I love nature, the quiet of it and the calmness I find in the proximity of the most untouched and remote beautiful places! Years back I hesitantly did my first trek and since then I have yearned for it even more! I had always done the treks with my family and friends but it’s really difficult to get everyone together often. Plans don’t get materialize that often. So, what’s the option? Travel solo but with an organization. Indiahikes had been in my mind for a year and I always wanted to go on a trek with them. This time I convinced three of my other friends and booked the Hampta Pass Trek with them.
We fixed the slot that we wanted to do and it was 2nd September 2017 to 7th September 2017. We wanted to wait until the monsoon was over because the hills are pretty dangerous in monsoon and trekking in rain wasn’t preferred. There were reported a lot of landslides in August and because of the climate shift the monsoon was late. There were heavy rains in all north India in August and early September. This made us worry about our trek too. We were supposed to leave for Manali on 1st September and we did. It was a cloudy day and by afternoon it started raining heavily. The rest of our entire drive was in rains. The under-construction roads in and near Manali made the commute really difficult and it took us more time to reach than it should have. We reached Manali in the evening around 7:00 pm or 7:30 pm.
Day 1 – Pick up by Indiahikes team from Prini to Jobra, followed by a trek of 45 minutes to the first campsite in Jobra at 9,800 ft.
Day 2 – Trek from Jobra to Jwara (11,072 ft) covering the distance of 7.14 kms
Day 3 – Trek from Jwara to Balu ka Gera (12,411 ft) covering a distance of 5 kms
Day 4 – Trek from Balu ka Gera to Shea Goru (12,254 ft) via Hampta Pass (14, 035 ft) covering a total distance of 6.65 kms
Day 5 – Trek from Shea Goru to Chattru (10,898 ft) covering a distance of 6.87 kms then going to the last campsite Dadapul by cabs and from there to Chandrataal and back to the campsite by the same cabs.
Day 6 – Back to Manali by cabs.
Day 1 – 2nd September 2017
It was morning and as soon as I woke up, I heard the sound of rain. Trust me it was pretty depressing. It continued for about 2 hours or more may be and we got worried. I called up my trek leader and he confirmed the trek was on. That was a relief! Around 9 am the rain finally stopped and we could see the sun! Our reporting time was 11:45 am at Keylinga Inn. We got ready and left for it. We reached well ahead of time, such that even Indiahikes people weren’t there! 😀 I think they arrived 10 or 15 minutes later. We were briefed and all the mandatory documents were collected which included medical certificate and proofs, copy of our ID, Fitness proof, etc
After completing all the formalities, the team distributed their merchandise to everyone and whoever rented some trekking gears, got theirs too! We had our lunch there which was provided by Indiahikes and soon after our backpacks were loaded on the camper and we left for Jobra in the cabs. The way to Jobra was pretty rough and bouncy. It was a climb, so we crossed around 37 curves some of which were really tricky and dangerous! It took around half an hour or 45 minutes to reach and this was the point where we had to start our trek. As soon as we stepped out, it started drizzling and the drizzling turned into heavy rainfall!! It was raining cats and dogs!
We couldn’t start the trek on the dedicated time because we had to wait for the rain to stop or at least slow down a bit. It was around 3 pm that we started our trek when the rain finally stopped. The trek though was a short one just for half an hour to the campsite, however, it wasn’t a piece of cake! Due to the rainfall, the trail became super muddy and mushy. It was really slippery and we all had to be careful while taking every step as we could easily slip and fall. Many of us did fell but thankfully no one was hurt.
It took about 45 minutes for us to reach the Jobra campsite. It is at the altitude of 9,800 ft. Around 5 we all gathered in the dinner tent for snacks and briefing. Our Trek Leader Nikhil Bhauwala gave us all the information about the entire trek and things to take care of. The discipline to be followed and what medical signs one shouldn’t ignore. He also told us about the initiatives taken by Indiahikes such as “Green Trail” a cleanliness drive and much more. At 7:30 we had our dinner served and then we spent some quality time in our tents and were off to sleep for the next big day!
Day 2 – Trek from Jobra to Jwara
We had to follow a 6-7-8 routine. At 6 am there was tea served, at 7 am breakfast and at 8 am we leave for the trek. At this campsite, we had the luxury of wet toilets and I can’t stress enough how glad I was. 😀 The campsite was located in a beautiful spot. There was river stream flowing down and view of mountains and rocky hills was just gorgeous!
Anyway, after the breakfast, we started our trek. We had to cover 7.14 kms through a trail which was moderate in terms of difficulty. Thankfully, it was sunny that day and the trail wasn’t mushy. It was lush green everywhere and local sheep and goat herds were a treat to watch! How easily they climb up and walk on the hill even in the narrowest of spaces! We spotted three big Vultures as well! There were a lot of small water streams and falls on our way but the major thing coming up was our first River Crossing!
