As maia was celebrating reaching the top of the first mountain pass (first out of 5 that we will try to conquer in the next 10 days), Fin was already looking at the downhill that he knew was going to be rough (I did not).
Maia realises quite quickly it wasn’t going to be a ride in the park: snow, trucks and stones.
Fortunately we left the trucks and snow behind quite quickly but instead we started to ride down with the huge amount of water coming from the melting snow.
Soon it became difficult to know if we were on the road or in the river. Luckily few vehicles had come that far before us and we were not trapped in the mud.
The thrilling experience lasted a couple of hours, almost as long as to go up the same distance on the other side. The view showed us the real wilderness of this massive mountain range: we are now in the Himalayas. Although we had been in the mountains for a while, at this moment it seemed we had trans passed a boundary, we left behind the inhabited world and now we are in the land of snowcapped desolated mountains. This is the road to Leh and the Ladakh, a region in the Himalayas that is closed to the rest of India (and the world) most part of the year and only can be accessed by land once the summer heat manages to melt the snow that covers its 2 connecting roads.
The wind pushed us all the way to Sissu where we found a free camp site by the river. There we tried to gather more information about the opening of the road. When we left Manali the rumours were that the road will open mid June (5 days to go at that moment of our journey). This year the road will open unusually late due to heavy snowfall still underway throughout May and June. We spoke with the road workers, with tour guides and any passing traveller but we heard a variety of forecasts, “maybe it’s already open for two wheelers, maybe it will open in 3 days, or maybe 2 weeks…” so it looked like we need to do a slow progress and enjoy the mild weather at 3300m!