Upon waking up, I still felt tired from the previous day's ride. After making some calculations I realized that if I start riding from Keylang then I will not be able to reach the Baralacha La pass. It would be an 80 km ride with more than 2000m of elevation gain. I am not used to climbing on the bike so I didn't want to take any chances, so I decided to go and find a pick-up truck till Darcha. Keylang to Darcha was about 30 KM and it would leave me with 50 KM of climb. It took me around 1 hour to get there. There was a dhaba and a military checkpoint from where the climb started. I asked for an aloo paratha and a coffee for myself and packed a bread omelet sandwich with me for the journey. Even though I had brought some eatables with me like bananas and biscuits I was not sure they were enough for me to reach the top in time.
I had decided 3:30 PM to be the cut-off time for me to reach the top because it was the time when the pass was going to have the highest temperature of the day that is 1 degree Celsius. And if I am at the top after that time it would become very hard for me to return to the nearest town in time and find a place to stay. So, I promised myself that wherever I am at 3:30 PM I will return back from there. It is always a good practice to decide a return time and stick to it whatever happens when you are doing an activity like this in high altitude and remote places. It helps to keep you safe. I reached Darcha around 9:00 AM and after breakfast, I started riding at 9:30 AM. It was steep from the start itself and I had 6 hours to ride 50 KM and 2000 m of elevation gain to reach the top.
Very soon, I realized that it was going to be very hard for me to reach the top. Roads were quite steep as compared to what I usually ride in the plains back home. I still kept climbing slowly with my already tired legs from the previous day. I would take a few breaks to get some pictures of the route and rest my legs. I filled my water bottle from water sources I found on the way. The views were too beautiful. From that height, I could see all those little towns I left behind. Slowly, I moved into the depths of mountain ranges and couldn't see any human settlement anymore.
It was the most amazing ride till now. I was climbing slowly. It was so calm and silent up there, there was no noise apart from a few vehicles passing by the road. I could hear my heartbeat and breathing whenever I was out of breath. It acted as a reminder that I need to take it easy now. I found a few military camps on the way but there were not many people. Trucks were moving together, in case one of them broke down then others could help. There was no network so you can't call anyone if something goes wrong. I stopped at a few places to eat some biscuits and bananas and rest. It was around 12:00 noon when I started feeling a little cold in my hands due to the winds and realized that I had lost my left-hand glove somewhere along the road. Went back a few kilometers but couldn't find it. I was trying to keep up but it was becoming harder maybe because of the elevation but still, it felt amazing to be in that place of silence. Wish I could have spent a night there beside the high mountains on the bank of the river flowing with the freezing cold water, sleeping under the stars in that place would have felt ecstatic.
Stopped after 30 KM at Zing Zing Bar to eat something and met some truck drivers who were also having their lunch. After seeing me struggling to ride my cycle, out of curiosity they asked, "Where are you going?", I said, "Just till the top of Baralacha La Pass". They offered me a ride to the top in their truck. As I had already calculated in my mind I was going slower than expected and I wouldn't reach the top before 3:30 PM at any cost if I kept riding like that. I also didn't want to go back without seeing the top after coming so far ahead. Also, who wouldn't want to ride an extra 20 km downhill? I said yes to those truck drivers and one of them immediately climbed in the back of his truck and asked me to hand my cycle to him. After loading my cycle in the back we sat in the truck and started the journey. Sitting in the truck I was lost in my thoughts and mesmerized by the views of giant mountains everywhere around. We were moving slowly towards the top and I was happy I chose to go with them. Just about an hour later we reached the top and I asked them to drop me there. After coming down from the truck I was so relieved because now it was only 50 km of downhill journey that I had to cover. I was hoping to recover a little. I had reached the top more than 1 hour before the cut-off time I had decided for myself. I finished my bread omelet while soaking in the views of the mountains.
Then it was time for the downhill ride of 50 KM back to Jispa. After staying for a few minutes at the top and taking in the views I started my return journey. The cold wind made me miss my lost glove even more. The downhill ride was a pleasure, and I could admire the scenery without being out of breath all the time. I tried to look for my lost glove but couldn't find it anywhere and gave up on it. My body was not working much on the return journey so I started feeling a lot colder than before.
After sunset, the temperature dropped so fast and reached close to 0 degrees Celsius or maybe below 0. Somehow I reached Darcha at the same dhaba I had my breakfast in the morning. Had a cup of coffee to warm my shivering hands. My whole body was shivering due to chilly winds. It was almost 6 PM and it was getting dark. I had to find a stay in the nearby town called Jispa before it got completely dark. I started riding towards the town and in 30 mins reached a homestay where I could get a room to sleep for the night. The sky was so clear in Jispa that I could see so many stars, I stayed outside for some time in the night and took some photos in the cold. The town was very small and the market closed in the evening itself. There was nothing to do in the town so I had my dinner in the nearby dhaba and came back to the room. It was definitely colder than 0 degrees Celsius in the night. I took the bus the next morning to Keylang and then from Keylang to Manali.