Discover a country walk, it’s magic. Feel dwarfed in the vastness of the mountains, it is priceless. The hike takes you back to the basics, it’s good for the body and mind.
Good preparation is required for a hike, to limit the risks, whether for a day or for several weeks in the Himalayas. Here is a list of key questions that you should answer before the departure:
1. What are my motives?
We often forget to ask this simple question. What drives you to want to do this trek? It is important to clarify your goals and expectations. Are you seeking to simply relax in nature or perform a feat?
2. What are my skills?
It is important to be realistic and not too ambitious. Objectively establish a portrait of your situation. What is my physical condition? What are my skills and knowledge in trekking? One must be aware of their limitations; nobody is invincible. Good mental predisposition coupled with experience in the field can make all the difference to avoid dangerous situations.
3. What will the weather be?
What will the weather be in the country where you go on trek? You have to do research to get an idea of what Mother Nature will prepare for you. Will this be the rainy season? Will you be at high altitude? You have to inform yourself of the temperature difference between day and night. It is better to anticipate the weather and to adjust your equipment list as appropriate. Too much material, is as bad as not enough!
4. How long will my adventure be?
On average, an adult walks four kilometres per hour with a backpack of less than 8 kg. In the mountains, the altitude can affect this and significantly reduce the distance one can travel in a day. You must obviously consider the time you have and add a buffer before and after your hike. You do not want to end up running from the plane to begin a trek.
5. What is my budget?
The budget and the level of adventure you seek affect your decision to opt for a guided tour or independently. Guided hikes vary depending on the price you’re willing to pay, this may include porters and cooks. In contrast, trekking independently does not necessarily mean that you have to do it alone. It is also not recommended to go hiking alone. On classic trekking circuits, it is easy to meet other independent travelers and shelters are rallying places.
For the budget, it includes the means of transport to get to the start of the trek, plus accommodation, food and water supply.
Accommodation in a lodge versus camping will play on the price and the quantity of material to bring. If the chosen route is not a loop, and you can not go back on your steps, think of organizing a “pick up” (a means of transport for the return) and set a date and time.
6. What kind of equipment will I bring?
The backpack is central to transport all your equipment, you must choose a format suitable for the duration of your journey and make sure it is well adjusted. Lack of comfort when trekking is already ubiquitous, so make life much easier with convenient and comfortable equipment.
To quickly adapt to the weather, you can use the technique of “onion skins” that is to wear several layers of clothing. Ideally, you try to have one close to the body, a thermal layer and a protective layer.
Good walking boots are a strategic investment. They should be comfortable for you and respond to your needs (support, flexibility, ventilation, waterproofing …). Wear your new boots several times beforehand, it will save you from “breaking them in” on your hike.
If you go independently, choose carefully your sleeping bag, your means of navigation (GPS, compass, maps …) and practical items such as sunscreen, insect repellent, a pocket knife and a headlamp.
7. Am I covered?
In addition to informing your relatives of your detailed itinerary, you should check with your travel insurance company that you are covered for all of your travel. A simple phone call will allow you to leave with peace of mind.
So, are you ready for adventure? Walking allows you to travel differently, either in the jungle or on mountaintops. Nothing is more impressive than the beauty of nature, but to admire it, we must prepare well to get there and back in one piece.
Article by Nomad Junkies team