Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chadar Trek headed North but turned South REAL fast!!!:) Part 2!!

Their response was, "Leh?? haha We can't drive to Leh, the road is closed!! It's closed 6 months of the year, from Oct-May!!" Now their are 2 major ways to drive to Leh, one from the South (Manali) and the other coming in from the West, and the West would have taken an extra 2-3 days of driving to do if we constantly road buses and not checked into hotels or anything!! We found out later (when we got home that the West route is also closed from Oct-May)!! SO BASICALLY we hear this news and get this gut feeling that this isn't gonna happen! Well we were tired and thought, hey these are only 2 guys, let's check into a room for a couple hours, get some sleep and then wake up with an optimistic attitude and ask other taxi drivers around town!! Coincidentally the taxi driver we asked about Leh was ALSO the hotel owner we got a room from!! Soooo at this point I was thinking, oh yeah he just said that so we would book a room from him, lame!! We check into the Kashyap Hotel and reserve a room until 9:30am!! Immediately we are out and don't wake up again until my alarm goes off at 9am!! Checked out and began our mission to find a taxi driver that would drive us to Leh!! We saw these group of taxi drivers and asked them if any of them would drive us to Leh?!!? A group response this time of: "HAHA Leh, that road is closed!! It's closed for 6 months!!" Now that gut feeling of this trek is not happening is a REALITY!! We ask if there is any way to rent a helicopter from here and fly to Leh, cause we heard a helicopter earlier fly by!! They said, no, but you can bus to a town about 10 hours West and fly out of their airport to Leh!! So at this point we're like okay, Manali isn't an option and decided to check the bus schedule back to Mandi, the main bus transfer point if we're going anywhere West!! Before we leave I decide to check out the flight schedule of this airport and make sure we can fly out when we arrive there!! So we head to one of the billions of travel agents there and ask about this flight!! Yeah, his exact words were "There's no direct flight from there to Leh, you'll have to go to Delhi and fly out from there." Now we're like OKAY CRAP!! This trek is definitely out of the question, can't drive there, and flying there would take another 2-3 days to arrange!! This was at 10:30am the decision of Chadar Trek was eliminated!!! I pull out the map and think of another trek we could do, which would be bus West to Pathankot or Nurpur and from there bus North to Tissa and do our own little trek to the Chandra River Valley!! It was doable!!:) Well we hop on the bus to Kullu at 1pm and arrive in Kullu around 3pm!!! There this is the time to make our decision about doing the Chandra River trek or not!! Well the decision was made for us, because we asked around and apparently ALL the roads were closed North of Pathankot ANYWAYS, soooo we couldn't even get to Tissa!! Not surprising seeing this is the theme of the trek up to this point!! Well we cancel out any trek's in Ladakh and decide to bus home!! To be THIS close to the Himalayas and have to pull out and head back South was sooooo disappointing/ANGERING!!! EVERYTIME we talked we could see our breathe, the air was SO fresh, JUST LIKE A MINNESOTA WINTER!!!!;) This is where I'm really missing Minnesota plows and the efficiency of them!! HEY you may think they do a bad job, but move to India and you'll appreciate them a LOT more!!;) We leave from Kullu at 3pm to ride to Mandi to transfer over to another bus that will take us back to Shimla!! Before leaving Kullu, Titu and I talk about other treks closer to Mussoorie that we could do leaving from Dehra Dun!! We come up with a couple and NOW our plan is to arrive in Dehra Dun and from there immediately start another trek a lot closer to Mussoorie!!:) Arrived at Mandi at 5pm, grabbed a quick dinner of bun omellete and chai then hooked up with the Shimla bus at 5:30pm!! (Total bus riding = 23 hours/36 total hrs.) At least the travel weather heading back was a LOT warmer then heading to Manali!! So that was pleasant!! It was 1am when we arrived in Shimla and found out the next bus to Dehra Dun was of course at 5am!!! NO other buses were available until then!! Thus, we put on some extra layers and literally camped out at the bus stop for 4 hours!!:) Met some interesting people while doing so!! There was this group of Indian labor workers that looked the same: long, tan potato sack coat, black trimmed beard, short black hair, and all looked they could break out in song at anytime!! But sadly no song!!:( Then I met William Cooker, assuming he was drunk cause there is no way an Indian native in Shimla would be named William Cooker!! But Bill and I talked for a while!! So that was nice!! We didn't sleep at all while at the bus station due to the fact all of our stuff was laying out and not that I don't trust Shimlaians, I just don't trust Indians!! NOR would I trust Americans if I was at a US bus stop, therefore not racist!! Just not trustworthy of bus people folk!!:) 5am comes around and we board, what is to be our FINAL bus ride!! Yeah during the time at the bus stop we talked about starting another trek right away, THAT to us was CRAZY!! Instead we plan on going to Dehra Dun and from there HOME!! Then start another trek next week sometime after getting some much needed rest!!:) During the trip home it was very clear so we saw some wonderful views of the hills at about 10,000ft!! Definitely above the clouds still!! Shimla to Dehra Dun went quickly LUCKILY!! We got dropped off near the Mussoorie bus stop at 3pm, where we planned on walking to the bus stop and find a taxi to drive us!!! Cause in NO WAY are we busing back up to Mussoorie!! Found a taxi to drive us, and on the way up, of course we couldn't drive up and arrive home and be done without anything else to slow us down, there was an accident!! Two cars collided when coming around a bend!! 2 were injured, NONE killed, and 2 cars in the middle of the road as a nice little road block!! Well knowing Mussoorie response time, this could be a 3-4 hour delay, aint happening!! One car could still drive so it drove off to the side, the other car was in no condition to drive, BUT was small and mini so 10 Indians and myself pushed that car off to the side of the road!! Don't worry it wasn't on fire, or gasoline leaking, it was simply demolished!! Accident out of the way, we finish up our trip home and arrive home at 5pm!!! THAT is how the Chadar Trek went!!:) No matter what I guess I was coming home with some stories!!;) This is Mussoorie from Mt. Hermon at sunset!! Looks like Lake Superior in the winter time when it's covered with fog/mist from the cold frozen ice chunks!!!:) That is Witch's Hill off to the far right!! It was completely cloudy and hazy in Dehra Dun!! Half way up to Mussoorie we broke through the clouds and had a beautiful sunny day!! The advantages of 7,000ft above sea level!!!:)

Final Numbers from the "Chadar Trek"

-35 out of a 52 hours on a bus/taxi!!!

-4 bus transfers

-200+ minor bus stops

-5 hours of decent sleep! (decent sleep = in a bed/sleeping bag)

-2 hours walking!!:) (an hour to the bus stop on Sunday, and an hour walking around the various towns)

-Stories from this trip = priceles!!! (Sorry couldn't resist!!:))


  1. DUDE! Kind of important details to miss, don't you think?! I only read the first couple of sentences 'cause we're about to fly out, but it looks like you're getting it figured out?!?! Can't wait to read it all and figure out what you figured out. :) GO HIKE!

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