On the first day we had to cross a river in order to reach our first campsite at Jwara. On the last day we had to cross the Chenab to start our trek down to Chatru – our last campsite. Just to give an idea of the coldness, this stream is fed by the melting glaciers high up in the Himalayas and flows through this valley. Our feet went completely numb for good 15 minutes. In fact, it took a lot of hitting on dry stone to warm them up and before we felt our feet again!
The walk today was an easy descent. I wanted to slow down but somehow I was pumped and surprisingly was with the group 😀 Finally, it seemed as if I had adapted to the mountains and was able to keep pace on the terrain like I would on a plain. And the 4-hour trek seemed to be completed a little too soon. We had reached our last campsite Chatru and no sooner had we unloaded, we huddled up in the cabs that would take us to the last leg of the adventure – Chandra Tal, the Moon lake, often referred to as Pangong Tso of Spiti Valley and it has been rightly said so. This was clear when we saw the lake for first time as we walked the 2 km stretch towards the lake.
It was serene! It was so quiet near the lake that you could actually hear breeze whispering in your ears. It was sunny yet the breeze was cold. Here, the Sun was not just playing with Mountains but with water too. Under the blazing Sun, the lake kept changing its color in different shades of blue and green. Seeing the lake amidst the desert and the mountains made me realise just how balancing Mother Nature is. She knows what her children would need. But the greed of human nature is such that it just wants to have more than its need. This nature makes us save things for the rainy days forgetting that Nature would help what is needed even in those rainy days.
Coming back to the Chandra Tal. This was our last stop before we leave for Manali the next day and back to the comfort of bed and hot water bath and easy food. Chandra Tal is one of those places where you have to go once to feel yourself. The moment of silence is sometimes is all you need to be at peace not just with yourself but with your surrounding too. I almost wished it was permissible to camp by the lake. On second thoughts, I felt it shouldn’t be, else it would lose its rustic charm and silence, becoming a regular tourist-y place.
It was not easy to leave but we had to leave to reach our campsite before night fall. The ride from Chatru to Chandra Tal was one helluva ride. And oh! don’t forget to make a stop at ‘Chacha Chachi Dhaba’. Although I had Maggi there, Rajma Chawal is highly recommended.
That evening it felt strange. We were still camping but there were cars parked outside. The setup personifying the confusion that was going on my mind, and I think in many of my fellow trekkers too. We were back in the civilization, but our hearts were still with the mountains. However, the confusion was set aside when we celebrated the birthdays with a cake made by the cooks who had accompanied us and made sure we had good food throughout the trek to keep our energy up. The cake was delicious and it was ingenious of them to bake it at the altitude of around 10,000 ft
Chatru, again is a good campsite for spotting Milky Way, but unfortunately even the day of Chatru was cloudy giving us no chance for star-gazing. However, we did have an incident the last night, which happened in my tent and I was guilty of scaring my tent-mates which was the the topic of discussion and narration the next morning. Supposedly, I had a nightmare on the last day and had woken up screaming and went back to sleep immediately as if nothing happened of which I had no memory in the morning.
The morning came and it was time to say Goodbye to the Himalayas and a big thank you too, for making the journey possible. The parting photograph
The drive back was through the Rohtang Pass. The roads are maintained by BRO (Border Roads Organization) and it was a comfortable journey back. It did feel strange, hearing the honking and rumble of trucks while for the past 4 days, all we heard was the gurgling of stream, rains pelting against the tent and the sound of our own breathe showing the effort that our lungs were taking to suck in as much Oxygen as it can! It was time to go back to reality and bid adieu to the mountains as we entered the concrete jungle again.
I still had a day left before I left for Pune via Delhi. A day in Manali was the needed day that actually brought in a satisfactory conclusion to this trip of mine. The trip which I would never forget!
Check out the other posts of this Hampta Pass trek below: