riding steadily, coming across BRO workers and shepherds at many places. Gramphoo never showed up and I even began to get hungry. Around 2 pm I have arrived at a junction, where the road from spiti splits as road going to Leh and other one going to Rohtang top, which is just 15 kms. I was not aware that Gramphoo is just few kilometres downhill and also there is no one to ask for directions.
I have decided to head for Rohtang top and have some food over the top. I thought, I will be there in a hour or so ! My bad flat route rate calculations.
Seeing tarmacs after a long long time made me happy,but my bicycle was very slow on that also with the increasing steepnees, I was terribly slow. Also there countless hairpin bends.
|The biggest water stream I had to cross|
Throughout the climb, I got cheers and thumbs up from the bikers passing by. Many even took my photographs while riding ! Even though that brought a smile on my face ,the quads cried in pain which made me sad and even more hungry. I ate the chocolate bars in available with me, even the dry fruits, hoping to refill everything on the top. I thought that I will have a hot plate of chowmein.
After some time, I was completely exhausted and couldn’t pedal any more. I sat for sometime,then walked and pedalled again.All the while many Enfields and Dukes whizzed past me either to Rohtang or to Leh. I got envy looking at their speed, but I was helpless. I just pedalled ahead as it is the only thing I could do at that moment.
At times, in beautiful places when you are sad and in despair, the mother nature does something to cheer you up. After all that is the duty of mother. I got the surprise I wished for past 13 days. A rainbow appeared right in front of me. I was speechless for a moment. Viewing rainbow on the way to Rohtang top towards Chatru is just a pur bliss. It is the beautiful sight I ever saw. Added to its beauty are the clouds that passing right in front of me. I was thrilled and stood there for sometime.
One should not forget that I’m in a land of magic. Again, nature has it’s own way of teasing you. Enjoying the rainbow, I forgot about the villain which passed right before me and troubles he has put me into !
|A rainbow and cloud passing before me , made my day|
Stay connected to meet the villain.