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Bernie Schmieding - Home Travel Kitesurfing Gallery Personal
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After my arrival in Manali I chilled out for one day and found a very quiet place to stay in Old Manali. The Guesthouse' name is Parkash Cottage and it is set in between wheat-fields and apple-orchards back from the main road. Manali is quite different from McLeod Ganj as there are no monks and despite all the Guesthouses especially Old Manali seems not that busy compared to Bhagsu. The bus from McLeod left at 8.30 p.m. and arrived in Manali (235km) at 3.45 a.m. The owner of Prince-Guesthouse showed up and offered rooms and transport to Old-Manali which was very nice as everything else was closed.

Arrival by local bus in SOlang

For the hike to Dhundi I booked a guide as I had no idea where to go in Solang Valley and I can say now, that he was a pretty good choice. His name was Surish and I booked him through one of the several travel-agents (this one was Himalayan Adventures in Manali (the Mall). We met early to catch the 8 o'clock bus from Manali to Solang Nullah. The bus was crowded and people were using the roof of the bus as well. It stopped not far from the Skiing Training Center of Mountaineering and Allied Sports Institute. Here are Himachal Pradesh's better ski slopes. But don't expect anything like in Europe. There is a 1.5km run for experienced and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. A lift does not exist and so you need two healthy feet to get up the hill. Beginners can use a 300m rope tow. The best months are February and March. In Summer (May to June and September to October) one can do Paragliding here.

Trek to Dundhi (snow in back)

We were walking the first 7km along a former road to were the actual trail to Dhundi and Beas Kund (3690m) starts. This took us around 1.5 hours and the only people living tents were farmers with their massive black cows. At this place the Beas River and another river were merging. We drank a chai and Surish chatted with the Indian woman living in the tent. These people here live a very very simple life with no amenities at all.

Nomad

Now we headed of and the fun started. Plenty of yellow flowers to the right and the powerful Beas River to the left. Crossing the stream a couple of times was very tricky. Big jumps from rock to rock over icy cold mountain-water. Surish had a good pace and we were walking quite fast with lots of stops for taking pictures though. The day was sunny and the sky as blue as it can get with occasional white clouds. Three dogs were accompanying us and so we were not alone. Hardly anyone was seen on the trek and we just met an Israeli couple that took the wrong way up and had to cross the river above frozen snow which was very dangerous. When the snow is melting above the river, locals and the military are building wooden bridges.

View from 3100m into Solang Valley

Purple Rhododendron were still in bloom and many white blooming strawberry plants grew along the trek. We reached the highest point of our journey between Dhundi and Beas Kund at around 3100m (above the camp) and had a fantastic view. 5930m high Hanuman Tibba stands out majestically in the mountainscape all around. Until here we were trekking another 4.5 km. To get up to Beas Kund it would have taken another 3 hours, but then you have to start at 6 a.m. in Manali and catch a taxi and a jeep to Dhundi base and start from there. Resting alongside a snowfield the dogs took the opportunity for some snow-sliding. No joke, the Labrador was sliding down the snow for around hundred metres stretching out all four legs and enjoying it.

Himalayan Peaks

Back in Solang my legs were tired. Surish and I enjoyed a chai and waited for the local bus to bring us back to Manali. This was the longest walk in my life so far and it did not feel like 23 kilometres with a 10kg backpack. I enjoyed it very much and can absolutely recommend Solang Valley and its great mountain ranges. You can see several peaks around six-thousand metres and it is an awesome experience. When we got back on the public bus to Manali we had to leave the bus before the traffic-bridge as there was a traffic-jam. The bridge has not been built wide enough to make it easily passable for larger vehicles, but that's India.

For the records: The guide cost 500 rps, the bus 20rps return and one chai 5-10 rps depending on size.

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Beas River

Dog support

Mountain-cows

The majestic Hanuman Tibba

Endless snow