When I used to play cricket & soccer for my school team, I used to visit the local gym(no kidding) for some basic fitness exercises, I precisely remember I used to do some pushups as well(I told ya, no kidding). Well during those days, all most every year I used to head off for Sikkim to my cousins during any sort of vacation in school, playing in the winter snow was an activity I used to wait eagerly for! Many seasons later, come 2008 I had the snow bug biting my brain. Asked many people for company to keep the trip in budget, everyone found an excuse but Dixit couldn’t! Plan was to start at 2 am on Saturday morning, for staying in Khanag and attempt Jalori either by bike or trek.
The Journey To..
Saturday: Narkanda! Yeah, more of it you will find somewhere ahead in the story. We started off at 6 am in the morning, of course that didn’t go according to plan as we were already behind schedule by almost 4 hours. It was supposed to touch freezing temperature, but I was well prepared to counter the chill and soon NH1 opened up! At day break, we were munching paneer paranthas at Jhilmil Dhaba in Karnal. Ambala, Kalka went past and it was business as usual as we kept it nice, steady and fast, curving corners on the way to Shimla. One hour and twenty minutes, that’s what it took us to reach Shimla from Kalka(92 kms). We had decided earlier that we would avoid the long, boring and truck infested Shimla bypass and rode right through the town, we were right, it was short and simple! As we approached Narkanda, snow sighting commenced, first the frozen falls, then the frozen slopes and before we realized Dixit was wheel spinning is way upto Hotel Hatu in Narkanda as Mr.Black Ice drops in to say “hello and welcome to Himachal”.
Sunday: I woke up pretty early, around 6 am and was waiting for the rumeffect to go away, peeped outside the window at around 8 am and for a second I thought I have become colour blind because of too little alcohol, everything was white. We heard from the HPTDC peeps that the snow fall started last night. Well, we watched some cricket all day, walked around, played in the snow for a while, had some Kalpa wine(real naaish) but Miss Snowfall kept on doing just one thing, falling, 18 hours of continuous snowfall..2 feet of snow all around Hotel Hatu and more than one feet on NH22.
Monday: Bright and sunny, its not snowing anymore, but it isn’t melting either! We are running short on cash and I am also running short of leaves in office! Cleaned and started the bikes, rode Ivy down the slope of Hotel Hatu through almost 2 feet of snow(if you can call that riding),as we heard that NH22 was “cleared” last night! Murphy was laughing out loud, Kufri closed and that means we need to ride towards Rampur to take backroads(BRO maintained) which are dry and rideable! This also means, we would have to ride downhill on ice and black ice for 12 odd kms which would offer zero traction and give probable injury(fatal as well) in return, F O Murphy! Bravehearts as we are, we decided to go for it and before we completed the first kilometer, the brain started cursing the heart! We survided, without a single fall we reached Aundi, took 3 and a half hours of ice riding to complete 12 kms..no more snow we were told by locals, but still kept up our vigil for Mr.Black Ice who may want to say “bye, thanks for visting Himachal”! Ivy’s front tire had a puncture at 10:30 pm, luckily we got it repaired before the damn shop had shut for the night, we reached Dharampur at 12:30 midnight and stayed over in a dhaba!
Rode back this morning, ripping through NH1, Ivy clocked a neat 109 kmph on the GPS with a tank bag, semi crouched me(with loads of winter wear).
Narkanda – Kingal- Vasantpur-Dhaami-Arki-Shalaghat-Spardoo-Dharampur on NH22.