Trek to Winch Camp

by - 10/04/2017

Long weekends are meant for an escape from the mundane. But a cardinal question arises where to go? We Delhiites love the Himalayas; a night long ride and we reach the foot of the hills. Its easy and convenient to go to hill stations like Shimla or Nainital but those places are bustling with metro crowds during long weekends and hence lack the ‘break’ that you were actually looking for in the first place.
Winch Camp, Jginder Nagar, Himachal Pradesh

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The Himalayas are full of unexplored spots (of course; they are the longest mountain ranges in the world) waiting to be discovered. The explorer in me always tends to unravel the lesser known, non touristy yet beautiful places. During this Dusshera long weekend, I came to know about a tiny yet beautiful place in Himachal Pradesh called Winch Camp through Trek Tribe and decided to explore this little gem!

Trek Tribe is a trekking community from Himachal Pradesh which organises trekking trips from Delhi to beautiful, unexplored places in Himachal. They are a group of skilled trekkers who are experts in camping and hiking and of course leading a group of tourists. I was spell bound when I saw this video!

We (me, a group of 6 people and Gaurav, Trek Tribe leader) left for Joginder Nagar from Delhi at night and our bus took around 13 hours to reach there. Joginder Nagar is a small place in Mandi district. We explored Bir Billing that day and then rested. We wanted to be energised and fresh for the grueling hike to Winch Camp the next day.

We left for Jimjima village at ten next morning. From there , our hike was supposed to start. Winch Camp is 5.5 kms uphill from Jimjima village at an altitude of 8500 feet from the sea level. The special part about that place is the century old narrow gauge railway line which still operates today. The tracks were laid by the British and it runs from Joginder Nagar to all the way up to Winch Camp. At some places, the track is almost 90 degrees steep! Our group of 6 was joined by a few more hikers from Himachal itself. We all were accompanied by skilled trekkers from Trek Tribe who were there to guide and help us throughout the ride. After briefing (Do’s and Don’ts )from the leaders Gaurav and Abhinaye, our hike started.
The initial 250 mts were rather tough. Although the way was paved and not steep, we all were panting. Maybe because our bodies were not enough warmed up. After walking for 7 minutes, we took our first break at a temple. It felt that it would take forever to reach the top. But as we climbed further and further, it felt easy and smooth; although the trail became tougher and steeper. Maybe because the surroundings were too spectacular. We took small breaks on the way, each break as we reached a plateau like area.

Our second stop was a lush green meadow. It was followed by a steep pine forest. We often crossed the railway track during our climb. Sometimes we would follow the track, while most of the times, we would ascend by its side as the track is too steep. There are exactly two places where the railway line is absolutely 90 degrees steep. God knows how the British must have laid them. The train ride must be like a roller coaster!
Then there was a station called Number 18 where we caught our breath, refilled our water bottles and rested for a while. Our next stop was again a lush green meadow where we had a packed lunch of delicious veg pulao and curd. It was midway, at around 2.5 kms. Tummies full, we all were set for the next leg of our hike.
We all were constantly encouraged by the trek leaders. They were cheering us throughout; and whenever we felt like that we would give up, they would crack jokes, lighten us up and then boost our confidence. They also carried our backpacks; when anyone felt too drained. We felt that we were in absolutely safe, strong hands!
The next 3 kms were rather exhausting. Partly because we were tired and partly because the trail was steeper. However the picturesque surroundings compensated every drop of sweat of ours!
So after a lot of toiling, panting and climbing we made it to the top! It was around quarter to 5. So we took around 6 hours to make it to Winch Camp!
Our tents were pitched when we reached. We were dead exhausted but were elated to have made it to the top. The feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top is unparalleled. To top our excitement, the natural beauty there was too much to absorb. It felt like straight out of a postcard! We were served hot tea and biscuits and a fire was made. I was on top of the world, literally!
There would be a lot of pictures of Winch Camp in my next post!

Some points to be kept in mind for a hassle free hike:

Start doing streching exercises and warm ups 2- 3 days before the hike. So your body won’t be in a shock when you start climbing.
Wear good hiking shoes. You don’t want your feet to slip. Also wear full sleeve tees and full pants. You don’t want to get bruised by the rocks or any shrub.
A suncreen is must. Also wear a cap. The sun would be directly on your face. Wear tight sunglasses too.
It gets very chilly in the evening as well as early morning. So carry warm layers.
The weather in the hills is quite unpredictable. So don’t forget to carry an umbrella and a raincoat. Also keep your camera and clothes in a plastic bag so that they are safe.
There is no electricity in Winch Camp. Of course! Otherwise what would be the use of camping? So carry a torch and power bank and keep your electronic devices fully charged. There is no mobile network up there barring BSNL and Reliance. So you can absolutely relax without bothering about anything. That is what vacations are for; ain’t it?

Hiking Leggings: Adidas
Top: Forever 21
Shoes: Reebok
Sunnies: Forever 21

 Watch: Casio G Shock

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  1. I would have never been able to describe it so beautifully..❤️

  2. 3 kms, omg so tiring! This trip sounded like it was worth it though, glad you had fun :)

    XO, Jessi

  3. Lovely photos and place, beautiful nature.
    Dusana :-)

  4. The trek sounds wonderful and all your toiling seems worthy enough when you reached the top. So beautiful! Thanks for sharing the useful tips... :-)

  5. Loving the nature and you look very zen! Enjoy your weekend babe<3

    XO, Jessi

  6. The place looks serene. Would love to visit one day :)

  7. Very Interesting!You look so crazy.While see these places,I wish to go there.Good work.Keep going