Hello reader! I guess you are a nature lover and are interested in exploring its beauty. Or maybe you are an adventure enthusiast like me and just want a thrilling experience. No? Then you are just seeking a getaway from the busy boring city life. Well if it is something close to the above said let me tell you trekking is the way to it! I started trekking during my college days and was immediately hooked on to it. I realised that I was passionate about it and started maximizing my experience and knowledge in it. Now I would like to share the same with you so that you have an amazing time in the wilderness.
So here are 5 Tips to Help you Start Trekking.
1) THE 3Qs –Before anything else ask yourself these 3 questions. WHY? WHERE? HOW?
Why do you want to trek? This is the first question you need to ask yourself because everything else will be based on it. It could be just for a getaway or for a thrilling adventure. Your purpose should be clear in your mind. This will further help you answer the next question which is,
Where do you want to go? You can trek in the Himalayas or explore the Western Ghats. The answer depends on your objective. For those interested in high altitude and witnessing the mesmerising beauty of the snow-capped mountains, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are the two major states that host various treks routes. For those wanting to explore the beauty of the Sahyadri Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala etc. are the places you can go to. This brings us to the third question which is,
How do you want to do it? This is the important part. So here is how you go about it. There are generally three ways of how you can do it. a) Book through a tour operator. This is the easiest and most convenient way of trekking. All the technicalities like camping, cooking etc. are looked after by the company and one can enjoy the trek without such worries. It is also a very good way of meeting different people and making new friends. b) Hire a guide. After reaching the base city try finding a guide. There are local as well as government assigned trek guides that will help you with your endeavour against some charge. If you don’t have the idea of appropriate gear or rations these guides will also help you get it from the local markets. c) Go with someone experienced. When I say experienced, I mean a lot of experience or someone with some certification. Just a couple of treks won’t nail it. If you are looking for something more challenging and adventurous this is the best way of doing it. Not only will it be an awesome learning experience but also a bond strengthening journey which you will remember forever.
2) SELECTING A TREK – If you are completely new to trekking I suggest you start small! Select a trek and check for its distance and change in elevation. Avoid choosing a very high or a long trek as your first trek. Selection of a trek also depends on your fitness level. Maintain a high fitness level by exercising regularly. Your workout should be a wholesome workout including cardiovascular training, building muscle endurance, flexibility and strength training. A fit trekker will enjoy the trek to the fullest in comparison to an unfit trekker who will slog through the trail and just fall asleep upon reaching the camp. In my opinion, start with something between 9000ft to 12000ft.
3) THINGS TO CARRY – The gear that you carry depends upon “how” you are trekking. A tour operator will generally provide most of the stuff like a tent, food, sleeping bags etc. whereas if you are going by yourself you will have to carry all of this on your own. Pack as light as possible. You can literally trek with just two t-shirts, one to wear and one for an emergency, just saying! Following is the full list of items you will need for a trek.
– Rucksack(50-70 litres, with rain cover)
– sleeping mat
– sleeping bag
– map & compass
– head torch/flash light
– first aid
– quick dry t-shirts
– quick dry trek pants
– socks(cotton & woollen)
– fleece jacket
– down/feather jacket
– wind/waterproof jacket
– wind/waterproof pants
– gas canister
– wind screen
– rations (plan for each meal)
– utensil & cutlery
– fire starter (some lighters don’t work in high altitude so carry waterproof matches and candles)
– sun cap
– woollen cap
– sun glasses
– water bottle(1L min.)
– gloves(waterproof better)
– trek pole
I know the list looks daunting but you can tailor it according to your needs.
4) SURVIVAL KNOWLEDGE – As fancy as it sounds it will probably help you not turn
your trek into a nightmare. This includes navigation, wilderness knowledge, setting up your camp, cooking, medication, predicting weather etc. “Just pack and leave” only sounds cool but may turn out to be a complete disaster (speaking from experience). So while you have the privilege of internet watch some videos on YouTube or read some blogs about the same and try to study it. You can also download some of the important videos and save it on your phone. Go to the nearest park and try some of it like tent pitching and cooking on a stove. The difficulties double up in the mountains and you don’t want to be trying things for the first time there.
5) WASTE MANAGEMENT – Waste management in the mountains is a practice of utmost importance. As trekkers, it becomes our moral responsibility to protect the flora and fauna and ensure that the beautiful mountains remain that way. Leave only your footprints and take back only good memories. Following are the ways to practice waste management-
- Follow the 3Rs Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. If done seriously this can have a large scale positive impact.
- Carry a rubbish bag. Put all kind of wastes like plastic wrappers, papers etc. in it.
- Bring down all the waste that you produce up in the mountains.
- Avoid packaged food, this will generate less plastic waste.
- Only take reusable water bottles.
- Don’t burn waste up in the mountains.
- Dig a compost pit for degradable waste.
So those are some of the few tips that should help you start trekking. I also have a little bonus tip for you guys! Which is,
*SELECTION OF SHOES –This is something most people take lightly but trust me it is imperative to invest in a good pair of trekking shoes. High ankle trekking shoes which are tough, light weight and of just the right size will suffice the requirement. If it is waterproof that’s even better. Also, start wearing them regularly before the trek, this shall help you get comfortable in it and avoid blisters.
So that’s all from my side and I hope it was worth your time. If you found this blog useful do give it a like and share it with your friends. Drop a comment if you have any doubt. I wish you all the best for your future treks.
Happy trekking !!