Day 1 The conquest of Jalori
Day 3 Kinnaurified
Day 5 Sky villages of Spiti
So here comes the Pin valley Tale…… Got to Pin valley,enjoyed it to the core of my soul and then finally stuck there for 5 long days making it a unforgettable place and yet another experience of my life. This is where I realized “The More i see,The Less i know”
It was day 6 of the Ride to Spiti and was enjoying the Trip a lot. Yet another beautiful day to ride on with sun out,cool breeze blowing and one can say that a perfect day to ride. Both me and Roushan, ( met him at Nako ) started our ride to Pin valley around 9 in the morning, Met a herd of Yaks which was good sign for the day.
After riding around 18 kms from Kaza (Spiti valley headquarters) we reached Atargu, from where the road to pin valley diverts. Entered into the valley and rode along the Pin river.Amazing water sound and purity in the air just gave a super awesome feeling. A shock wave ran through me when i saw a dark water stream turning the greenish pure water dirty and turbid. This filled me with curiosity to find out the origin of that stream. Rode for around 12 kms form Agartu, had a stop at a Nallah with a small Bridge over it and here was the reason of the blackening of pin river water. A polluted water stream coming from the Nallah caught hold over me and we took a pit stop there and had a detailed talk over it with Roushan discussing what might be the reason for it.
Leaving that stream apart continued our ride towards first Village of Pin valley Gulling, and kept moving to Kungri Gompa without taking a halt. Kungri Gompa is around 2 kms from Gulling and undoubtedly is an awesome place to be. Spent half an hour there, clicked amazing shots and headed towards the next destination, Mudh , the last village of Pin valley. The ride till Mudh was awesome, had a small spell of Snow flakes too. On our way we were discussing about going towards Bhabha Pass as had heard about an under construction road to Bhabha pass but a mud water stream was a big hurdle as it was deep and vigorous so we couldn’t cross it. The journey ahead seemed nearly impossible, so had lunch at Mudh and decided to head back. Mean while a guy approached me there asking me if I was Akaash. “Yes thats me” and so he introduced himself. Nikhil Dixit from Dehli a Fellow BCMTian and knew me well through BCMT . We also had a common friend Dheeraj .With this new acquaintance, we started our journey back to Kaza as all our luggage was in a hotel in Kaza. Journey back was a beautiful one and we were enjoying the great scene of the Pin valley.
The Mud flow from the Nullah
As we crossed Gulling, we saw a car coming from Kaza to Gulling and there we heard some female voice screaming out loud ” road block don’t go ahead, Road block”. I took it lightly as they were in a car and I thought it might be a land slide and as we were on Bikes we can manage to cross it so we headed towards Kaza and as soon as we reached the spot or road block i was surprised to see something that i had never seen before. The black water nullah was huge now , the bridge was gone, and we could see thick mud moving down like Lava. Within no time I took the decision to move back to Gulling to find shelter before others.
We came back to Gulling, found shelter but the wait had started. I was sure road will open the next day. Soon we found others stuck in the situation too. Mr PV, ( IITB alumnus of 1975 batch) Parul aunty, Jon and Manda from Canada, Nikhil and Anamika with their daughter Chavvi, and Sameer and Anand from JNU. Killing time was yet another good experience as we relaxed and shared our experiences . Thanks to Kinnauri( A Barley Wine), it helped us all a good deal in doing so.John and Menda were a couple from Cannada and had been traveling in India since 5 long months and were thus quite familiar to the country and its life style now. Anand opted to take rest and sleep as he was down with AMS while Sameer, a guy full of life was an awesome company .
No good news of the unblocking of the roads was to reach our ears in the next few days.Another interesting event during our visit was the marriage that was to take place in the Sagnam village nearby ( Biggest village of Pin valley) .All the preparations were done but the Bride and the Groom were both stuck in Kaza .They were supposed to reach there the previous day but because of slide they were stuck on the other side of the slush.The owner of the Pin valley Home stay, Mr. Tundup was quite sure that something would work out very soon, as all the PWD officers belonged to Gulling. But the slush, it gave no signs to even calm down. It continued to flow with huge mud and ice boulders keeping the road blocked to the next day too.
Day three started with new hope as we learned about a dozer on its way to clear the road, so all of us moved to the block area with our vehicles. The slush had stopped by then and it was only muddy water that was flowing down now. PWD came prepared with pipes and other equipments and I was quite sure that it would take 2 to 3 hours to clear the road. Another helping aid, a JCB from Gulling had also reached the spot, so the work was on full speed from both the sides.We were now full of positivity and moved for lunch. But time the next grant us good time of relief , A huge pile of slush has messed up the bettering situation. Ah! I called for the Barley wine again and sat frustrated to kill time. to add to the frustration, a new company had found shelter in the hotel. a group of 12 Israelis who were good enough to kill the peace of the place and convert the heaven into a zoo. Hahaha. That night was the hardest night to pass.
3rd day Flow of slush and Lake Size
Day 4 , It was obvious that taking a four-wheeler through that slide was impossible, but to make a pathway for bikes would not take more than 3 hours , so Mr. PV and his friends decided to leave the Cabs and cross the slush in morning.Nikhil and his family resorted to the same and successfully crossed it.Me,Roushan, Sameer, John, Menda, and Anand decided to wait for another day as they were building a temporary rope-way for helping people to cross and also pass the essential goods . The Israeli group had ventured back to MUD making it peaceful and silent again . We had decided to leave our vehicles and will cross the slush any how.
Day 5 Left my Bullet aka Darling there with a heavy heart, and went to the site. Things had worsened there. That stream had turned into a lake because of a temporary Dam built of Mud and the road had now started sinking too.The slush was now 50 mts wide, and was like quick sand full of crystals. We saw a few people cross it and come out with wounds and cuts on their legs . The crystals had sharp and pointed edges. We waiting till 1 pm hoping the rope way to be fixed by then. But the irony of the situation had no mercy on us. The required equipments were on one side of the slush while the manpower on the other. Roushan , full of young blood was too desperate to cross it asap but we wanted to wait for the situation to get under control. But later, i felt making a rope way was no more possible. Now it was time for action. I started to tie up my shoes and prepared myself for the jump. Roushan was already in,and i followed him. It was exciting and the adrenaline pumped hard . 10 mts patch on the Gulling side was easy to cross as they had a huge rope hanging and just slided over it , next 30 mts was full of stone, water and gravel so not a big problem, but the last 10 mts was the worst and had to hold a hanging rope and then walk over another rope which was the hardest thing to do. Slowly it started sinking in the mud that had reached my thighs. Aaaaaghhh ! The last 1 meter was hardest as I was worn out and it was hard to move the feet. Before i could panic, a great thought by Bear Grylls from The Man Vs Wild struck me. I took a deep breath and the people around helped me take me feet out of that mud and finally I reached the other side.All of our people who were on other side crossed the killer lake successfully with only few bruises.
Finally we got Out of Pin valley on fifth day leaving my darling behind in the safe hand of Mr. Tundup . With an Unfinished ride I moved my way back.The real fun started after getting out of valley as i was now backpacking and had few things in ma mind while going back home. The most exciting part was had to come back again to Pin valley to get her back which I did after 40 long days and that story will b dealt in another Post .
Editor: Swati Dhiman
Day 11-12 Kaza-Manali A Different Feel