Day 5 Srinagar to Drass

Day 5 (July 12, 2012) for the Monster it was the first test when we would be crossing Zoji La, first of the several high passes in the Himalayas. I was excited as well as nervous.

We woke up early and started early as we wanted to avoid the Amarnath yatra convoy which was there till Sonmarg.

It was a beautiful morning with a little cloud cover and sunshine. We reached Dal Lake clicked some pictures and meanwhile speaking to the morning joggers as well.

Had breakfast enroute, some nice paranthas. It had started drizzling and the travelers coming from Sonmarg side were telling that it is raining more in Sonmarg. I was a little worried because Zoji La will be slushy and probably difficult to cross. But whatever be the condition the only way is through it 🙂

We reached Sonmarg with some stops in between, it was still drizzling but the beauty of Sonmarg was no less.

Soon we were ascending Zoji La (11649 ft) and roads started to deteriorate.
We were stopped by a road block due to the route being cleared up by BRO (Border Roads Organization) people. We spoke to some people while waiting and clicked some pictures.

We continued ahead and came up to couple of more road blocks . One of the blockages I asked Moreen to get down from the bike as it was too steep and slippery to be crossing with all the luggage and with pillion. I didn't want to take chances and probably fall down and make her also fall. While I muscled the bike through the lose soil, Moreen was struggling to cover it on foot, gasping for air.

It was drizzling and it had picked up more due to which we put the camera under covers and decided to take pictures using just the mobile. We did capture come videos as well. Will upload those after we are done with photos.

The bike was able to cope up the high altitude and also the harsh terrain. It made me happy and gained a lot of confidence that the bike should be able to cross other higher tougher passes.

We clicked pictures at the top of Zoji La and started descending, the weather also changed with glimpses of sunshine here and there. Stopped for a picture break and we were surrounded by a group of kids. We gave them biscuits and chocolates and moved ahead.

By this time we had decided that we would be staying at Drass only as personally I didn't like staying in Kargil when I came here back in 2010. So we had a lot of time as we had to cover only some 50 odd kms more for the day.

I kept telling Moreen that it would have been dazzling scenery if the cloud cover wasn't there. Moreen just said it is still breathtaking for her 🙂

By 1 o clock we reached Drass and had delicious lunch in the form of Mutton Rogan Josh, Rice and Chapatis 🙂 We checked out the rooms there as well but Moreen didn't like it. We then went and checked out the JKTDC guest house and there was one room available for a very cheap price of 200/- per night. The room was decent, neat and clean with proper bathroom. We took it.
We gave the bike a much need wash as well and mainly washed the brake as there was a lot of slush that was stuck.

We had thought of roaming here and there in the small village but again it had started raining and we had to stay inside.
It was very cold probably single digit temperature that night. The sleeping bags, that we had brought with us, were of good use.

It had rained the whole night and I was worried if the bike will start next morning or not. But all those details in the next day's logs 🙂

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