– ODO- 11618 – 11742km
– Location- The Forest, Himachal Pradesh, India
– Weather- 14-28 Clear
Last night I had my sights set on camping. I’d been overcharged for a hotel last night and throughout the day I passed small patches of forest and remote tracks splitting from the highway. All teasing campsites but at an inconvenient time of day. The sun sets a little later now as I move north the earth tilts towards me for the northern hemisphere spring. As the day wore on I began to be passed by a number of strange vans, trucks and tractors drawing trailers. Each had been fitted out to carry people. Wooden mezzanines held mattresses where the women and children sat. The men sat on the stoop, tied down with rope. More family members climbed onto the roof.
As the sun began to set the concentration of these retro fit busses increased dramatically. More and more of the junctions were blocked with police. Music started up from large tents beside the road offering food. As the sun slipped into the haze the road turned into a car park. As I looked for a campsite I’d stumbled into a huge three day festival. The Sikh Glastonbury. Typical. I turned into the nearest hotel. Ate and dropped to sleep.
This morning I woke to my usual third-day hump. My legs moved like hunks of clay and my heart refused to beat faster, even when I stood to get blood into my them. After two 160km days on the flat highway I turned further north. At 10am the snowy tops of the Himalayas came into sights over the foothills and bands of gray-blue mist. The sight of the snow covers peaks visible yet still over 100km away brought me back to eastern Turkey. The sight of Turkey’s highest peak mixed excitement with a strange primordial fear.
As the incline jumped steeply my legs (and the pack of Borbon biscuits I’d just eaten) came into their own. The pain dropped away and the sweat began to flow but the beauty brought a new smile to my face.