Author

Pushkar Bisht

India have almost thousands of treks. A lot of new treks are being discovered on a regular basis till now. Keeping in mind the difficulty level we have already learned about because not all are expert and have experience and are somewhere stuck between work and passion, so we need a lot of planning for trekking. We have categorized these treks on basis of the season, and picked the best 10 treks of all season. Check out the list and plan your trip accordingly. You can easily choose which trek you are willing to do and when it will be best to do.

BEST TREKS IN INDIA FOR YOU ALL YEAR AROUND:

Summer Treks:

If you are looking for the existence of life after snow-clad winters. How about a pleasant weather, a cool summer breeze, the sunshine and the leaves growing on the trees. If this interests you then these are the top 10 summer treks for you:

1. Hampta Pass, Himachal Pradesh

2. Rupin Pass, Himachal Pradesh

3. Kedartal Trek, Uttarakhand

4. Pin Parvati Trek, Himachal Pradesh

5. Brigu Lake, Himachal Pradesh

6. Buran Ghati Trek, Himachal Pradesh

7. Bali Pass Trek, Uttarakhand

8. Goechala Trek, Sikkim

9. Binsar Trek, Uttarakhand

10. Kareri Lake Trek, Himachal Pradesh

Winter Treks:

Winter is all about mountain peaks snow-capped. The white fields of snow instead of green, trees covered in snow completely, layers of snow crushing while you walk on it. Yes the winters are breathtaking for me personally. If you are someone who loves everything about the winters starting from cold weather to snowfall, playing with snowballs with your friends then here is the list of top 10 winter treks for you.

1. Brahmatal Trek, Himachal Pradesh

2. Chadar Trek, Ladakh

3. Kedarkantha Trek, Uttarakhand

4. Kuari Pass Trek, Uttarakhand

5. Nag Tibba Trek, Uttarakhand

6. Stok Kangri Trek, Ladakh

7. Rupin Pass Trek, Himachal Pradesh

8. Prashar Lake Trek, , Himachal Pradesh

9. Snow Leopard Trek, Ladakh

10. Dayara Bugyal Trek, Uttarakhand

Monsoon Treks:

Monsoon season can be tricky and painful because many times heavy rainfall blocks the passages in the mountains and effects life and transport. But there are many trails which bring you the best during the monsoon. It is not only in the Himalayas but also in Western Ghats. Drizzle of rain drops, the clouds which covers the area like fog in winters, water droplets on grass in the early mornings. The eternal scenery created during this weather is astounding. Here are the top 10 monsoon treks for you:

1. Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand

2. Kashmir Great Lakes Trek, Jammu & Kashmir

3. Beas Kund, Himachal Pradesh

4. Sinhagad Trek, Pune

5. Roopkund Trek, Uttarakhand

6. Harishchandraghat Trek, Maharashtra

7. Zanskar Valley Trek, Ladakh

8. Dzongri Trek, Sikkim

9. Torna Fort Trek, Pune

10. Mullyangiri Trek, Karnataka

Autumn Treks:

Last but not the least, we have autumn season treks which have their own audience. And that being said autumn is a better time to witness the beautiful Himalayan shades. Autumn season provides you with the best clean views of mountains and the gorgeous blue clear sky. You can definitely get some great pictures for your instagram. Here are the top 10 autumn treks for you:

1. Phulara Ridge, Uttarakhand

2. Beas Kund, Himachal Pradesh

3. Har Ki Dun, Uttarakhand

4. Kedarkantha Trek, Uttarakhand

5. Buran Ghati, Himachal Pradesh

6. Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand

7. Chopta Tungnath Trek, Uttarakhand

8. Goechala Trek, Sikkim

9. Chanderkhani Trek, Himachal Pradesh

10. Prashar Lake, Himachal Pradesh

If you are looking for a break from your hectic lifestyle and willing to enjoy the time in the lap of nature then trekking is the best option. Not only you will get the peace you have been looking for from the noise of the city life but will make your soul and body happy. You will experience a great energy and positive vibes which will behold you and your busy life till you return to them.

Try any of the above treks once and you will fall in love with trekking. We are damn sure about it. If you would like to know choose your first trek then you can refer to our blog Choosing your First Trek”.

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Trekking has numerous benefits which are related to a healthy life of a person. Going as per science, trekking helps in release of a chemical called Endorphins. Endorphins are a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having many physiological functions. When we do any activity this hormone is released. It automatically triggers the mind and it reduces the stress in life.

