28-01-2017, 1100 hours, Kaza, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India:
Today is a bright sunny day which is a good sign for us, as it means that the BRO (Border Road Organisation) and the HPPWD (Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department) workforce can work on clearing the snow off the road. PWD workers are pouring soil over the left-over snow which remains after the digger has removed the mass of it. Judging by the amount of snow accumulated outside, we have decided to stay one more night in Kaza, or until we get the news about the situation of the road ahead, so as to ensure that the road is clear for vehicular movement and we don’t get stuck again.
Our car’s engine also needs to be turned on every now and then, so that the diesel doesn’t freeze in the pipes and injectors because of the cold, ensuring that when we are on the road the car moves fluently. But it also means that diesel is being consumed irrespective of us going anywhere or not. So we head to the petrol pump to fill up the tank. It is very necessary that the fuel tank is full, coz if the tank is half filled, it is quite likely that the diesel would freeze inside the tank also. But upon reaching the petrol pump we were told that there was no electricity, which meant we would have to come back later.
As turning the car is another issue with thick layer of snow piled up on either sides of the road. We went a little ahead of Kaza town to the entry gate on the other end where the road to Langza bifurcates.
Everything is white all around us and it is getting difficult to see in the distance for more than a minute as the light of the sun is reflected back from the snow, thus leading to too much light entering into my eyes, which in turn, is making my eyes water. I am realising now what a big mistake I made forgetting my Cat 4 sun glasses at home – .the Cat 4 are meant to be worn in such situations reducing the risk of snow blindness. But, I guess I am lucky as Mr. Sanju has an extra pair of Aviators which while not meant to be worn in the snow, are still better than squinting my eyes to look ahead. Keeping the face covered as much as possible is also proving helpful in this case and preventing me from getting sun burns.
By the time our car was turned around we spotted a few partridges on the road side – partridges – which seem to be abundant in this region.