13th July, 2008.
Route: Leh – Karu – Chang La – Pangong Tso – Chang La – Karu – Leh.
Distance Covered: ~300km.
The day of visit to Pangong Tso.
The Scorpio was at the guest house sharp at 6.30. Since it was quite early, all our caretakers were fast asleep. Rikzik, our driver for the day started calling for us. Sudhakar went to open the doors of the guest house in payjama’s, and rikzik asked him to convey message to the Indian tourists that their Scorpio has arrived.
We started from the guest house by 6.45am non-stop until Karu, where we stopped for quick breakfast and tea. Sudhakar was in so hurry that we just had tea and decided to pack parathas. The persistent rains since yesterday afternoon meant it was snowing at mountains surrounding Leh. Trouble, if it was snowing at mountains since yesterday the chances of our crossing the mountain pass were nil unless weather changes to sunny suddenly. The road to Pangong Lake goes via the mountain pass called Mighty Chang La. The mighty Chang La pass, at an altitude of 17800 ft, is considered 3rd highest pass in the world after Khardung La and Tanglang La. No vehicles were allowed after the check post as it was snowing at the top. We decided to wait for sometime and see if weather changes; if it changed there were chances of going to Pangong lake otherwise we had to go back.
Luck was by our side; in half an hour the weather changed suddenly and became sunny and remained throughout the day. The further journey to Pangong Lake was uneventful. Since we were not driving we had lots of time to take snaps and sceneries were really amazing. Reached at the top of Chang La, took snaps, walked on the 1ft snow, had free tea at the army operated canteen, played a bit in the snow and moved on.
The Pangong Lake is really huge; The Indo-China border passes through it. The lake is around 35 km’s in India and 70 km long in china. The water is crystal clear and blue in color, it actually changes its color as the sunlight changes, from green to blue to deep blue to grey. The lake has a calming effect; one can just stare at it for hours; it’s the most beautiful lake I have seen. It is perhaps the highest salt water lake in the world.
Another day came to an end but it was not tiring. Perhaps the best day of the trip so far. We decided to spend the evening at Leh market. Bought a pair riding gloves, as from the Baralach La experience we knew that our gloves will not hold at Khardung La, if weather is not so favorable. Tomorrow would be the landmark day for us, the day for which we started this tour, the day of riding on the highest motorable road.