We were not far from our next campsite in Jwara when we had to cross a river. The river was not too big, but it had a very strong current. Needless to say, the water was freezing cold. As soon as I stepped into the water, my breath just stopped for a second or two! I was knee deep in the water and I could feel the big boulders at the bottom and feet quickly went numb. A few seconds of that crossing felt like minutes and it was a huge relief to be out of it though it was one of the best adventures I had! 😀
Soon after we reached our campsite in Jwara and OMG!! It was beautiful!! Entirely different from Jobra, this one had a spread of bushes, creating a blanket of red and white flowers! It got cloudy soon and after half an hour it started raining heavily. Altitude of Jwara is 11,072 ft. Around 5:30 pm the rain stopped and the sun came out and I did too! I saw some mules grazing the field and the sun lit up the entire valley showing its beautiful color composition perfect for taking pictures! I spent a long time clicking pictures that evening! Later, we had our dinner, briefing for the next day, played some UNO and went off to sleep!
Day 3 – Trek from Jwara to Balu ka Gera
Next morning, we started our daily 6-7-8 routine and yeah, we had wet toilets here as well 😀 It was sunny and we left on time for our next campsite in Balu ka Gera. It was a distance of 5 kms and the trail was comparatively easier. In fact, I would say this was the easiest of all and one of the most beautiful ones too! The valley looked gorgeous. We trekked alongside a river and the sound of the water was lovely! After a couple of kms, we entered the plains and we found ourselves walking in a beautiful valley with multiple water streams and the grass there was yellow/golden! Can’t forget that sight!
Soon after that, we started closing into our next campsite in Balu Ka Gera and the landscape started changing slightly. The ground was full of plants with red flowers all around. I love flowers, they add so much of dimension to the landscape through their colors! We now had a mix of green and barren mountains and we started to get a little feel of Spiti valley. Soon, we reached our campsite at Balu Ka Gera and I must say it was the second best campsite of the entire trek! Wait for “The Best” one! 🙂 The altitude of this one was 12,411 ft and this makes it highest campsite for this trek.
There was a river flowing right next to the campsite and mules were grazing the field on both sides of the river. There was so much color in that landscape that I can’t even describe! I won’t do justice to it, even if I tried to. We had our lunch and spent the afternoon playing games in the common/dinner tent. At the time of sunset, Balu Ka Gera turned into a heavenly sight! Whatever snow-capped mountains were visible were glowing as if they were on fire! I went for a photo walk and below are the shots I got. The sunset added to the breathtaking beauty of that place! Soon, it was dark, we had our dinner, played UNO and went to sleep for the next BIG day! 😀
Day 4 – Trek from Balu Ka Gera to Shea Goru Via Hampta Pass
I woke up early the next morning and the clouds from last evening were gone which revealed the beautiful snowcapped mountains. The rising sun rays were falling on them and they were glittering like gold! I have seen such sights before but I can never have enough! Today was the longest and the toughest of the treks. We had to cover 6.65 kms which required us to cross 4 steep mountains to reach Hampta Pass followed by a steep descent. An estimate was, that it would take 8-9 hours to reach Shea Goru. We had our lunch packed and two 1 liter water bottles filled for the long day.
The trek started sharp at 8 am and the initial part of it was easy. The first mountain was a gradual climb. The trail was rocky for the most part. The next three mountains were steep and pretty rocky. We started gaining altitude and everyone could feel it. Breathing became heavy and fatigue came in quicker. The trail offered us some really beautiful sights! I looked back towards Balu Ka Gera after we gained some good height on the second mountain and the entire valley looked stunning!! Further, we climbed, we found solid ice platforms, another freshwater stream and an experience to make way for the mules that were walking on the same trail.
Around 12 pm we reached Hampta Pass, I must say earlier than expected. Hampta Pass was not even close to what I imagined it to be but nonetheless, I loved it! It’s a narrow rocky trail on the edge of the highest mountain of that region and offers an amazing view of the Spiti Valley. Well, with this we were officially in Spiti Valley. I heard that the weather most of the times is pretty bad up here, but we were lucky! It was part cloudy and partly sunny and we had a great time clicking scores of pictures there! We had our lunch there and then after spending around 20-25 minutes, we started to trek again.
It is from here, where the steep descent starts. It was like I was walking down a steep set of a zigzag staircase and the steps being so low that sometimes we had to sit to go to the one below. One thing you must be careful is not to hurry and really watch your step! You don’t want to twist your ankle here! On our way down we found a huge rock attractive enough to climb up and get some pictures clicked. 😀 We could spot our campsite while our descent from the mountain! We could see a huge plain land of Shea Goru and tiny yellow and orange camps from above. Soon, we were off the mountain and started walking in a huge valley (plains).
Around 3 pm we reached our Shea Goru campsite and I was awestruck from the very moment I reached there! It was indeed “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL” campsite of this trek!! I could not take my eyes off the land covered with pale green grass and beautiful red flowers, a river flowing right next to the campsite and huge steep mountains surrounding the entire valley! We could also see the Deo Tibba and Indrasan glaciers/peaks from there. However, by the time we reached the mist and cloud started to grow and we didn’t get a much clearer view. Around 4 pm, it started raining heavily which stopped around 6 pm I guess.
