Road Trip: Nubra Valley & Highest Mountain Pass in the World
Posted by Cool Your Jets IV on August 11, 2011
Having no confidence in the bike we traded up, getting ourselves a spanking new Royal Enfield, in Black. This new bike was everything the last one wasn’t; it had mirrors, a super comfy seat, working speedo and milometer and to top it all, an electric start – I could’t have been more happier and it rode like a dream. Yesterday we’d completed our Pangong Tso trip and after a good nights rest we were ready to explore the Nubra Valley, taking in the Worlds highest mountain pass along the way, the Khardung La at 5602m ASL.
The ride out of Leh was straight forward enough, quickly rising above the town which was looking incredibly green in the early morning sunshine – being at altitude also means everything is so much clearer and fresh looking. The road curved up and around the mountain and for the most part we had the road to ourselves allowing us both to enjoy the stunning views without worrying too much about oncoming traffic! After 20km or so the road deteriorated back to the potted, dirt track we’d enjoyed only the day before! Unfortunately, whereas yesterday the view continued to be stunning, the ride up to Khardung La wasn’t anything special – large mountains full of scree and boulders, totally uninspiring and what with the state of the ‘road’ it wasn’t very enjoyable.
After passing the first military check-point we saw 20 plus military trucks ahead of us all in first gear struggling up the hill, all belching diesel fumes – passing these trucks was going to be challenge and also really bad for our lungs, we chuckled to ourselves that whilst being up so high and the air so fresh we’re probably doing more damage to our lungs than living next to a motorway. Sticking in second, we raced after the trucks trying to time our passing just before they changed gear – and whilst we had a decent space to pass, there were a couple of hairy moments during where we’d hit a bump and the bike would jump right, almost over the side
Eventually we arrived at the pass and did the touristy bit, blatting off lots of photos.
The other side was pretty much the same as going up, crap road and uninspiring views, we were starting to feel a little cheated – we had a great bike, good weather and here we were bouncing around and not really enjoying it.
After a good hour or so we arrived at the small ‘village’ of Khardung where we decided to break for lunch, enjoying some great Dhal and Mutter Panner both were delicious…
Over lunch chatting about our previous ride and how much better and experience that was, we decided we’d call it a day and head back to Leh, about three or so hours back. We had a great ride and it was good to cross the highest pass in the World, though much preferred the ride to Pangong Tso, in all ways, a more spectacular and enjoyable ride – even with a crap bike!