Himalayan trekking is a compulsive activity. However, before starting their first trek, all first-timers struggle to control their nerves and excitement for the Great Big Adventure. It's difficult, if not unthinkable, to recreate the sensation of having your heart racing just before the trip starts.
Trekking is typically done to test one's physical prowess and endurance limits, but the experience is so much more than that. Of course, no words describe the mental, emotional, and physical ability you acquire.
But the development of your perspective will confound you as a novice trekker (and all of the successive treks you'll undoubtedly undertake). So buckle up, young guns, and let's get ready to climb the real mountain!
Trekking in the himalayas : An overview
It's undoubtedly an exhilarating experience to want to discover the aura and the untravelled paths, particularly the first time. However, making plans and getting ready for the future is advised—nay, required. According to a proverb, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Respect the mammoth because the Mighty Himalayas can be harsh if you mistreat them! As is the case with total isolation, you frequently have only yourselves with your group to fall back on, and your biggest defense will be your mental state. Your mind will be the most important player in the hike because it's more of a mental battle than a physiological one.
Trekking Preparation - Pre Trekking
First-time trek planning may seem like a difficult task. However, if you have a step-by-step plan, it will be easy.
The action of the game starts here. Whatever your reason for choosing a trek, it's important to not be overly optimistic about your abilities and to pick a beginner-level trek that fits both your schedule and your level of fitness. A trek might be simple if completed in five days, but it might be extremely difficult if completed in three.
- Do some research before the hike
When preparing for a trek, research is essential. You can better prepare for your trek by reading the right online articles and books about it.
Never take someone's advice without fully understanding their background and level of experience with Himalayan trekking. Selecting a Guide In the mountains, you need knowledgeable guides who can rescue you in an emergency, regardless of how straightforward the trail is or how well-built the path is. Some individuals view themselves experts and steer clear of guides after completing a few treks.
Make sure to include a two-day buffer in your travel plans. Nothing goes according to your plan. Nature's scheme will always come first. Real challenges include dealing with bad weather, contracting AMS, and failing to accomplish your daily goals. As a result, an extra few days should always be included.
- Pick your traveling companions wisely
You'll enjoy your encounter with the hills as a novice trekker, most in a group setting. To have a helping hand will be guaranteed when traveling in groups, and companionship is also beneficial. This is crucial for a first-time traveler and will enhance your experience.
Things to carry for trekking in the himalayas
As you prepare for your trek, one of your top priorities should be packing. You won't be overly exhausted and can fully enjoy the hike thanks to some early planning. The only rule to remember when packing is to avoid stuffing your backpack too full of frivolous things, which will make it heavier. Just bring one extra set of clothes in the event of rain or other unforeseen circumstances. By researching the trek's temperature, pack jackets accordingly.
Most people make the error of trekking in athletic shoes, believing it won't have a significant impact. But this is a serious mistake!
Trekking shoes will give you complete support and comfort in the hilly terrain of trekking and can also adequately shield your feet from the cold and rain. In the hills, it's crucial to wear cozy boots with a hard sole.
Additionally, and this is imperative, avoid purchasing brand-new shoes and wearing them on the trek for the first time. Make sure you are wearing thick socks when you shop for trekking shoes so you can ensure the perfect fit.
Even with socks on, the shoes need to be snug. Additionally, before the trek, try to break in the shoes by having worn them a few times. If not, you could experience a terrible surprise in the form of shoe bites.
The best hiking boots are those that support your ankles. Water shoes or hiking sandals are appropriate for crossing rivers; one may also wear boots without socks, but doing so in cold weather may not be a good idea.
The weather is unpredictable, the days are long, and the nights are chilly. Make sure you're wearing loose-fitting clothing that can be taken off quickly if necessary. Given the flexibility and freedom of movement they provide, trekking trousers are a necessity.
Avoid bringing cotton clothing as well because it takes a while to dry and doesn't keep you warm in the rain or cold. Fleece and wool are excellent choices. Do not wear cotton socks either. When wet or perspiring, thick woolen or synthetic socks will help avoid blisters. Put on a cap or hat to ward off the sun and stay warm during the winter.
