Disclaimer: I have tried to recreate the events, locales, and conversations from my memories of them. The below-expressed views, opinions or analogies are personal and may not be in line with the widespread conceptions. Please go to Motorcycle Diaries -> India: Ocean To Mountains (or Click here) to check out the previous events.
Date: 12th August 2016; Intended Route: Keylong – Baralacha La – Sarchu – Pang – Moore Plains – Debring – Leh
Appreciate every day in your life. Good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience and the worst days give you a lesson.
I was not feeling great that day; it was as if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. We had a lot of catching up to do since we stopped quite early yesterday. If we would have gone by the best case scenario, we would be starting our day from Sarchu but the world doesn’t abide by the best case scenario, right! We started from Keylong towards Barlacha La. As expected, it was freezing and raining; and we were gradually getting used to the frostbite. Since the roads were awesome we reached Sarchu for lunch but we were still lagging by half a day and we were quite adamant to cover up for it.
Then the bad road started, oh, but bad road sounds pretty nice for it, I guess I should say “no road”, yeah, that’s more appropriate. While we were struggling with the road, we saw an army convoy. Their Jeep had refused to start and the recovery van with all the tools and the mechanic had fallen behind. They stopped us and asked if we have any tools which they can use. We were carrying a toolset but not to fix a Jeep! I showed him the tools which we had but as we knew, it was not suitable for a Jeep. Anyway, we had a light conversation about our trip – itinerary, budget etc. They were a bunch of good men to talk to. After some time, their recovery team came and fixed the Jeep in less than 15 minutes! And we would take 3 god damn hours just to change a tire.
They wished us farewell and we were on our way. We must be around 20 KMs away from Pang and everything was fine till that time. I felt that my eyes were tired and my body was feverish while we were talking to them. But I was acting all normal. After some time, I started sensing thuds in my head, as if someone is hitting my head with a hammer. I became heavy headed, I wasn’t able to keep my eyes on the road, if truth be told, I was having a tough time keeping my eyes open. Those 20 KMs felt like 2000.
I wanted to stop, but there was no place to rest. I thought of setting up the tent and rest but I had to slap myself so that I don’t fall for such dumb ideas. In that circumstance, it was not realistic. And I knew if I would stop in that condition I won’t ride again on that day. I was able to feel the heartbeat in my head, hands, legs; in all of my body. Even though it wasn’t cold, I was shivering badly. It was like I was drunk and was having a horrible hangover, the worst you can ever imagine. At that point of time, I felt like giving up, I thought of calling up an ambulance and stop all of this but then I thought of why I started in the first place.
I knew about Acute Mountain Sickness, we were supposed to take the medicine before we start climbing the altitude and get acclimatized with the weather; we had the medicine with us but we still didn’t take it, the reason would be my over confidence. I knew this might happen but I was not aware of the severity of this thing. I thought I would be able to bear it and I have never been so wrong.
It took me 2 hours to ride those 20 KMs. We reached Pang, I parked my motorcycle and I told my partner that I am done for the day; he reciprocated with a similar point of view. Even he was caught up with AMS but not as worse as mine. I just walked inside the first tent I saw. I warmed myself with the fire they provided in the tent. After soaking fire for an hour my situation kinda improved. The headache was reduced a bit but I was not in a condition to ride. We thought of staying in that tent but there was no bathroom available! On a normal day, I wouldn’t mind but at that time, I was ready to compromise on anything but bathroom. So we paid for the food, fire, and tea and found another guesthouse nearby and decided to spend the night over there.
P.S. It was the worst day of my Ride.