Or this is just me trying to make sure common sense is common – or insert some other kind of witty line here.
Really, just jotting down my two bit suggestions to anyone who has ever been overwhelmed by a trek or a climb. I am no expert trekker, I haven’t been on any guided, formal treks; just here and there with friends; I am, honestly, not even an expert traveler. But I have started and in the small amount of time (i.e. two years) I have improved too. And I am seizing this opportunity to spread helpful tips about trekking, going for climbs or walks in the woods.
Initially, I would hesitate to go on treks – I can blame my laziness, that would be easy. But it wasn’t just that. I never felt prepared for any kind of trek. I remember my first ever “trek” – I am not even sure if you can call it that, it was a small hill in Coorg and this was back in 2016; I stood at the foot of the hill, my heart beating in my throat and my lunch threatening to come out, but I never figured I would enjoy it so much. Once I reached the top, the views were magnificent, watching the sun set into the clouds was rewarding, the pain in my leg muscles was worth it. I was beaming with pride, the moment we reached the top of the hull, I instantly forgot all about the breathlessness and the general soul crushing pain I felt on the inside while climbing to the top.
Over time, I realized the only way to get over the crushing, overwhelming feeling of a trek looming over my head was to just go on treks without hesitation. Treks are nothing to be afraid of, they are like slightly risky walks in the wild; you just need to keep a few, basic things in mind and you are good to trek.
The most crucial and the most basic pointer when it comes to trekking is that trekking has nothing to do with speed, it is not a competition to completion. Take your time on your trek, enjoy the walk, look around you, life is happening all around you if can just stop and stare for a moment.
Instead of spending your energy on speed walking, spend some time in making sure you have a sure footing, make sure that the ground is firm and can hold your weight. If you are trekking uphill, you might come across slippery rocks and roots, so keep your eyes open and your mind alert.
While in the outdoors, comfort trumps everything. Comfortable shoes, clothes, undergarments, hats – if it’s sunny, gloves – if it’s snowy. Aim for comfort, your comfort should be your top priority It would be really sad if you found yourself feeling uncomfortable mid-trek; there is nothing more obvious and painful than discomfort, so try to avoid it at all costs.
Carry sufficient water with you and keep sipping water throughout your trek; it’s a much better and effective technique to stop your throat from getting parched. Small, frequent sips will keep you hydrated and fueled, big gulps of water make end up making you nauseous. Make sure to eat well before you leave for your trek. Don’t overdo it, obviously. And nothing too fatty. A balanced meal will make you feel full but also at the same time keep you light on your feet. And make sure to carry snacks with you; chocolates or candies, dry fruits and nuts, protein bars, glucose – anything that can give you instant energy is a good snack to keep in your bag.
Pack light. Try to carry only your basic essentials and get rid of things you know you will not need. Basics to pack: first aid kit, a portable light, a portable charger for your electronic gadgets (also, remember to charge all your devices beforehand so you are not in for any nasty surprises later on), extra pair of socks or undergarments, your camera (if you choose to carry it).
These are basic pointers for people who have just started to trek, they have maybe been on five or six treks and are just getting to used to the idea of being lost in the middle of nature. There are many organizations out there that specifically plan week long treks and they have all the expertise and guidance to help you with; but I found that quite overwhelming so I decided to start small and take baby steps. And I am here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with that; enjoy the process, trust the process, it’s all going to be worth it. The bigger picture is always pretty, as are the treks.
Enjoy your trek, there is no pressure out in the middle of nature. It’s just you and the trees and you have all the time in the world to walk around and you might slip a few times too, but that’s alright! Oh, and remember to soak your feet in some warm water once you get back to your quarters, followed by a nice hot shower and a good, filling meal. It’s been a good day.
What are some of the things you do to prepare yourself for a trek? Share with us?