The Extremely Eventful Month of July 2011.

Monday, August 08, 2011


We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us - John Steinbeck

It was a journey, a wild journey in all senses – personal and literal among others. We’ll talk about the journey in the literal sense while we’ll need another post altogether to see how I made the journey of self exploration.

I planned to cycle and I ended up sick.
And I ended up backpacking when I planned to trek.

I dreamt a dream and I made a plan to fulfill those dreams. An elaborate plan to mountain bike in the remote areas of Spiti for two weeks and an attempt to summit the 6150m peak of Stok Kangri in Ladakh for the next two weeks was made. It would be an adventurous month I hoped.  But then life happened.

Offroading near Dhankar
Started in the Deserts somewhere and ended up in such greenery.

I learnt a lesson which I already knew.  Life happens while you are busy making other plans. I fell sick high up in the mountains, life threateningly sick! Who knew I would carry an infection from Bangalore that would aggravate to gigantic proportions later ruining my adventure? After three days of cycling, everyday was a battle against fever, cold and bad cough.  After a few more days it was crazy fever and worst possible cough. I never had such bad attack of cold in the past years that I can remember.

I was just a kilometer away from Chandratal when my situation took a turn for the worse. There I was sitting right next to the lake, unable to even move or eat or drink. My heart was struggling to pump blood and the fever running high. I don’t know what it is – a tragedy or comedy. At such altitude, I am battling not AMS but some kind of infection.

With the help of strangers and friends alike, I managed to reach Manali still in a very bad shape though. At that point I knew I wouldn’t recover in time for the trek anyway, I had to cancel the trek plan and come back to Bangalore to recover.

That one week I spent in Bangalore recovering was the most depressing week ever! While I was very glad to have my health back, I didn’t expect the adventure to come to such an anticlimactic end. In a desperate bid to salvage the rest of the leave left, I frantically looked for things I could do within the next week. Either Sikkim or Andaman was the only option left given my travels across the country.

There, that is how fate comes into picture, also the power of mind. I’ll tell you how.

When I signed up for the Stok Kangri trek, I wasn’t too sure I wanted to do it. But I registered anyway. If I had a strong urge to do it, I probably would’ve recovered somehow. Subconsciously I always wanted to go to Sikkim but never dared to go. That’s when fate intertwined with the subconscious leading me to my destiny – exploration. Yes, when I think about it, that is what I love the most about travel – exploring new limits. It is because I enjoy the spirit of adventure that comes with exploration, I trek or cycle or walk or ride. After much deliberation I was on my way to Sikkim amidst torrential downpour.

What happened over the next few days was nothing short of being legendary! Yes, there were landslides. Yes, there were roadblocks. And last but not the least, Yes, there was rain. But what came along with all these troubles was that the whole of Sikkim was for me and a very few fortunate travelers to explore the monsoon magic. There was no traffic, no hawkers and no sky high prices. It was just us and the locals enjoying their monsoon break before the so called season starts again.

Taking chances everywhere, we moved from place to place and were never disappointed. The misty mountain tops, the wild flowers, the raging streams, the screaming cascades, the greener than the green forest canopy, the damp forest floor and monsoon magic in all its glory was all mine to enjoy. I totally loved the idea of such exclusivity.

Waterfalls of Sikkim
Waterfalls. streams, cascades, brooks everywhere, everywhere!


Wild Flowers in Yumasamdong
Wild Flowers bloom everywhere, monsoon special


Yumthang Valley
Aren't we glad we took the trouble and came here in Monsoons!


I have truly come to believe that luck favors the bold. Even when it was raining whole time, just for three hours the weather cleared up right when it mattered. It is another crazy story how we even managed to reach Gurudongmar Lake, one of the world’s highest lakes at 17100ft. Until then, I had forgotten how sunshine feels and what blue sky means but not that day. The blue skies made their grand entry not forgetting their partner in crime, the sunshine. The lake was shimmering in a turquoise blue right under the brilliant blue skies with white clouds creating some drama. Gurudongmar was so beautiful and the weather just perfect. I would not try to put in words for words do no justice to the work of art by nature. 

Despite all that happened in the month of July, aren’t we smiling now!

Gurudongmar Lake
And this is where I end up! *All Smiles*


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17 comments

  1. would have loved to join you....this looks like one heck of a place...keep them coming...

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  2. the top pic is sheer awesomeness... the color of the sky and the details of the clouds...

    awaiting more details...

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  3. Fabulous shots..

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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  4. As they say, "All that happens, happens for the best!" Wonderful photos as usual!!!

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  5. this is excellent... great images!

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  6. Awesome place! i have been following your blog for quite a while now..really wonderful places all of em are! :) i definitely want to go to all dos places sometime..Anyways, nice read!

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  7. Hi Neelima! It seems that everybody is on holidays... Here it’s true, but someone has to stay and work... ;)

    Fabulous shots!!

    Blogtrotter Two is preparing to leave St. Florent. Enjoy and have a wonderful week!!

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  8. Nice pics. Love the last one most. Awaiting the rest of the photos from the trip...

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  9. Great PICs .... You should be the best

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  10. Lovely pictures, Neelima! It's exciting how travel plans always transform themselves. I was Spiti last month too, and it was gorgeous. Your pictures are really tempting me to go to Ladakh now!

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  12. Were you riding on your cycle from Rohtang pass to Kunzum on the morning of 10th july?cuz if u were,then i passed you the same day on the same road(i was in a sumo taxi).I was heading for a trek in Lingti valley near Kaza and had by then already read about your Spiti biking plan.i had therefore wondered if it was you that i had come across..let me know.Would be glad to know if it was you:)

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  13. Sorry you got sick! It happened to me too when I was trekking in the Atlas Mountains in Northern Africa, and I was lucky that I wasn't traveling alone this time! My friend managed to get help from some very friendly locals, and they got me to a hospital eventually, but our trek was ruined...:(

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  14. Wow!!!! Breathtaking pictures .. How wonderful it must have been to see all this for real!
    'Luck favors the bold' - I totally agree. I really appreciate your grit and determination .. You completely deserve the beautiful sights and weather that you enjoyed :)
    I love the rains and the magic it creates around us ..

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