“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine: it is lethal.”
When we woke up to an overcast sky on our sixth day of cycling we were relieved for a reprieve from the ever-present high altitude sun we have been constantly cycling under. Of course the clouds did turn into a rain storm, but surprisingly enough it still turned out to be our best day yet.
It was my first time in a year cycling in full rain gear, but it proved to keep me dry and warm.
Though the day of cycling was fun, the highlight was definitely finding an intact shepherds hut right next to a beautiful river a mere 8km from the top of our forth pass (meaning we were sleeping near 5,000m). We completed our home by attaching our tarp (normally used under the tent) over part of the stone structure which would protect us if it were to rain again (which it did). It was a very cozy stone hut and had we had more food with us we probably would have stayed a few more days.
We finished the pass easily the next morning even though we had a headwind. The day was very rainy again, and as we lost 2,000m, we saw our first signs of trees, green, and human settlements. Unfortunately this also marked the end of Ladakh.
Unfortunately we had to pass through many nalas, or small rivers, which left us soaking wet.
The next few days were definitely our toughest. Though we were winding through a beautifully green valley, the loss of altitude also resulted in a much more humid and hot climate. We were also back into civilization, a sad fact after so many days of nothingness!
Since we couldn’t find a place to camp in this steep terrain we settled on the top of this half constructed building.
Though I usually don’t bring my camera out when locals are around, this lady spotted me from the roof and then asked for her photo.
One of the downsides of being back in the “real India,” is that trash is thrown out the window and into the river. What a wonderful way to ruin such a lovely place!
The day before we entered into Manali we decided to spend two days at a very nice hotel (for eight dollars a night, with our own bathroom and tv!) run by a lovely Tibetan family. After meeting a group of Spanish tourists who invited us to breakfast (thank you!) we thoroughly enjoyed our stay as once again, the Tibetans proved to be honest, hardworking, and respectful people. We then headed out for our final pass, which proved to be the most difficult even though it was the lowest.
After a 51km downhill we arrived in Manali, a very touristic town in the edge of the foothills. Though when coming from Delhi last years found Manali cool, refreshing, and relaxing, coming from Ladakh it is hot and humid, and full of noisy cars. Never the less, it was nice to be able to Skype with my parents again!