Two days after the Gata Loops we are driving on the More Plains. A plateau with huge, golden mountains on either side. There’s no road here so to get from one side to the other you have to drive through tons of sand. Some parts are more sandy than others and our stubborn driver (who chooses to remain anonymous) chooses to hit the parts where the sand is nice and loose. I think you get where this is going….
Halfway through the plateau the jeep gets stuck. And not just stuck as in: oh, we’ll dig it out and are back on track withing 30 minutes. No, really stuck. For hours. No traffic in sight, the air getting darker and the wind reaching such speeds that sandstorms make it impossible to stay outside the car. Or as Wikipedia says: The area is uninhabitable and has no construction at all, and also no population. In short: we are doomed.
After hours of waiting we see a large truck appearing through the sandy mist. And another. And another. Some twenty army trucks are speeding through the sand. We jump out of the car waving our jackets and screaming till they stop. The commander in chief is not too keen on helping us, but we beg the soldiers to help us. Luckily, they do. An hour later it’s pitch dark with temperatures below zero. Our faces and hair are pancaked with sand, but we are happy to be on the road again. On our way to another camp near Tso Kar, where a nice warm bucket bath awaits us…
P.S. All along the Leh-Manali highway you come across proof of just how dangerous these narrow high altitude curves really are. So remember people: stay focussed, or you might end up like this: