I felt safe in Srinagar. I mean, as safe as you can feel in a city where you have to walk/drive past officers with guns every few blocks. So I wasn’t too worried the morning we were paddled across the lake to our driver and guide who would take us up to the mountains in Naranag for the day.
But when we got there, the driver seemed to be having on argument with several other guys. We climbed into the Jeep and the guide told us not to be concerned.
A few minutes later the driver ended the conversation and pulled out onto the road going around the lake.
Now, we have ridden with some crazy drivers in Asia, so I wasn’t surprised at first by the speed at which the driver rounded the lake.
But when we hit a bump and Kali and Arwen, who were sitting in the back seat, went flying up and hit the ceiling, Rand asked the driver to slow down.
He may have slowed a bit, but kept weaving in and out of the other cars. And when we hit another bump Kali and Arwen hit the ceiling again.
Then Rand said, “Seriously, slow down.”
The driver slowed a bit and 2 seconds later the group of guys the driver had been fighting with pulled in front of us and got out.
Suddenly we realized we had been a part of a HIGH SPEED CAR CHASE.
The driver and the guys began arguing. One of the guys came up to the car and told us not to worry, it was a personal matter. Apparently our driver had hit and caused damage to the other car prior to picking us up.
After some more yelling, our driver threw some money at one of the guys and got back in the Jeep and drove away. This time at a reasonable speed.
About an hour into the drive, we stopped in a small town. I thought we had just stopped for snacks, but it turned out we had a flat tire! Our poor driver was having a bad day.
First, a fender bender, then losing a car chase, now a flat tire.
Thirty minute later with the tire fixed, we made it to Naranag with no more incidences.
We arrived in the little mountain town and were immediately given ponies to ride. (For 500 rs per person).
My kids have ridden elephants and camels, but it turns out they had never ridden horses. But now they have been on a pony trek through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in northern India.
At the edge of town, we rode past stone ruins covered in moss.
Then the path became a trail through the woods, along a rambling river with snow capped mountains in the distance.
I like hiking, as long as it is not too strenuous, but I could get used to viewing gorgeous scenery from the back of a horse.
When we were returned to the village, we ate lunch and played with our pony guide’s bunny and some local kids.
A car chase and pony trek were enough excitement for one day, so we were glad for an uneventful ride back to Srinagar.