Well that being said there are many activities which helps in release of these hormones but out of all the other activities Exercise (not only running) is said to be best. It is also effective for boosting your immune, building your core and legs strength, reducing heart diseases and many more other benefits. With the current lifestyles and busy lives it becomes a little difficult to take out time for exercise. Though few of us have that dedication but be truthful to yourself how many of you actually take out time? Sadly, the number is very less.

Working out in gym is cherished during initial few days and becomes less desirable because of the monotonous schedule. Walking or hiking for only half an hour release more calories than an hour of gym, lifting heavy weights.

From my experience in the Himalayas where I have completed over 20 treks with few above 5000 meters(above 16,000 feet). I myself believe that one should go trekking at least twice a year, but there is no limitation. Take trekking as an opportunity to gain new learning, inspiration and new culture. Trekking will offer you breathtaking landscape views and quiet moment of self-reflection. The benefits of trekking are vast and worthy. It provides benefits from physical to mental to spiritual because there is something naturally delightful and magical in the lap of mother nature.

And here are some benefits of trekking or hiking: 

1. IMPROVES YOUR FITNESS AND LONGER LIFE

Trekking involves walking ups and downs of mountains and passing through fields and boulders. Many surveys have shown that trekking for 4-6 hours results in a burning of calories which leads to fat loss and increases the testosterone hormones.

Moreover, you are walking long distances, so the heart has to pump the blood harder to maintain the oxygen level which cleanses the blood. Drinking water during the activity helps in purifying the body simultaneously. Trekking is enough to reduce the risk of heart failures, strokes and heart attacks by 30%, as per the research. If you are active then it can certainly reduce the risk of cancer too. Hence trekking providing you with a healthy and longer life.

Either you relate it to the fitness or longer life or mental stability or inner peace, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he or she seeks.”

 

2. REJUVENATES YOUR HEART AND LUNGS 

Trekking takes you away from the population. It means that you will get fresh and clean air because the human activities have been limited to these places. As a result, the natural and extensive growth of flora is found. When you breathe clean air, the lungs becomes more capable and the heart pumps more blood which eventually invigorate your heart and lungs. Trekking not only benefits your heart but because of the physical activity you perform and sometimes you push yourself when it becomes difficult. It makes a great cardio workout and decrease the level of cholesterol and blood pressure.

 

3. ENERGIZES YOUR MOOD

Did you know that some exercises like walking reduces depression and work as the medicine for anti-depression? Similarly, trekking is a perfect booster as it not only combines walking activity which reduces the stress but also add to the mental strength. When you breathe fresh air and feel the peace and calm scenery, it automatically rejuvenate your inner soul and your mind and the soul gets lost in the panorama of nature. Extending your time in nature can provide you with some extra perks like reduction in stress and improved energy levels and a good sound sleep, as per some clinical studies.

 

Hence it won’t be incorrect to say that in this fast paced society, trekking provides some great benefits for your mind and emotional well-being too. And since it energizes your mood like nothing else so don’t wait because “There’s always something beautiful outside.”

4. ATHLETIC MUSCLES AND STRONG BONES

Walking is said to be complete workout for the whole body and so does trekking. Trekking requires a great amount of physical work, walking ups and downs, crossing fields and climbing boulders. There is a great involvement of different muscles which increases flexibility of muscles and makes the bones stronger. While doing multiple days trek and carrying backpacks which includes clothes, food, water, tents (in some cases), first aids and much more which adds to the shoulder and back and kind of give you better workout and increases bone density as well. It also helps if you have problems like back pain, arthritis and joint pain, keeping in mind you carry a suitable load.

Trekking in Himalayas or any other topography will need great amount of energy. Trekking leads to involvement of each muscle straight from legs, arms, core, abdominal muscles, back to the quads, hamstrings and calves. Thus makes your body flexible and muscles athletic.

5. INCREASES YOUR FOCUS

Trekking or hiking is an activity which requires a lot of focus since you don’t want your ankle to get twisted. You are walking over boulder or rough patches so you need to be focus where and how you are walking. A mere walk or movement of ten odd minutes believed to increase mental focus and productivity. It is always a good idea to walk even when you are in busy city life and working on your desk. Try to walk when you are on break because when you will return to your desk you will be able to concentrate on work. Hence it automatically improve your productivity.

Likewise, taking a weekend break from work and spending time in trekking will enable your senses. It will make you more focused towards your goals. Besides, it will reduce your stress and improve your physical fitness as well.

