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FORD UPPER MUSTANG ADVENTURE: INTO THE KINGDOM OF LO

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For centuries, the mystical valleys of upper Mustang remained isolated from the rest of the world, echoing little more than the hymns of the religious pilgrims and the lulling chimes of the bells hung around the lumbering fleets of yaks and horses. A path that served as a route for ancient traders, these winding and unforgiving terrains were our paths into the ancient Kingdom of Lo.

 

Under the expert organization of the Yeti Travels Pvt. Ltd. crew and the title sponsors Go Ford Nepal, the #FordUpperMustangAdventure unraveled into a trip of a lifetime for the participants. A driving haven for any enthusiast, here is a look at the epic trip into the arid deserts in the mountains: Lomanthang.
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Catch the complete experience in the upcoming issue of AutoLife Magazine. A special shoutout to the other sponsors: Maxxis Tyres, Ironman 4×4 and Bacardi.

 

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The participants were briefed by our Captain, Vivek B Basnyat (MD. Yeti Travels Pvt. Ltd.) at the Fishtail Lodge Pokhara Nepal where we began our journey. Wise words that each driver and passenger would heed and recall throughout this adventurous journey.

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Sagar Pratap Thapa and Dipen Pradhan, along with all the drivers, nurses and the rest of the crew, would be integral to the success of the #FordUpperMustangAdventure.

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We’d all be arriving back to this very spot at Fistail Lodge Pokhara Nepal, a lot dirtier and with plenty of memories than when we left.

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This is the decked out Ford Ranger that had undertaken the responsibility of leading the pack into the mountains and bringing everyone back in one piece. A formidable beast equipped with the best aftermarket accessories available in the market that include suspension and bull bars from Ironman 4×4, offroad capable tyres from Maxxis along with plenty of other important gears and gadgets.

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And a Winch that would come in handy throughout the trip.

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We get the first glimpse the mountains which were an inkling of the splendid vistas that would come.

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We stopped for some lunch at Tatopani, the luscious pork was a pleasant surprise.

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At Jomsom, we would be spending time at the Hotel Pride N Spa.

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As splendid as Jomsom was, we had bigger ventures ahead so we headed further.

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A short stop at Kagbeni greeted us with this beautiful view.

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And the visual extravaganza kept going.

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The Mahindra Thar was right at home.

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Leading the way…

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Of the 102 river crossings, the first one was met with immense vigor and enthusiasm.

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However, it was also the only one that would create a significant problem. But no need to fret, help was always at hand thanks to the crew of Yeti Travels.

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The expressions tell a lot, luckily it was quickly sorted and we headed out soon after.

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The result of being properly equipped, good job team Yeti Travels.

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Turns out the air intake sucked in a plastic bag, which stalled the engine.  Another reason to take the importance of garbage disposal seriously.

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Our convoy couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop.

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The Ford Endeavour was certainly in its element.

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Driving up there was a challenge, but an unforgettable driving experience nonetheless.

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There were plenty of passes to overcome, and with each climb came a scenic view.

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A particularly tricky bit lay ahead, one that demanded finesse, courage, and a capable machine.

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Sometimes it isn’t about raw power and speed, it’s about knowing your machine and taking the technicality of the terrain on with a cool head.

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Arid desert terrain surrounded by colossal mountains, a sight you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else on this earth.

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And the terrain kept getting better and better.

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Successfully reaching Lomanthang was reason enough to celebrate, which we all did with a hearty feast of snacks and dinner that had been pre-organized by Ford and Yeti.

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We even managed to celebrate a birthday with some cake and champagne.

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We had a layover at Lomanthang so we headed over to visit the mystical mountain caves.

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This was as far as the vehicles were allowed, so we took a ticket each and ventured forwards on foot…

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Not before taking some photographs of course.

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The Sky caves of Mustang.

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And a closer look.

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Day: 5. We head back to Jomsom where we will be spending a night before heading for Pokhara.

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We lined up to make our trip back through a shortcut through the riverbeds of the Kaligandaki River.

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Demanding terrains and the high altitude had taken its toll on one of the vehicles, so some of us enjoyed the view as we waited to regroup.

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Because we would be driving through some deep river crossings, Vivek B. Basnyat made sure everyone knew what they were doing. The shortcut we would be taking had the potential of being the most difficult part of our entire journey.

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The plan was to keep up with the lorries in order to take the safest route through the treacherous river crossings…

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Easier said than done, the lorries easily wadded through rivers that ran well over our bonnets.

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Thankfully, we were following an experienced leader who had driven through these paths before.

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The Kaligandaki river had simmered down which is why we attempted the tricky trail. However, the powers of the raging waters were evident and in time they had carved their path through gargantuan boulders that dwarfed us in comparison.

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After some serious off road driving, there was no better way to bring the trip to an end than with a dip in the hot springs of Tatopani.
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END

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