Sonmarg – Drass – Mulbekh – Nurla Camp – Leh
Distance this period: 354.66 km Total Distance: 1507.40 km
Sonmarg – 0 km (Day 16 & 17)
Drass – 65.05 km (Day 18)
Mulbekh – 103.12 km (Day 19)
Camp Nurla – 101.15 km (Day 20)
Leh – 85.34 km (Day 21)
There was no hope of road opening next day too. I headed to army canteen for breakfast, by now everybody knew me as a freak cyclist; they smiled enquired if I was doing alright. For two days I was like a guest there.
Outside I chit chatted with truck drivers, listened their wild stories of bear encounter in the region. They advised me not to camp in open till I reach Kargil.
After two days of rest I was ready to take on slushy, foggy, chilly, showery, yes! The Mighty ZojiLa!
Initial climb was good; then some up, started dirt slippery road. Switchbacks after switchbacks I started pushing the bike, by 11:00am I was at the top. Bad surface continues till Gumri, road is tarted after that till Matiyan, then again bad surface till Drass. Met a hotel owner from my own state, he shared some good stories of the area like how locals celebrate 6-7 months of snow, no connection with the world outside. Drass
Kms covered – 65.05
Total expense – 680/-
It’s a great road till Kargil, some small climb, a little bit of bad patch then all the way a smooth ride to Mulbekh.
At Mulbekh I stayed at J&K PWD rest house, met the caretakere by accident. Booked a room, while I was trying to adjust in my room a young fellow came, we started chatting randomly. Early morning when I saw that fellow again when I went there to pay the bill. I think he was gay.
Kms covered – 103.12
Total expense – 510/-
Just after Mulbekh, there is one small settlement where I had my breakfast. From here the climb begins – Namika La. Today I was to climb two passes – NamikaLa & FotuLa. It’s a gentle lovely climb to NamikaLa. Met a solo German cyclist at the top. The ups and downs continue to FotuLa. The descent is fun and amazingly steep down on some curves. Then all the way down to Lamayuru, Khaltse, and 6 km ahead of Nurla, I camped near road workers camp.
Kms covered – 101.15
Total expense – 200/-
Early morning met a solo cyclist from Hungry, headed Zanskar.
Saspol, then up to Basgo plains and afterwards beautiful down to Nimmu, on this section I achieved like 70 kmph speed. Loved it. Had lunger at Pather Sahib Gurudwara, no, no night stay accommodation available there they said.
After passing the Leh airport, I was kind of scared due to tiredness, also didn’t see any staying accommodation. Then I met Jai – a cyclist from Banglore and he said he know some place. Lovely.
Gomang Guest House.
Kms covered – 85.34
Total expense – 455/-