Trekking or hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors either with friends and family or alone. Unlike many other countries the trails and hikes in India are not well mapped or easily accessible. Neither do we have the resources for emergency rescues or medical aid especially in the Himalayas. Therefore right from research to packing, timing and even knowing about wildlife everything relies on gathering accurate information.
Hiking for some is a way to get away from the hustle bustle of a city and for many others it’s something they truly enjoy. No matter what your reason, the following 5 tips will help if you plan to hike in India.
Time is everything
Never underestimate a route. It may look easy or even short but that doesn’t mean you can take your own sweet time to begin or stop endlessly on the way. There are multiple considerations to take into account for things to go smoothly. If you begin late, the sun gets strong, walking gets harder and your body dehydrates making it a less enjoyable experience. If you keep taking breaks, you tire yourself and need more breaks which might be annoying for the others if you are in a group. If you intend to come back before the sunsets you have to keep time or you will lose your way in the dark and it’s likely you could injure yourself. Lastly if you don’t keep time and the weather gets the better of you, you are sure to get stranded in the rain or storm and staying outside in those conditions is never fun.
2. Blaring music defies why you came out in the first place
The idea is to absorb your surroundings and be one with nature or just find peace and quiet. Hikes bring you closer to nature. If you blare music on your portable speakers no matter how nice the song is you are scaring away birds and animals and destroying the ambience of the forest/trail. Bird watching or animals may not be your thing and that is okay. If you must listen to music remember there are earphones which work just fine. If you are camping outside, it’s worse because you are attracting unnecessary attention and causing a huge disruption to the entire ecosystem.
3. Not to be scared of encounters with wild animals
Many people panic on seeing snakes, scorpions, monkeys or any animal in the wild. Remember that so many of these national parks, trails, forests and hills are home to the wild. It is rightly said that animals can sense danger and most often their attacks are a response to fear they feel on encountering the unknown – human. If a snake is crossing you instead of screaming and running try standing still without a single sound. It will quietly go its way. Monkeys are attracted to food, and if you are going to eat that chocolate bar in front of a monkey chances are it will snatch it straight out of your hand.
4. Pack right pack light
This is especially true for long hikes, however it applies to even day hikes. I can’t even count the number of times people have hiked without water bottles, waterproof jackets, sun caps and the absolute essentials. It might seem like too much effort to carry all of the above but it’s not. Unpredictable weather is a real thing and if you get soaked in the rain you will get sick. Hiking without water is not very smart given that you can pass out with fatigue and dehydration. That extra layer is always handy if the wind gets too strong especially in high altitude treks or during winters. Find out the trail type, temperatures and time you will need to finish the hike and pack accordingly.
5. Hiking alone vs hiking in a group
Many times hiking alone seems very exciting but reaching the trail is a nightmare. Or sometimes finding the right set of people becomes a hassle. Arranging logistics for a group is way more cost effective than a single person. Going in a group or going alone always depends on the amount of experience you have and what you want to achieve from the hike. If your goal is to have a peaceful time alone then proper research is what you need. If you’re interested in a new experience and keen on meeting people, a group or organisation might be ideal for you. If you have no experience with hiking then going by yourself is sheer stupidity and it is recommended you stick to a group.