Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 6: Besi Sahar to Chamje

Today’s start was slightly delayed as the ferocious appetite of yesterday clearly carried over. Part of the blame can go to miscommunication as the waiter misunderstood our egg request & brought us 2 omelettes each. Extravagence.

Hitting the trail with only a brief stop to get permits checked and the road immediately became nuggety, a great relief after two days on the ‘road’. Straight away we started reeling in fluro-clad trekkers, my bar mounted bell proving a boon for subtly alerting them to our presence.

Ollie crosses an axle deep river with a grimace

Michi braves the monsoon fed torrent while a local stares

Stopping to get permits stamped again we descended a set of stairs leading to a swing bridge, the gathering throngs of villagers giving Michi some dutch courage to ride a set of stairs with great gusto. Unfortunately he lost is front tire on a slippery step and took a dirt nap. A less than ideal start.

Michi adopts the carry

Crashes aside, after the plain sailing of the first section, we were shocked to discover that the proceeding morning would be filled with steep stairs that forced us to shoulder our steeds and grovel up the hills. Come lunchtime it was wearing thin, but a plate of vegetable fried rice and a rousing downhill set the tone for an upbeat afternoon.

Not even a malfunctioning Rohloff (which reduced Michi to one gear) or a slit sidewall on my rear tire could quash the buzz of the views and trails we were being treated to.

Michi gets a push from some friendly locals

In an enduring theme of friendly locals, we befriended some children who gave us moral and physical support up one of the steepest pinches. We also met a young Iranian on holiday who induced cross cultural hysterics when he imitated the sleeping pose of a trail side dog.

Our Iranian friend mimics a trailside dog

One the darker side, the litter and trash of both locals and tourists still seems to mar the vistas, and the pushy demands for candy or money from some children is starting to wear thin.

Our final stop was about half our planned distance, the sheer undulation making our blind plans too ambitious, even after 9 hours of riding. Chamje however is amazing. Perched atop a cliff opposite a 100m waterfall whose sheer thunderous flow causes resonance of our room windows.

We are using sleeping bags for the first time, with plenty of insect repellent to keep the bloodthirsty at bay.

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