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Dave Gets High In India
By David Cook - (contact)

Kalpa again: Stranded in Kalpa, 14-22nd June

Friday June 14, 2013, 129 km (80 miles) - Total so far: 534 km (332 miles)

I'd figured that staying here for another two days might be ok, but had no idea that I might have no choice but to stay in paradise a little while longer ...

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I’d planned to leave Kalpa on the 16th, but woke to freezing rain and sleet. Thunder, localized landslides and later news that the roads were all closed. For the next 4 days the freezing rain, sleet and snow pounded the area, causing landslides, major loss of life and major infrastructural damage. Power, telephone and cell phone coverage all ceased. Roads in all directions had disappeared into the Sutlej River.

On the 17th we evacuated our guesthouse due to one too many big rocks bounding down onto the road behind us from the live hillside above. News slowly filtered through that many thousands had been killed due to landslides throughout northern India. I, along with other tourists in area, stopped feeling so unlucky. We just hunkered down, with all our clothes on, eating and exercising to keep warm, and asked everyone who might know how long the area would be closed off. Opinions varied between 2 days and a month, all with equal head-wobbling certainty. The army started evacuating people from Recong Peo via helicopter back to Rampur in, as far as we could ascertain, order of moustache bushiness (= importance). We aren’t on any lists of that type. On the 19th, once the rain had cleared, I ventured out to inspect the damage. The road to Rogi was devastated:

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Behind our guesthouse. We evacuated

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I could see that long sections of the NH22 back to Karcham had slipped into the Sutlej River, which was now a dirty dark grey and broiling away angrily. The land seemed alive with new slips forming everywhere and we could hear and see slips on the other side of the river. I thought I’d give it two more days for the landslides to stabilize and the roads to dry out before I tried to ride out. On the 21st I packed rode down to Powari and attempted to ride north, only to be stopped by the Kinnauri police, and told by a very stressed-out roading engineer that if I continued in that direction I’d be carrying my bike for 50km’s through live landslides and roading works which, in these parts, is mainly blasting: “The road has gone, we are building a new one which will take 25 days. You cannot continue”.

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You will not pass!

I wouldn’t be going through Spiti after all. I climbed back up to Kalpa to check into a better hotel and hatch a new plan.

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Whereas visible displays of affection between members of the opposite sex are unseen in India, the menfolk are very close...

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Backpackers huddling for warmth

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Another casualty. I ran a snake over the next day but it just slithered off seemingly undamaged.


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"Dave Gets High In India" Copyright © 2013-2014 By David Cook - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on June 15, 2013 04:57 PDT, last updated on November 15, 2013 16:03 PDT
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