Manali

40 kilometers. Up and down. From Manali to Patlikuhl and back. On mountain bikes. Through the hills of Himachal Pradesh, breathtaking scenery on either side, the Beas flowing to the right down in the valley below, alpine trees dotting the horizon and offering shelter from the sun, the road curving like a scythe, arms outstretched, wind in the face, music in in the ear. Amazing. Seven of us biked it to Patlikuhl, and two of us decided to do the return leg as well. It was a challenge, but one overcome through determination. Coming back was a lot of uphill, and my legs were aching and burning after the first climb. The two of us kept at it, stopping once for water and then at the halfway mark, for some hot tea at a dhaba. Then it was back on our bikes, legs pumping as we scaled the terrain and managed to stay clear of buses and trucks as the light faded and day made way for night. To reach our destination, the Dragon Lodge in Old Manali, and to slap backs and hug friends and retell the journey was a fine way to cap a fine day.

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