A trekking pole serves as your third leg, giving you constant support. It is among the most helpful tools, but beginners tend to overlook it the most.
Because the weather in the mountains is unpredictable, having a basic medical kit is important. Always wish for the best, but be ready for the worst, as the saying goes. It is preferable to have a few pills or creams on hand than to not have any and then find yourself in a desperate situation. Keep emergency access to your necessary medications on hand.
Bring Acute Mountain Sickness prevention medication to aid in acclimatization during the trek. It also goes without saying that you should stay hydrated while hiking in the Himalayas.
During the Trek
Finally, the day has arrived! You're prepared to face the Mighty Himalayas with your friends by your side. Now what? Firstly, go slowly and gradually begin!
Limit your intake and exertion. You still have a long way to go even though it is only the first day. Take in what is going on around you and get prepared for the adventure that lies ahead.
It's always helpful to have a list of things to do and avoid while trekking. First and foremost, assist your fellow hikers at all times. Cohabitation is essential, whether it's giving someone a pep talk to boost their confidence or lending them some extra socks you might have.
Naturally, you would want the same thing done for you as well. Take everyone with you and be a friendly fellow. Additionally, when you're feeling weak, make sure to let others know so they can help if necessary!
Let's not contaminate the lovely lakes and mountains where we go exploring, either! Fill a trash bag you carry with all of your waste.
Bring it back so it can be properly disposed of. Do keep in mind that you are in a wilderness area and that there won't be a weekly clean-up drive. Make sure you leave the mountains exactly how you found them.
- While trekking, pay attention to your body
Knowing when to push when lethargy sets in is one thing; realizing that pushing too hard could result in serious injuries is quite another. Learn to listen to your body and change your pace as necessary. This especially goes for Himalayan treks for beginners. There is no harm in going slowly; just keep your group informed, guide them, and communicate with them.
The most essential rule to follow is acclimatization. During treks, in base camps, guides typically monitor your acclimatization levels to make sure you are ready to ascend to higher elevations. However, taking Diamox before climbing a steep height is still a good idea.
- Be careful not to disturb the local wildlife, which is another thing to be aware of. So be careful not to play your music too loud. It's also a good idea to avoid touching any plants that look suspicious because poisonous plants can be a serious hiking hazard.
- Avoid using products with strong scents because they attract animals with strong senses of smell. Most importantly, remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings.
- An unspoken rule of hiking is to respect your fellow hikers by leaving markers alone. Consider protocol, savor the moment, snap lots of photos, and pause to take it all in!
You have returned safely. After spending time in nature, you return to the real world. All that you see will excite you. Now the real journey starts when all you saw starts to sink in and you start to understand the Himalayas' incredible beauty.
Resting your body will help it recover. Even though you'll be euphoric, it's imperative to unwind and just relax. You wise soul, go to bed!
In the moment, you almost blended in with your surroundings. Enjoy and remember the experience by looking through the zillions of photos your crew took!
- Organize your upcoming trip
Now for the enjoyable part. Every trip that profoundly impacts your life leaves you wanting more. You'll want to go on another wild expedition after the trip is over. That is the speciality of the best himalayan treks. The solitude and peace that they experience in the challenging yet tranquil natural environment are what most adventure travelers enjoy most.
Types of himalayan trekking
Tea house/home stay trek
Tea House or Homestay trekking is an excellent way to experience the area at a decent cost and with little special equipment if you are visiting the area as part of a bigger trip and do not want to carry camping equipment with you for the duration of your trip or are new to trekking in the Himalayas. In particular, Nepal's Everest, Annapurna, and Langtang regions are the most developed and straightforward locations for Tea House Treks. While many treks in Ladakh can be completed as homestay treks, Uttarakhand (formerly Uttaranchal) in India likely has the most comprehensive network of trekking and pilgrim Lodges.
