Tuesday 15th July 2014, Nako-Tabo
The most pleasant day so far.
It was initially steep up to the Malling Slide area (notorious for regular landslides and road closures), a climb of around 200m vertical up to 3800m. The last section was steep sand and rocks, not rideable, but (which the exception of a particularly offensive short section about halfway up) everything else was. The rock around where the nalah (stream) crossed the road was very rotten and it was easy to see this section as prone to repeated landslides. No such problems today, though.
The nalah was shallow, just deep enough to rinse one layer of dust of my wheel rims. I filled a waterbottle here; it didn’t look like there would be much in the way of contamination upstream from here. (And I’m still alive to write this.)
The road surface deteriorated but it was nothing too drastic. The road kept a high line for a short while before dropping 800m back down towards to the Spiti River and Chango village in a series of switchbacks. I approach these descents with mixed feelings – all this lost altitude has to be regained, with considerable effort, before too long.
Almost immediately, the slow climb back up began. Fortunately, the gradient was gentle so I could make steady progress. I stopped in a roadside dhaba for thukpa (soup with noodles) and some momos. At Sumdo, I presented my Inner Line Permit for stamping – I was now out of the restricted area (and I could start taking photos again ;).
Apparently, I went through a village called Chandigarh. But I didn’t notice it. It cannot have borne any resemblance to its namesake, the big city from which I started cycling.
A simple village temple:
The road was of variable surface as it followed the Spiti:
The valley began to widen as it continued gently upwards. Piles of stones carved with scriptures appeared in the middle of the road (these are mani walls); I’m supposed to (and do) ride round these on the left (as with prayer wheels, which should be turned in a clockwise direction).
Large scree slopes appear on either side of the crops growing along the valley bottom.
Suspension bridge across the Spiti. Not for me, this time.
There was little traffic, the road was no more than averagely bumpy, and it was a very peaceful ride in a glorious location:
I had planned to meet Brian and Josie, two Canadian cyclists I’d met in Nabo, at the guest house at Tabo monastery but there was no-one around at the monastery and it did look a little rundown. I’d noticed a comfortable looking guesthouse fifty metres back so I checked in there, into the cleanest (spotless) room for ages :)
Brian and Josie had made a similar decision and had checked into a different guesthouse.
Tabo has a nice, peaceful, feel to it. A great place to while away a day so it didn’t take much for me to convince myself that a day would be well-spent here. It is 300m lower than Nako.