I didn’t leave early as although it’s the same distance as yesterday, 200 km, I was told the road was much better. That said the first 20 km was an awful dirt road / track but after it was mainly tarmac all the way to Leh.
Late morning we stopped for brunch in a small village with a Buddhist Temple, I’m loving the Tibetan influence in the region.
The road climbed and peaked at 4,110 metres, I felt ok as I had taken my time over the last few days to acclimatise and drink more water than usual. The bike suffered and for about 5 km it wouldn’t idle, after it returned to normal.
Although the mountains aren’t far from the ones I passed ridding the Karakorum Highway (200km) they are so different. Each valley seemed different to the last with so many different colours to the rocks from black to the many sandy colours to deep reds, some rounded and other ridges so jaggardy.
I couldn’t tell you how many mountain ranges I’ve crossed since leaving home but multiply this by the hundred switchbacks on each and you might be forgiven for thinking I could be getting bored with them, no way! The feeling of ridding up or down a mountain with switchbacks is great, coming down maybe 500 to 1,000 metres with good tramac gives me the same thrill now as it did the first time I visited The Alps on a bike.
As we approached Leh there were so many many troops here, I estimate thousands, maybe tens of thousands? The Indian government is really concerned about Pakistan & China.
Leh is a great place and we booked into a quiet guesthouse a short walk from the town which had a real Tibetan feel, it’ll be good getting to know it better over the next day or two as we acclimatise for further altitude after.