“Some people follow their dreams, others hunt them down and beat them mercilessly into submission.”
I am currently curled up under a very thick handmade quilt at 4,400m (14,500ft) in a tent that is part of a makeshift village in the Himalayas. It is amazing to think that I’m still in India, as I am currently in a scarcely populated mountainous region that couldn’t be more different than Delhi. The people are friendly, and unlike the rest of India, the women work alongside the men. They no longer wear the colorful silk outfits of the south, but rather boots, jackets, and warm scarfs, because even during the summer time it’s cold. They no longer look indian either, but rather they look like strong mountain people, and rightfully so. This makeshift village is situated on the road from Manali to Leh which is the only access to the north. Because there are passes over 5,000m, this road is only open three or four months of the year. During the rest of the year, Leh and the surrounding area is cut off from all civilization. On this “highway” there are tents about every 30-40km that sell food and water, and occasionally have a bed or two to stay in as well. There are also people every ten or twenty kilometers working on the road, a never ending hopeless project. Between the heavy rainfall during the monsoon season, then snowfall for the rest of the year, it’s amazing there is anything left of the highway. There are numerous landslides that wipe out sections of the road every year which is one of the reasons we only averaged 25-30kmph while driving along it. The road, for the most part, is also only wide enough for one car, so it was always interesting meeting a vehicle coming the other way. Though the road was rough, it was an absolutely spectacular drive though the highest mountains in the world, and I was lucky enough to have the front seat. This is the road I will be cycling on in a few weeks once I leave the Ladakh region.