Finally Bhim was here and we toasted to our next two weeks of adventure. We knew we had to go to Simla and figure out. It was easier and cheaper to take an Ola outstation cab than a bus which costed a bit more and had specific timings.
We kinda made a plan, well sort of, over beers of course. We had different stops given by friends Bunny and Babubhai across Spiti valley and the only way we could figure where to go from Simla was to first reach there and ask around.
So we timed it well or so we thought. Right around 3.30 pm we got into the cab and made our way up to the hill station. It was going well until it didn’t.
The driver, a Mr. Gurmeet Singh was a true Jat, in the sense, he was impatient, reckless basically pissed off. And as we were on the highway up in the hills, getting completely dark, this man was giving us a lesson on how NOT to drive up the hills! Overtaking vehicles at blind curves, cursing, speeding, honking till we got a headache and even my plea of faking nausea and vomiting didn’t deter him from his rashness. What do you do?
We decided to let him be. Whatever we were saying seem to anger him more so like South Indians usually do, we kept quiet and left everything in the hands of the Hill Gods hoping they were guiding him behind the wheel!
It was pretty dark and after an excruciating 4.5 hours with Gurmeet Singh, we reached Simla. I told Aanchal, my partner’s niece to book a budget hotel close to the bus stand. We literally were staying less than 12 hours as we would go to the bus stand the next day and see where we could go.
Now my wonderful Aanchal booked such an awesome place that no local knew how to get there! We were better off getting out of the car from this madman so we got off and called the hotel(or so I thought). The owner told us to stay where we are and he would pick us up.
Then began a crazy downhill ride, it was going down and down till we felt this was not Simla! Where the hell were we going?? Finally when we reached we realised this was a building with a few rooms run like a house.
A lane so narrow and it would require a good 2 kms steep ascent walk to just reach the main road! After the heart busting ride, now this? We burst out laughing! Well we were seeking an adventure but not so soon. I decided to get Aanchal here one day and just watch her panting up the 2 kms steep ascent!😁
We were in a daze. It was past 9 pm and we couldn’t even think of going up that hill to search for something to eat. But like a little spot of sunshine came a young friendly caretaker. He led us to our super tiny room where if you moved you would hurt your knee, and got us some hotel delivered food. We were bone tired and we still had to figure out a way to get to the bus stand in the morning.
So we asked the man all the details. We got the info that we had to go to the new bus stand which meant that first we had to walk up with our backpacks to the main road, walk to the old bus stand another 2 kms away, take a bus to the new bus stand and then check out. Yup folks that simple! 😊
We were ready to go flat on the bed, but we still had to figure out where to go so we opened our notes and finally decided to go to Narkanda. We did get options like Sangla first, then to Chitkul but Bhim and I did trek to Sangla last year during Rupin Pass. That was our last trek point and we hated the noise and traffic in that busy town so that went out of the window.
Narkanda meant we skipped the above and it was in between. Here is where one should stop using Google Maps! It showed 2 hours of driving BUT and a big BUT the route to Spiti is something else. Your two hours could mean 10-12 hours depending on the benevolence of the Himalayas and we would know that pretty soon enough.
So with Narkanda as a destination in mind we crashed off. An anticipation of an early morning walk/ride to the new bus stand.
But then… We woke up the next morning to heavy rains and thunder…. It was pounding, and let me tell you rains in Chandigarh to rains in the mountains are completely different..
What do we do now?