When you have focus, you tend to find the solutions to all your problems. “I don’t believe you truly know yourself, until you spend time in the great outdoors” (I read this somewhere)

6. INCREASES YOUR MENTAL STRENGTH

Trekking is a great way to reduce stress from your life because during trekking your body releases endorphins and makes you happy. A lot of studies have found out that problems like depression, stress, and health issues can be cured to some extent when you indulge yourself in some or other types of physical activity, what is better than trekking, isn’t it? It is a complete guide to keep your whole body fit and serenity your mind. Mountains provides you with astonishing views, mesmerizing water bodies, snow covered peaks, glittery skies filled with stars, fresh air all these helps in keeping your mind serene and soothing.

7. EXPERIENCE INCREDIBLE FLORA AND FAUNA

During your trekking you will come across some phenomenal species of birds, distinct wildlife and beautiful plants and trees. These plants or trees have great healing properties and medicinal value which are even spotted in cities.

For example, you all must be aware of Rooh Afza which is pretty common during summers in cities and used for refreshment purpose but holds a very high sugar content. On the other hand if you are traveling to Uttarakhand then you will find Buransh Juice which is extracted from a flower. It has so many benefits and works like an anti-oxidant and cleanses the blood. The best part is it does not contain any artificial sugar.

How about if I ask you, when was the last time you saw a bird in a city? The answer is, none of us remember. We live such a busy life that we don’t notice, but the truth is, birds have actually completely escaped from the cities. But when you go to these places for trekking you will be able to find a lot of them and few will be like totally new species for you. “Let’s find some beautiful place to get lost.”

 

8. EXPERIENCE LOCAL CULTURE AND FOOD

Trekking has many rewards, but only few realize those benefits. Stepping into the mountains, you can deliciously surprise your taste buds which is lost in our dying culture of blended taste. You can be friends with mountain folks and in return they will offer you the food and shelter. Moreover with the growing culture of homestays, you can easily experience their local food and learn their culture. But make sure if they are complimenting your stay or food out of courtesy then leave them with a small gift. Doing a little won’t hurt you financially or emotionally. The locals also gets benefited if you are paying them against your stay. It will help them to improve their livelihood and also encourage them.

The purity which you will find in the water or the simplicity and taste you will find in the mind will leave you stuck. You would not have had that kind of food even if you would spend 1000’s of bucks in cities. These experiences can only be provided with this sport, new friends, n number of health benefits, a chance to experience new culture and tradition, redeveloping the taste buds and much more, what else you can ask for.

 

9. MAKE NEW FRIENDS

How much fun it is to meet someone new with same interests and spending time with them is a completely different joy, isn’t it? Well I am sure all of you will agree with this. When you are trekking you will be able to make friends easily because you have so much in common. First of all you are like-minded and second you will be staying or trekking together for a specific time frame. Trekking in groups is actually a great way to develop or enhance your emotional well being. I have made so many friends during various treks and we are still good friends. All it takes is, to share your thoughts and feelings about something you like or something you both have in common.

Here is a quote which I found out by Helen Keller and I completely agreed with it “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.

10. DISCONNECT FROM TECHNOLOGY

Yes there are certainly a huge advantages of the technology which is coming up on every day basic. But somewhere it is definitely hurting you and the environment. Thus you should actually not be completely dependent on these new gadgets. If you are going there then try to minimize the use of these gadgets. Take some time to observe the beautiful nature or the sunset or sunrise, I am sure it will be worth. The people who are living in the mountains are completely unaware about what the internet is. Whereas you are going there and searching for internet connectivity, such an irony. I have experienced these situations personally. While trekking you are away from all the hustles of office life, social media, television and the world. This silence will provide you with calmness and relaxation of mind and soul. A gadget free getaway can re-teach you to appreciate and connect with the Mother Nature. And that being said trekking is considered to be a great way to reconnect with your soul and self-discover yourself.

I really liked this quote. It gave me motivation to leave the comfort, be it city life or the technology which I was so used to“You have to leave your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.”

Hence it won’t be incorrect to say that trekking has so many benefits to offer to you. I feel trekking is the best thing because first of all it is your ‘me’ time and second it has many health benefits to offer to you. When you have some time off from your busy corporate life then either you can go on vacation trips where you can enjoy nature and spend time with yourself or with your family. Else you can go out and play some sports to keep you fit. But while trekking you can accomplish both.

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Triund is a calm and enticing trekking destination, embraced by the fascinating charm of the Dhauladhar range. Triund is considered to be one of the most popular trekking destinations in Himachal Pradesh. Triund proves to be a soothing destination. Triund offers with the views of the Dhauladhar ranges on one side and the charismatic Kangra Valley on the other. Triund Trek is actually one of the best treks for beginner trekkers.