The amount of food that villagers share or sell will differ from region to region and season to season, but it is possible to live under some sort of roof wherever there is an indefinitely inhabited village. This form of trekking is fantastic because it enables one to trek for extended periods of time without carrying bulky food supplies. At higher altitudes, where each extra gram of weight is amplified with elevation, hiking with a light bag is especially enjoyable.
It is best to bring your own equipment from home if you wish to camp and hike as you would at home with full camping gear. If not, the most convenient place to purchase camping supplies is in Kathmandu. Try major Indian cities like Delhi and Kolkata, but you'll almost always find better-priced, higher-quality gear in your own country. In Leh and Manali, you can purchase overpriced, subpar equipment. The advantage of having your own complete camping supply is that you can essentially go wherever you want, or at least where authorities permit you to.
The disadvantage is that carrying all of your own equipment, especially food, is cumbersome when crossing passes higher than 5000 meters. Food is typically the limiting factor; placing all of your food on a trek in the Himalayas lasting longer than a week is challenging, to say the least. It might be essential to hire porters if you're embarking on a longer trek where you must be completely self-sufficient.
Local style trek
It is possible to assemble a cheap trekking kit from common items found inside any Indian or Nepali market that will allow you to camp for a few days if you want a little more versatility than what Tea House/Homestay trekking has to offer but do not have camping gear with you. A sizable plastic tarp, which is commonly used in India to cover slum dwellings or shield street stalls from the elements, will usually suffice as shelter. A 10' x 10' tarp ought to cost no more than 300 INR.
This could be used as a roof for any of the numerous rock-walled herder's shelters that are found all over the area, or as a makeshift shelter with a walking stick serving as a tent poll, a few ropes to tie it down, and stakes made of rocks or nails as stakes. In just about all markets, one can also find inexpensive foam mattress pads. A proper sleeping bag, preferably one with down filling, is necessary if you plan to make due with a rudimentary shelter.
The best place to purchase one in the area, if you didn't even bring one from home, is Kathmandu. In India, try visiting major cities such as Delhi and Calcutta, which have a few customized outdoor sports shops. Less expensive options can also be found in Leh and Manali. You can survive on dried food or hot meals if you're determined to do so. Kerosene stoves are relatively small, light, and awkward, and they cost between 200 and 300 INR in every market. This type of trekking is best for quick excursions (3-5 days) up into remote regions devoid of settlements or lodgings, or for filling in gaps in homestay treks where you might need to rough it for a night or two.
A trek's goal is not to ensure everything goes perfectly. When you go on a trek, you feel uncomfortable and out of your comfort zone. Planning is important, but it should not eliminate chance encounters because nature cannot be predicted with certainty.
Therefore, even though the aforementioned advice may help you reduce common issues, it is always vital to keep things in perspective and move on to the next situation as smoothly as you can. Be calm under pressure and willing to deal with situations you might not otherwise!
- Can I charge my phone or camera batteries while on the trail?
This facility cannot be offered due to the lack of electricity along the route. The staff members carry solar chargers with them so they can cook in the dark and assist you while you're eating. However, it is recommended that you bring a solar charger with you for personal use, depending on your charging needs. These days, it's light and affordable.
Tea houses typically have electricity during tea house treks via direct line or solar chargers. Most of the time, they let you charge your batteries for a fee. However, this is not always a given. For your charging needs, it is advised that you bring two batteries or a solar charger.
- What if I get injured in the middle of the trek?
The group will treat these circumstances as emergencies and take appropriate action given their gravity. While occasionally they might need to give you our full attention, which would affect the entire team. While other times, it might only be a hairline fracture and be handled with less importance. If they have to send you back, they'll do so with a helper looking after you and carrying you to safety. On such occasions, the entire team is required to cooperate completely.
- Can I drink alcohol while on the trek?
Alcohol consumption is not suggested while high-altitude trekking. Alcohol causes our bodies to become dehydrated, and at high altitudes, dehydration is a major contributor to altitude sickness.