Adventure Countries Himachal Pradesh India North Travel Trekking

Hampta Pass Trek-Day 2, Chikka to Balu ka Gera

After sleeping like a dog last night (Hampta Pass Trek-Day 1, Jobra to Chikka), our guide Kama’s morning-whistle woke me up to a beautiful morning. Ruchi however could not have a good enough sleep in the sleeping bag and woke-up with a mild back-pain. Thankfully it was short-lived and all was well after a quick round of bed-tea (read in-tent-tea 😉 ) . I hardly drink tea but this was special. Why?

Okay, imagine this: you are inside your warm sleeping-bags in your tent sitting with a steaming cup of tea, listening to the sound of the roaring river flowing down the valley, to the numerous other streams all around your camp while looking at this majestic view.

View from our tent Balu ka Gera-Hampta Pass Trekking
View from our tent, Chikka – Hampta Pass Trekking

This is exactly what we woke-up to!

From today on-wards, every day was supposed to start with a small morning-brief followed by some basic exercise. Both in my opinion were necessary and was taken care of very nicely by Kama. After-all, you don’t want to leave behind someone behind while you sprint yourself to the next camp.

Camp-site from a distance, Balu ka Gera Hampta Pass Trekking
Camp-site from a distance, Chikka – Hampta Pass Trekking

Between the tea time and the morning exercise cum briefing session, while others were busy lazing around, the curious photographer in me managed to walk up to a near-by stream which we had crossed last evening on our way to the camp to get few shots which I have been wanting to since last evening. Only reason I could not do it yesterday was because there was not enough light but I did not want to miss it in the morning. After almost what felt like just five minutes, I was on my way back with couple decent shots. The only tough (and painful) part here was the fact that to place the tripod the way I wanted to, I had to get down in the freezing waters of the fast-flowing stream but at the end of it, it was all worth it 🙂 .

Stream and the bridge, Balu ka Gera - Hampta Pass Trekking
Stream and the bridge, Chikka – Hampta Pass Trekking

Immediately after a hearty break-fast of porridge, oamlet, bread, butter & jam and before everyone was done with their packing, I took another photography break and hiked up to a nearby rock. Even though the climbing needed some work, this too was well worth the views it had to offer.

The camp below, Balu ka Gera - Hampta Pass Trekking
The camp below, Balu ka Gera – Hampta Pass Trekking

Sitting on the rock and somehow managing to keep myself balanced on its slippery surface, soaking in the beauty around me I was also watching the activities of others at the camp below when suddenly, I saw this (the image below) happen. It was all bright and clear and then within seconds a thick layer of fog engulfed the entire place bringing down the visibility to near zero.

Foggy Balu a Gera - Hampta Pass Trekking
Foggy Balu a Gera – Hampta Pass Trekking

People had already started by the time I got back to the camp and hence, we too started towards the first ascend that awaited us less than 100 meters from the camp. Soon we were walking through foggy mountain slopes, surrounded by layers of colorful wild flowers below and majestic mountains above, with the occasional waterfalls and streams.

Wild colorful flowers - Chikka, Hampta Pass Trekking
Wild colorful flowers – Chikka, Hampta Pass Trekking

To make things more interesting, it started raining while we were negotiating some of the slippery slopes 😉 .

Walking in the fog, Chikka - Hampta Pass Trek
Walking in the fog, Chikka – Hampta Pass Trek

Okay, seems I forgot to tell you something interesting. During the morning brief, we were told that today was going to be one of the most exciting days of the trek. On our way to Balu ka Gera, we would be crossing a fast-flowing river on foot. I had seen photos of this ‘nullah’ which we were supposed to cross today, on foot and had actually been pretty excited about it. After-all where do you get to cross a river (however small be it) nowadays on foot. All that excitement however vanished the moment I saw the Jwara nullah!! It was not any stream that I had expected it to be or had seen in the countless photos on the internet. It was a roaring mountain river!!

Jwara Nullah Hampta Pass Trek water-crossing
Jwara Nullah – Hampta Pass Trekking

The water was freezing cold, above knee-height (for a 5.4′ person like me) and not to mention, fast-flowing! Observing people’s expressions change as soon as their feet was coming in contact with the river, I for a moment had half a thought of crossing it on the back of one of the ponies, just like one of our kitchen staff did (and almost fell in the roaring nullah with all my photography gear which I had handed him moments before). Thankfully, I did not try that ultimately.

Crossing the Jwara nullah
Crossing the Jwara water-crossing, Hampta Pass Trekking

By the time I was on the other side, my legs were all but paralyzed. The only good about the crossing was the fact that rocks were not slippery and I did not end up falling and being washed away down the valley. Looking back, it was a fantastic experience which I would love to do again.

Walk beyond Jwara, Jwara - Hampta Pass Trekking
Walk beyond Jwara, Jwara – Hampta Pass Trekking

The beautiful vistas continued after the water-crossing until we finally reached our camping-spot for the day at Balu ka Gera. It was much better a spot than what we had yesterday. No muck, no wet grass. Just dry sand (remember, its baalu ka gera 😀 ).

Magical Mountains, Jwara - Hampta Pass Trekking
Magical Mountains, Jwara – Hampta Pass Trekking

Even better was the fact that we had reached well ahead of sun-down which gave us a chance to stroll up-to the glacier nearby.

Fresh out of a glacier, Balu ka Gera - Hampta Pass Trekking
Fresh out of a glacier, Balu ka Gera – Hampta Pass Trekking

Today, (actually tonight) turned out to be the best for the photographer inside me. I got a lot of ‘night/long-exposure shots’ which I had always wanted to take (more on this coming soon). This however meant that, I was out in the cold-dark night long after everybody else had taken refuge in their warm tents.

glacier at Balu ka Gera Hampta Pass Trekking
The glacier up close – Balu ka Gera – Hampta Pass Trekking

With huge mountains on three sides, a large enough glacier on the fourth and a billion twinkling starts above, far far away yet so near, we finally called it day.

What would you like to do if you are under a clear sky glittering with billions of stars above you? Sleep under the stars may be? Or something else?

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13 thoughts on “Hampta Pass Trek-Day 2, Chikka to Balu ka Gera”

  1. Wow what a camping site!
    Rajiv, lets hire personal porters and stay at this spot for a week perhaps! One day can not justify the beauty of this place.

    1. It was a brilliant place to stay Ankur bhai! I also had similar thoughts about this site and Day 2’s though not for a week but for a few days may be. There are enough places we can hike up to, it’s a photographer’s paradise and the night sky, its indescribable!!

  2. Well… its nice drinking tea listening to the stream and well a bit of excitement, peace and adventures you had kindled imagination… I was thinking of the adventures I read of creatures in Lord of the rings and Hobbit… well but ofcourse this is real… how did you guys step on the freezing river and trek again, the cloth won’t dry na?… lovely scenes or perhapes the shots you took, what excitement running like a bunny rabbit to take those photos while others rested or were busy getting ready for the next trek ahead. Nice (:… I hope all these beautiful scenes last in near future if others like me decide to trek here… I am not hopeful though… the virgin beauty you say already getting lost I guess…anyway nice nice…your camera did not fall right?… I guess it was in bag so even if it did fell nothing would have happened, take waterproof bag where necessary. I would have liked that morning tea around the nature too…

    1. It was cold, extremely cold. But if you remember, in one of my previous posts regarding How I prepared for the trek, I had mentioned that we had taken Quick-dry pants with us. Plus, before crossing the water we took our shoes and socks off and threw them on the other side of the river before rolling our pants/trousers thigh-high t keep them dry 🙂

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