Duration : 2 Days and 1 Night

Trek Type: Easy

Altitude: 2,875mt or 9,435ft

Best Season: March-June & Sept-November

Base Camp: McLeodganj

Triund is one of the easiest and most stunning treks in Himachal Pradesh. Triund is popular among enthusiasts of all ages. You have got the most amazing panoramic views at different times of the day- Sunset, moonrise and sunrise all present at the same place, highlighting the unique beauty of Triund. The trek starts from McLeodganj which is near Dharamshala. It is said to be the place where the Dalai Lama stayed when he came to India. Ofcourse, the place itself will showcase the vibrant Tibetan culture, monasteries and the monks.

Considered to be a small trek Triund is accessible in all the seasons. It looks like a paradise when covered with snow and in summers it is all about grassy meadows. During the trek one can easily witness the panorama view of the valley, along with the famous Dharamshala Cricket Stadium. The Trek comprises steep but well defined trails through the lush green forest of oak and rhododendron trees.

Arrive at McLeodganj:

Arrive at McLeodganj a day earlier and give yourself a little rest before you start the trek. You can take the AC Volvo or HRTC buses, it will be an overnight journey of around 10 hours.

After the overnight journey you will reach McLeodganj by 7:00 or 8:00 am and then you can rest. The entire day you can relax or go out to explore the small town which offers you a rich Tibetan culture. Later in the evening have your dinner and go to sleep.

You can even do the overnight journey and after reaching McLeodganj, head straight to the trek and probably stay in the town on the second day. Both works pretty well so choice is yours.

Day 1: McLeodganj – Triund 6184ft to 9435ft : 09 kms

You can start the trek early in the morning around 7 or 8, after a light breakfast. The trek is 09 kms and could consume 4-5 hours.

Triund trail is a beautiful walk through a mixed forest of rhododendron and oak trees. Some steep ascents will offer amazing views of the valley below. The trail till halfway is a gentle, rising one through the trees and traverses the steep and rocky section of the ridge. Past the Magic View cafe, a small shop considered to be there since 1984 (the halfway of the trek), the trail gets steeper.

It continues with a steep switchbacks as it climbs the altitude. But the last couple of turns brings the extra efforts and lands you on a grassy ridge that stretches a good amount of area. Relax on the grassy ridge or take a walk and witness the Kangra Valley and Dhauladhar ranges covered with snow on the peak.

With the steady amount of pace, you will reach Triund around noon at most. And don’t worry you will have ample amount of time to explore. Post some rest, have your lunch. You can stay in the tents which are easily available and will cost around 800-1000 bucks for a 2 person tent. Yet if you choose to pitch your own tent then you can do so, you have to pay a fee to the forest officer. When I went there last time the officer did not pay the visit so we did not pay. But usually they give a visit around 6 or 7pm to collect the fee. You will find a lot of people pitching their own tents. The only hassle is that you have to carry them, if you can do so then I would advise you to take your own tent and pitch the tent. The view of town from Triund looks like this (although it is not a good photography skill).

The sunset and the sunrise are the most beautiful times of the day at Triund. You definitely want to capture such moments. It gets better with the reddish rays during sunset touching the Dhauladhar ranges and it just takes your soul away. However, there is another moment which would take your breath away and that is the night. If the weather is clear, one can see the sky filled up with stars completely. You can spot the constellations as well. Surely you would not have seen so many stars before, it would surprise you.

Post dinner, get inside your tents and go to sleep.

Look at this beautiful sunset picture at Triund. Although it is not as good as I was expecting because I asked my friend for a wide angle. But friends are actually there to ruin your photographs.

Extra Information:

If you have the energy left after you reach Triund on the first day. Then you might want to visit Laka Got or Snowline Cafe which is another 2kms trek from Triund. This little stretch will consume time and energy but it is definitely worth it. From the snowline cafe you can witness the Indrahar Pass and Lahesh Caves.

The landscape of Dhauladhar ranges from Laka Got is much more clear. But make sure if you are going to Laka Got then you need to descent on time because you really don’t want to miss the sunset at Triund. Taking into consideration going to Laka Got and descending to Triund would consume another 2-3 hours. So it is advised only go there if you really have that energy left. The weather in the evening might get tricky and you don’t want to get stuck up there at that time. If you are lucky enough then you can see that the weather can be totally different at both places. But the distance is only 2 kms, the altitude plays a role so get down to Triund on time.

When I went there the first time, we actually did not continue further on the first day. Rather we planned to stay in Triund for 2 days and go back on the third day. We visited or trekked further on the second day instead. And yes we definitely witness differences in weather at Triund and Laka Got. At triund it was sunny and a little hot and when we started to go up and reached Laka Got the weather changed. The passage got covered with the clouds and it started to drizzle. We actually went there with t-shirts and pants and we regret it. Then because we were feeling chilly we had to descend back to Triund.

