Growing up in Madhya Pradesh, the mountains and fresh air have been part of my childhood memories. And that’s probably the reason why the idea of a trek to the iconic Himalayas made it to my bucket list of things to do for 2019.
After doing some research, the Internet convinced me that a trek to Hampta was one of the easiest ones to start with. Or so they said; because reality was going to prove otherwise.
Now, one of the biggest challenges with taking up the trek had nothing to do with the actual trek itself. It was convincing my parents that I wanted to do this alone! I started preparing by getting the necessary gear and by breaking into my trekking boots. A heads-up; if you haven’t worn trekking boots or something similar, getting used to them is something that will take a while. So I highly recommend walking around and getting used to them before your start your trek to make sure that the shoes are the least of your worries later on. I also practiced a daily routine of swimming and yoga to build stamina and endurance for the conditions that I was going to face.
I flew to Delhi from Bengaluru and then boarded a bus to Manali. To be honest, I had a fear lingering at the back of my mind regarding the trek but once I was in Manali, the overall vibe of the place made me feel relaxed and peaceful.
I started my journey by going to the Chika base camp, where I meet my trek lead Naresh and 15 other people who were going to be my friends and family for the next 5 days. From Chika we went to Jobra. We drove till where there was road access and then started our trek by hiking through a forest and lush green meadows. Since this was just the first day, the activities were kept as light as possible. Upon reaching Jobra, we were welcomed by the best ginger lemon tea I’ve ever had! It is true! The mountains have a way of making you appreciate all the small luxuries you have in life.
At this point, I was thinking that I might be the only solo traveler in the group but to my surprise, I got to meet two amazing women (like me!) who were from Kolkata and Mumbai. They would be sharing a tent with me going forward during the duration of the trek.
The next morning, we woke up to a stunning view of the sunrise and after having tea and parathas accompanied by the beautiful sound of a river, we were all set to start day two of the treks. Being the second day, I knew it wasn’t going to be all easy breezy like the first. It was quite challenging, but the sight of the valley, river, and meadows made it all easy and worthwhile. After a while, we reached Balu ka Ghera where a river side camp was organized for us at an elevation of 11,900 ft (Yes! We’ve already reached an elevation that high on the second day. For a first timer, I was already quite pleased with myselfJ). That night was quite a challenge. It was pouring outside, the tents had water getting inside and we were cold and wet the whole night. Thankfully, our trekking gear helped us in not getting completely drenched but the rest we got was a far cry to prepare us for the last and final day of the trek.