Kushma to Lete
After an early night due to tiredness we were up early for a quick bite to eat before hitting the road. There were planned road closures on our route north and our guide Jai wanted us through them in good time.
We left Kushma and took the last semi-paved road north west and started to climb into the mountainous region. The traffic was horrendous as usual and I wanted to get off road and into the Himalayas. The final gas station in civilization provided us with a fill before things got really rural, we were about to head into the wilderness, quite literally.
Our first obstacle came in the form of a house sized boulder blocking the road. A skilled Caterpillar driver tackled the beast like he was playing Fifa 19 and we were soon on the way again secretly hoping that would be the last ‘big rock’ encounter.
Our first tea break was where the fun was about to begin and huge snow-capped peaks became the norm in terms of epic scenery. We saw a few hikers, the odd four by four taking tourists up the mountain, and an assortment of construction vehicles but there was little other traffic aside from the odd lunatic battling to get a bus up here.
The road surface turned gnarlier with more loose gravel and bigger rocks, higher drop offs, deeper holes, steeper gradients and generally a more butt clenching experience all together. A lot of the riding was done standing up which was easier on the arse but not on the knees!
From here on I wanted to get off and take photos around every turn as the scenery just got better and better which was inversely correlated to the road surface! We stopped for a few photos at a waterfall which marked the beginning of our last final push to tonight’s accommodation in the mountains. For the final rip I had a go on the 250 dirt bike which had so much more torque and chewed up the surface as I skidded into the lodge car park sideways with a stupid grin plastered to my face and a mouth full of dust.
A cold beer was cracked to mark the end of another day’s ride and we marveled at our settings, a 360 degree vista of some of the highest peaks on the planet, it was truly breath taking.
Within a couple of hours the temperature had dropped significantly so I rucked up and went up to the roof to brave the icy wind and get a few shots. These majestic peaks would shift in colour and tone as the moody climate turned from sunny to windy to cloudy to misty and back to sunny again in a matter of minutes. It was too cold to stay on the roof for too long though so I soon retreated into the fire-warmed lodge for a nip of local Khukri rum to warm my innards.
Tonight’s meal was a tasty chicken masala and the fire was more than welcome, it was below zero outside!