I wanted to see if my idea of going for a solo, self-reliant weekend camping trip to Himachal Pradesh is feasible or not, generally If I am going on a camping/ trekking trip, I keep a minimum of 4 days at my disposal but this time I wanted to do a successful camping trip in under 3 days, from Delhi to Delhi.
My plan –
Leave for Manali on Thursday night, reach there next morning, start the trek on the same day and return after 2 nights of camping. I decided not to book any hotel/ hostel on this trip to make it a more budget-friendly trip, I was carrying my tent anyways.
My initial plan was to spend two nights in the mountains but after spending the first night I decided to make it a one-night stay only. I went to the first campsite, Chikka, on the Hampta pass trek for this short camping trip.
According to my initial plan, I wanted to reach Chikka on the first day itself, camp there for the night and then head towards Balu ka ghera the next day which was the second campsite on the Hampta pass trek, camp there for the second night and then return on the third day.
It was the monsoon season, late August, and I love trekking in the rain btw so I was excited about this trip.
Day 1 – Friday morning
I took a night bus to Manali from Delhi and reached there at around 10:00 AM. like in every other hilly area, the day was just starting in Manali.
I carried all the gears for the trip, except a cooking stove, a cooking pan, a gas canister, and a sleeping bag which I was about to get for rent from Manali. Also, I needed a ride to drop me at the starting point of the trek, I got all the stuff from Hippie in hills along with a Royal Enfield ride up to the starting point of the trek.
I was in an unnecessary rush so I didn’t even eat anything for breakfast which was one idiotic thing to do. After packing all the cooking stuff, sleeping bag and some pack of oats, we were off to the starting point of the trek.
Now there’s a downside when you go to these type of trip alone, you need to carry all the necessary stuff with you which will make your bag too heavy and god my backpack was heavy! o_O
It got heavy to the point that It was literally pulling me backward while walking.
I was already exhausted from my night travel of 14 hours and trust me, the route for the starting point of the trek was a real pain in the butt! You have to cross 40 hairpin bends and the road was unmetalled too, with lots of holes, the starting point of the trek was really too far away.
Finally, after a long, tiring and ass-numbing bike ride, Ayush dropped me to the starting point of the trek and took a U-turn back to Manali and I started my two-hour long trek from there… on an empty stomach 😐
After walking for 5 minutes, I met with a young local lad who told me that Chikka campsite was around half an hour away from there.
The trail was beauteous from the start, with lots of greenery and majestic mountains around, the monsoon season made it more stunning, the mountains and pine trees were complimenting each other with the greenery at its prime time.
My bag started giving me some tough time, man it was heavy! it was literally pulling me backward, I didn’t even prepare myself physically for this trek, I did nothing for this trek, not even a single push up! I was totally dependent on my Pahadi genes 😉
After walking for another few minutes amidst a fantasy lush-green forest with bewitching flora, pine trees, and beautiful meadows, I met another guy who told me that the campsite was at around 2 hours of distance away from there.
I guess they all were telling the time according to their stamina, but it truly took me around 2 hours to reach the campsite because I was totally gassed out.
Finally, I found a food shack, a little Dhaba where I ordered a bread-omelet and tea, the healthiest thing I ate since morning. The campsite was still 1 hour away from there (taking into account, my heavy backpack).
I was also shooting pictures and videos while on the trail which slowed me down.
After 2 hours, I finally reached the campsite and found myself a cool spot to pitch my tent. As soon as I was done with the tent it started to rain. I just had some chocolate and mentos and laid down inside my tent for a good 1 hour.
The whole area started getting covered in fog and it was getting dark, I started preparing my dinner. I had some dehydrated meals with me and I made some Rajma Chawal for that night and just slept after that.
➡ For more details on the food items I brought on this trip, have a look at this post.
Now in Delhi, I sleep at around 3:00 AM in the morning because of my office hours, so my biological clock ticks that way and I was unable to sleep for around 4 hours after laying down in my sleeping bag at just 8:00 PM.
I was so much regretting to not bring a book with me because I was kinda bored for all those sleepless hours, there was nothing to do. That was the time I decided not to camp further which was my initial plan because spending another night seemed pointless. I was not going to cross the pass anyway and I also got enough good pictures already… what else do you want from a weekend trip?
I changed it to a one-night camping trip and planned to return Delhi the other day, which would also give me a full day to rest in Delhi before joining my office.
Anyway, I had some good 5-6 hour sleep and woke up at night 2-3 times due to a bad dream and the sound of raindrops hitting my tent’s tarp. It was raining the whole night.
Day 2 – Saturday
I woke up at around 6:00 AM and went outside, the water stream around the campsite was more fierce and muddy than the previous day due to overnight rains.
I made some Dal chawal in breakfast (I had oats but that dehydrated Dal chawal was easier to cook)
So as my plan changed, I decided to go a little further up from the campsite for clicking some pictures, leaving my tent behind and carrying only the useful and important stuff with me.
I hiked for half an hour and found a beautiful spot, there was a small waterfall visible at a distance, it was a lanky waterfall but it was surely beautiful. The whole area was lush green, thanks to monsoon.
I decided to sit near the waterfall for some time and return to Manali after that, just some golden minutes near it.
There I was, sitting near that waterfall, watching other trekkers going towards Hampta pass and wishing If I could join them too, but its okay… maybe next time.
I started walking back to Manali, just picked up my tent from the campsite and trekked back to the starting point to get a ride to Manali.
I was lucky that day because as soon as I reached the starting point of the trek I found a jeep waiting for some people, it was a local guy and he was going to Manali, upon asking him he agreed to drop me in Manali for just Rs 300/-
I booked a night bus to Delhi and still had around 4 hours to pass in Manali, to wait for my bus, I just sat in a park and just roamed here and there till the evening.
At 8:00 PM I boarded the bus and headed back to Delhi.
I really enjoyed this trip, all I wanted to know on this trip was that if I could pull off this kind of trip, which turned out… I can!
So, I will be doing a lot more of these short weekend trips in the future.
Here’s a video of the trip. I am getting better on these youtube videos each time 😉