The majestic confluence of Indus and Zanskar welcomed us. The highway offers stunning views of the confluence which were breathtaking to say the least. The stark difference in the color of water of these two rivers was clearly visible.
Nimmo is one of the last points for rafting and it was nice to see many people raft and enjoy the adrenaline rush of adventure sports. Most of the rafting activities start at Chilling, 14 km further from the confluence. After spending several minutes gaping at this natural beauty, there was an even better surprise awaiting us.
Standing at the confluence, two roads diverged - one leading to Kargil and the other to Chilling Village. We took the one less travelled to Chilling village which is one of the trekking routes to Hemis National Park. We were not sure about what lay ahead of us but the sight of amazing roads leading to a destination which we were totally unaware of, made us pick it instantly. The village is close to 30 km from Leh and is one of the biggest villages in Hemis National Park. It is the first village for the Markha Valley Trekking route and also serves as base camp for Chadar Trek.
Initially the ride was a cakewalk. A road trippers paradise with amazing winding ghat roads opening up some stunning mountain vistas that were changing colors with every few kilometers and the amazing Zanskar river in full flow kept company throughout the ride. The first 15 km of the ride was absolute paradise and delight while the second half was no less than an adventure. The broad roads suddenly shrunk in size and were just few meters in width.There were also many blind curves with very little room for a vehicle to pass through. Massive boulders were strewn on the road courtesy landslides, each one of these capable of knocking out a truck right off the road. While in a few parts of the highway, the road had completely caved in, there were other parts where there was no road but just slush and mud and it seemed like we were riding on a dry river bed. It was challenging to ride on such roads and at the same time a little scary too.
On reaching the village, we got to know that the village lies within the National Park and hence, we could not take our bike further. Also, entering the village required trekking a kilometer and that is where we would find home-stay options. We were not comfortable leaving our bike unmanned in the middle of highway. The locals there tried their best to help us out. There was a home-stay right off the main road and one of them took us to the place. The place was very beautiful with apricot trees in their lawn. Unfortunately, the owner was unable to let it out so we had no other choice but to head back.
If this adventure was not enough, on our way back we needed BRO's massive earth movers help to pave way for our bike. There were massive boulders on the road and we were patiently waiting while the men and machine of BRO swiftly cleared our path.
Though it was a very tough and rugged path our ever reliable and trusted lieutenant maneuvered around like a boss! All saddled up and with a pillion. Despite the treacherous ride we were glad we made it all the way to Chilling. Life is also like a road trip when you enjoy absolute good roads you should also learn to adjust with bad patches.