Recently, we, the Two and a half Himachali Humans, went on two-day trek to one of the famous peaks in Himachal Pradesh- Churdhar Peak .
The trek to Churdhar Peak is considered of the moderate nature and therefore was ideal for testing our limits and understanding the caliber of Snow- our enthusiastic travel buddy of 6 plus. The route we took made us climb for 5 hours straight, followed by zig zag track for 2 more hours. The next one hour to reach the mountain top was also the most cumbersome as it was almost perpendicular ascent.
The trek undoubtedly was mind-blowing. I was asked by many young readers especially girls (some of whom happen to be my students also) to share the dos and don’ts while going on such a trek. The motive of writing this post is to educate these enthusiastic girls who dream to go on adventures like trekking in mountains.
“You can’t just get up one morning; pack your bags and leave. No! If you want to really get maximum out of a trek, you need to prepare yourself enough and in advance.“
These are the things that you need to keep in mind before planning and while packing for your first trek in mountains:
Train your body and mind
Scaling mountains is in no way similar to the walk in the park. Even if you live in the mountains, trekking requires good physical strength and stamina. For that you need to undergo some training before the actual trek happens. Prepare yourself mentally. Start going on regular walks initially. Switch to jogging and running gradually. This will help. The higher we go, oxygen level goes lower and lower. It becomes difficult to breathe. Trekkers are natural to suffer from mountain sickness if they do not train their body beforehand.
Clothes and Shoes
You are going in the wild! Just keep that in mind and choose your dress accordingly. I would suggest pick comfortable clothes which do not attract unwanted attention! At least this is what I did. I opted for T-shirt and jegging. Plus, you may have to travel in sun. It would be better to wear clothes which cover your body aptly. I made a mistake here as I wore a T with half sleeves.The tan on those exposed parts of my body has kind of become permanent!
The weather in mountains is quite unpredictable. Packing some woolen never hurt, not even in Summers! An umbrella, cap and goggles would be your life saviors, for sure. If you plan to stay overnight, better take your sleeping bag along (Churdhar has a Dharamshala and arrangement of nice and clean blankets).
There is going to be a lot of walking. Comfortable trekking shoes are must. I was wearing Adidas. They were good to go for the ascending part but really gave me tough time coming down. Since it was a steep descent; entire weight of my body fell on my toes. Result: I got blisters in-between the toes and blue nails. Strangely, I always carry along a pair of slippers as well. These were somewhat helpful but I won’t lie; I walked bare feet too for some distance.
Eat like a Bird and Drink like a Fish to keep yourself going
Trek in wild doesn’t offer you many options to eat and drink. Sometimes there is none! To be on the safer side, you need to carry your own stuff.
We carried homemade food which lasted long and dry fruits to nibble on whenever it felt right. The idea of making noodles on a stone hearth in the mid of forest was in our mind from the very beginning. Hence, we carried essential supplies along. Trekking requires continuous move and you would feel thirsty pretty often. Though mountains do have natural water springs, we were far from any such opportunity. Thankfully, we carried enough water along and kept reminding each other to save it till there is an opton to refill.
Other Trekking Essentials
Trekking is an adventure full of surprises which are mostly pleasant! But at places you need to attempt a few stunts not because you want to, rather… you have to…as, there’s no other option!
Avoiding injuries is impossible sometimes. It is advisable to carry a handy first-aid box. Put necessary medical supplies in it (especially band-aid and pain killers. Don’t forget to pack a torch. People often ignore this because we all tend to rely too much on our phones. Trekking is an awesome experience but it is also full of uncertainties. Keeping a torch will come handy in case you run out of charge in your phone which you definitely would (mark my word). Carry a lighter and some newspapers in case you need to make a fire.
Last but the most important advice! It’s good to try adventure and mountains do welcome people with open arms. But there is a point where you have to stop testing their cordiality. There is a fine line between being adventurous and being foolish.
- Don’t try something just to look hip among peers. Some activities can prove dangerous (even fatal).Do sensible explorations or there are chances of being stranded in dense forests. The forest in Churdhar for example, is a wild life sanctuary meaning nights can be risky in the woods.
- Do sensible explorations or there are chances of being stranded in dense forests. The forest in Churdhar for example, is a wild life sanctuary meaning nights can be risky in the woods.
- Try to camp at safer locations!
- I think mountains are safer than cities but just in case, be equipped to handle emergencies. Do not forget to pack a red pepper spray. I also came across an electrical self-defense device i.e. stun gun which looks pretty useful during such outings.
Best idea is to move in group or atleast near one, if you travel solo.
Trekking is an excellent way to experience the basic living by going and staying near Mother Nature. It is life altering. Show a little mindfulness dear aspiring trekkers and see yourself transforming after every session of an amazing Nature Therapy.
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