Kevin Swains
Travel Website
This is Kev's Travel Blog




Headed down to the Kunzum La to Chandra Tal  Lake ( Moon Lake). The way down was hard, fighting the headwind blowing tasty mouthfulls of dust my way. But the area is heavily glaciated and stunning. Turned onto the Chandra Tal 4wd track, the continuing head wind and worsening road made for hard going. Arrived at the lake completely knackered....soon changed that with a few bars of chocky, tea and bickies:)
Later settled down for yet more dal and interesting!
Slept like a baby (farting all night that is:) and woke to a pristine morning.

Decided to do a bit of biking to a nearby hill that leads upto the snowline. Problem was there was a very steep and deep gorge in the way with a river at the bottom. I sussed it out and decided the river was shallow and the valley sides quite managable. Set off down, bike slung over the shoulder. after 10mins things got a little dicey. The slope was near impossible even without a bike and I was continously slipping down the slope and kept praying to stop. I stopped and wanted to climb back up but it was way to steep....ooops!
Downhill at Chandra Tal
Carrying the bike down a trechorous slope near Chandra Tal.
I carried on down and made it to the bottom....thankfully. The river looked deeper close up! I put my leg in and it nearly dissapeared. If I tried to cross I'd be washed away for sure. A quick lesson in river crossings I think?
Now I was buggered. Can't cross and can't climb out!
Ended up wading up-stream until I found a still a lesser slope that was still rather daunting, but  at least possible. Powered up in short sections. Twas rather easy but once at the top I suddenly became completely exhausted.
Sunrise at Chandra Tal
Wonderous sunrise views near Chandra Tal lake.
That night it rained, snowed and hailed a bit. It was the first time by bivvy bag had seen rain. It seemed to be doing allright. the early hours I woke hardly able to breath and opened the zip a little. It was also bloody freezin!
Turned out it was -9C and the rain had frozen on my bivvy, forming a barrier so I obviously could'nt breath anymore:) Then condensation occured on the inside and this froze as well....a good nights sleep all least the valley views were awesome in the morning (above).

Chandra Tal Lake

Chandra Tal ( Moon Lake)
Left Chandra Tal for the tent accomodation of Chatru about 50km away and downhill so it should be an easy ride....WRONG!
The road was garbage, being only loose fist size pebbles and keeping on the bike was hard enough. A vicious head wind also blew and speeds were down to 8kmph!
The size of the stones on the road were dwarfed by the trucks sized rounded boulders at the side of the roed. It looked as though they'd rolled down from the tops of the hills and settled there. I looked up and more stones were waiting their turn to roll downl. I just hoped they were going to wait till I'd passed.
The scenery again was incredible but the clouds closed in and looked threatening. Impressive glaciers clung to the mountainsides but I pushed on not caring to stop in case the clouds released their loads. The previous nights weather was still on my mind and I can do without cycling in that!

Chandra Tal Camping

-9C night time temperatures at the Chandra Tal lake

Met three Indian guys cycle touring the opposite way that I'd just come. They were on shitty 15 speed heavyweight Indian mountain bikes and had very little in the way of luggage. There was I with my $2000 bike with suspension, good luggage racks and bags, cooking and camping equipment and most importantly good wet weather gear and my clipless peddles that cost more than their bikes. I thought these guys were super heros compared to me!