2 Weeks. 30 People. 20 Motorcycles. 4 SUVs.

By Melissa Fedak

The Highlights

lachulungla-pass-smallShimla to Sarchu: Wrong turn to Naggar, almost running out of fuel, having the first of many Slippery Road Experiences, chai in the middle of nowhere, saying hello to the cows, discovering a new climate on the other side of Rohtang pass, using a clever camp toilet in the back of my tent, and seeing an actual starry sky.
Sarchu to Leh: Discovering a new planet around every corner, taking pictures next to signs with increasingly high elevations written on them, can't believe I'm not dying from the lack of oxygen, satellite phone paranoia, chocolate-loving children, a checkpoint or two, and a pretty lake. 
Leh: Enjoying the twisty streets, many jewelry and pashmina shops, slow and periodically nonexistent internet (but at least internet), Tibet-like monasteries, stunning mountains surrounding the valley, and all the other tourists, pretty sure we came during the only days of rain Leh got all year.
Nubra Valley: Summiting the absurdly high Khardung pass - twice - and entering the secret beauty, quiet villages, clean restrooms, and unimpressive hot springs of Nubra Valley, wandering the unspoiled town of Turtuk, like no place I've been.
Leh to Srinagar: Just when I thought the scary steep muddy passes were over, the worst yet: Zoji-la. Also, witnessing Indian patriotism at the War Memorial, returning to the humidity, oxygen, and a huge lake in Srinagar, experiencing Kashmir Hospitality in an idyllic location, and going through security an awful lot of times before realizing my air ticket back to Delhi had mysteriously been cancelled.

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