Killad was a long way away so it was imperative that we begin early. So we did, left the cottage at 7 am and began tumbling down towards Khajjiar. The meadows looked lovely early in the day with no one around. It would have been the perfect setting for breakfast, but unfortunately none of the shops had opened.
We marched on towards Chamba, refuelling quickly at its outskirts and moving forward towards Tissa. A greasy breakfast of friend paranthas and ‘aloo tarkari’ in a nondescript village was the only break we took before the narrow climb towards Sach pass began. The Muslim population in the passing villages was increasing markedly and their attire and looks were quite similar to that of the gaddi people one finds in the Kashmir valley. One could sense the proximity of Kashmir to the valley we were in.
The climb towards Satrundi reminded us of the Chanshal pass climb. It was similar in its flora, dirt track and a moderate grade incline. There were few people to be seen on the climb as well. Aarti and I exchanged our seats just before the Satrundi check-post since she was the only driver in the car holding a valid license. I had misplaced mine a month back and was unable to find it. The road was blocked by a truck which was punctured and thus we were forced to take a lunch break of Maggi at the only Dhaba there. The sky which was overcast till now suddenly started to spew droplets of rain. Looking up, we could see a shower of white over the mountain above us, right where Sach pass was situated! Our excitement was visible, we were about to witness the first snowfall of the season over Sach pass and the valley in general.