It had grown super cold and I was wearing all my warm layers! The cold wind made it even worse. We all gathered in the dinner tent and had a great time playing games and cards while it was raining. Later, when the rain stopped we all stepped out and went for a walk. We climbed up a small hill nearby and got such a beautiful view of our campsite and the entire Shea Goru.
It was getting dark when we came down and the night there had the most stunning view I ever saw in my entire lifetime! It was a full moon and it appeared so close to earth! The positioning of the moon was perfect! Right between two high mountains and the moonlight was so bright that it lit up the river and its water looked like molten silver! I am not exaggerating a bit, trust me it looked exactly the way I am explaining it to you! After having our dinner we went off to the much-needed sleep!
Day 5 – Trek from Shea Goru to Chattru
Today, was the last day of our trek and we had mixed feelings already! The morning was bright and beautiful and the clouds were gone. All the peaks and glaciers were clearly visible! It was a stunning sight! Remember I told you about two river crossings? Well, the second one was today! We had to cross the river flowing next to our camps. It was still very cold and I could totally imagine how freezing the water would be of that river. Honestly, I was nervous but you got to do what you got to do! There was no escape! The bad part was that part of the river that we had cross was a broad stretch, the narrow one was even deeper.
We followed the same drill and GOD I must say that I felt the time was frozen while I was in the river! I wanted to get out of it so much and yet it looked like it took us forever to do that! 😀 By the time I came out, I couldn’t feel my legs at all and had to really jump and dance around to warm them up. It took almost 4 to 5 minutes for my legs to come back to life and soon after, we started our trek.
Since this trail fell right into Spiti region, the trail was bound to be beautiful! Today’s trek was easier but the trail was pretty rocky initially. Later we got to see fairytale like wavy trails and the same red flowers everywhere! The distance we had to cover was 6.87 kms and we had to reach Chattru by 12 pm or else we might have to skip our visit to Chandrataal. We reached a hilltop, from where we could spot the NH – 505 and Chattru. There was a descent from there and then had to trek alongside river Chenab to reach the spot where cabs were waiting for us. We had a little musical entertainment while completing the last lap, courtesy my trek mates Nitin and Raghav! 🙂
Soon, we reached the cabs waiting for us, the bags were loaded in the camper and we left for our last campsite Dadapul. Dadapul is in Chattru and is at the altitude of 10,898 ft. It was incredibly windy that day and the campsite was surrounded by majestic mountains typical of Spiti region! We quickly had our lunch and left for Chandrataal Lake. I was really super excited for this because it was my dream since a couple of years to visit it. If you would have followed my journey to Spiti through my blogs and youtube videos, you would know how sad I was when I had to skip it in June 2017. A visit to Chandrataal Lake was one of the major reasons I booked the Hampta Pass Trek.
I knew the journey to the lake would be treacherous but I never imagined that it would be even more than the last time I came here! Water flowing on the roads, huge rocks and boulders that fell due to landslides, made it my most treacherous journeys ever! The only that kept us interested was the excitement to see the lake and the stunning views of the mountains on our way! The shadows of clouds above create such a magical sight on those majestic mountains that it can’t be described! I was elated to be there again! It took around 2 hours for us to reach the lake. The cars were parked and we had to walk a little to reach the lake.
Chandrataal Lake is at the altitude of 14,074 ft and the first glimpse of the lake took my breath away! OMG!! It was just stunning! When I got closer, the lake looked even better! The water was bright blue in color and it had the most beautiful backdrop ever! It was windy that day so the water wasn’t still, else we could have got a mirror-like reflection of the clouds and the surrounding mountains. It was stunning nevertheless. There was a strange quiet and calm there! I felt so much relaxed and at peace near the lake. Being there was like a meditation in itself. It was hard but I had bid adieu to the lake and headed back to the campsite.
That night was the one with mixed feelings for everyone. The cooks of the campsite prepared a cake with the “Done Hampta Pass” caption and we had a small celebration by cutting it! The food provided by Indiahikes cooks at each campsite was superb! I loved it in terms of variety, freshness and taste! We used to get sweets after dinner and I still can’t forget that Gajar Ka Halwa!! It was super yumm!! It was my favorite out of all. The next morning we returned the merchandises that we got at the start of our trek and got our completion certificates and badges and left for Manali. It took around 4-5 hours to reach and we said bye to everyone and left for our hotels and some to their buses or trains.
I know it was a super long blog post but I wouldn’t have done justice if I had cut it short. I had such an amazing experience with Indiahikes and my fellow trekkers that I made some really great friends out of them! I saw some of the most stunning places ever and I always cherish and remember it forever! Well, writing it as a blog is also another way to make sure I remember! Hahaha 😀
I have also made a video blog/vlog of this journey which you can find attached below or you can watch it here on Youtube. I really hope that you like this post and enjoyed reading it! I hope that you like the video too! A lot of hard work has gone making it, so I would love to know your thoughts or feedback. Please feel free to ask me any questions related to this trek or my experience with Indiahikes! Please do not hesitate to subscribe to my blog and my YouTube channel RougePouts and If you like what I do, please give it a thumbs up and share! I will be back with more posts and videos both travel and beauty! Have a wonderful day!! B-Bye!!