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Keylong to Sarchu | The Freedom Fighter

Woke up early, after going to sleep super early the previous night, and watched the sun come up. The morning light on the peaks of the Zankar looked amazing. After a leisurely breakfast we headed out of Keylong, the air was crisp but the sun warm.

About 10 kilometres from Keylong We passed two flock of sheep almost 200-300 in each flock. They were accompanied by their shepherds who’s appearance reminded us how close we are to the Pakistan border. 
India with its huge geography has, at its outter reaches, Indians that look completely different to their countrymen in other parts. Genetic influences which spill over from the Middle East, Tibet, Nepal and China all influence how the Indian population look based on their proximity to these regions.

These shepherds and their herd migrate almost 600km at this time of year away from the monsoons in the south to the drier north. (We passed about 5 large flocks and their owners on today’s ride). The smooth road was fast and amazing to ride but has sections of dirty and rocky sections which in places also had almost river like crossings in places.   

Each crossing provided a challenge and an sense of adventure with numerous bikers all stopping to ensure their riding partners made it across safely and also to watch how other riders fared across the technical section. Some made it through ok, everyone got their feet and legs very wet and a few lay their bikes, unintentionally, down in the water.    

We rode over the Baralacha Pass (4890m) with numb toes and descended down to the tiny settlement of Kilang Sarai.   Baralacha Pass

We had lunch of Dhal Bhat and as we headed into the final section of our ride for the day, the desert valley opened into large sandy flats cut down the middle with a tar road and flanked by beautiful steep mountains either side.   Twenty five kilometres and another deep river crossing later we arrived at our night camp in Sarchu.  Sarchu is a tiny settlement stretched either side of 300m of road in a desert valley. The “hotels” are simple tin structures with mattresses laid on top of brick slabs. There’s no electricity and I haven’t seen the “toilets” yet. Sarchu “Main Street” 

Another early night before our 9 hour day to Leh tomorrow.   Our “Hotel”

Distance: 119km
Bug strikes: none that I can recall. (Maybe after 3 days of riding I have stopped noticing).
Number of bikes I’ve seen without both wheels on the ground today: at least 8.