Day 2: Triund – McLeodganj 9435ft to 6184ft, 09kms

Goodbye to Triund. Wake up in the morning and get ready to descend. If you really want to witness the sunrise make sure you are awake before 6am. Before the sunset, you would experience a cold breeze so you might want to take your jacket out when coming out of your tent. As soon as the sun throws its light then the warmth eliminates the cold. Pack your things and get ready for breakfast, post that it will be the downhill walk only. Most people consider descend to be easy but in reality it is not. You really have to watch your steps and the pressure will come to your knees. Maintain a steady pace as there is no need to rush because you don’t want to twist your ankles on the way back. The trail is for about 3-4 hours walk till McLeodganj. Once you reach McLeodganj, the trip comes to an end. You will reach McLeodganj in the afternoon providing you with ample amount of time to explore the place.

You can even take a walk to the cascading Bhagsu Waterfall. If you feel like exploring the town more or go to Dharamshala. You can choose to rest in some hotel or you can take an overnight AC Volvo or HRTC buses. You will find buses to Delhi easily.

I would recommend either you come a day early or stay for a day after you finish your trek. The town has so much to offer. You can enjoy the different cuisines. Visit some bar where they are playing live music. Pay your visit at Shiva Cafe in Dharamshala, you will definitely love the place and will visit again. Likewise many other cafes and waterfalls are all around the city. Take a day extra with you.

Preparing For Trek:

Planning a trek is exciting and needs complete preparation to make sure your trip goes well and you enjoy your days on trek. We try our best to provide important generic essentials required on trek for trekkers but there are certain things that you need to carry with you in your backpack. You can find a list of personal essentials you must carry with you. Make sure you don’t over pack your bags by keeping things not useful on trek. Check your fitness to make the trek comfortable and eliminate any chances of health issues.

What To Carry?

Trekking Shoes: As we pass through rugged mountains and rocky trails it’s really important that you feel comfortable while walking. A good pair of shoes can do exactly the same for you. Try avoiding new shoes and if you have to buy one then make sure to wear it for some days in advance to get used to it.

Backpack: Get a good backpack 40-60 Lt’s with a supporting frame and good quality straps. Carry a small day pack in case you need one to offload your primary backpack while exploring nearby spots around campsite. It is recommended but not mandatory.

Clothes: Avoid wearing jeans on trek, carry at least 3 trek pants for the complete journey. Carry warm clothes such as a light jacket, thermals(2) to wear at night. Full Sleeves collar T-shirts (3-4) to avoid sunburn.

Accessories: Sunglasses | Cap | Balaclava or warm scarf | Socks (sports socks and a pair of woolen socks) | Gloves | Led torch |Trekking pole.

Personal Essentials: Toiletries such as sunscreen, sanitizer, soap, moisturiser, lip balm, Toothbrush and toothpaste and a light towel | 2 water bottles – 1litre each | Plastic cover for wet clothes | Toilet paper.

Medical Kit: We advise you to carry a personal medical kit for yourself. Here is what all you should carry:

Avil 25mg – 4 tablets | Combiflam – 4 tablets | Disprin – 10 Tablets | Eno – 6-8 sachets | Digene – 10 tablets | Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 mt | band aid – 10 | Moov spray – 1 | Betadine | Cotton roll | ORS – 5 Packets.

IT IS A HUMBLE REQUEST TO ALL, DO NOT THROW ANY PLASTIC WHILE YOU ARE ON TREK. SAVE THE NATURE. BRING BACK ALL THE PLASTIC YOU USED AND DUMB IT PROPERLY.

Here is a picture of me which was taken on Triund Top.

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Indrahar Pass is in the Dhauladhar ranges of Himalayas. Indrahar Pass trek starts from Mcleodganj (near Dharamshala). The trail passes through the famous Triund , Ilaqa Pass and Lahesh Caves. Final destination, Indrahar Pass. Although for the trek lovers the pass continues to Chamba Valley but that would need a guide with you. The trekkers on this trek explore the natural beauty and the charm of Indrahar pass and enjoy camping around the Lahesh Caves. The panoramic views of Dhauladhar range and other Himalayan peaks are the extra perks of this trek.

Duration: 4 Days

Trek Type: Moderate – Difficult

Altitude: 4,324mt or 14,245ft

Best Season: May-June & Sept-Nov , For snow lovers March and April are the most suitable months.

Base Camp: Triund

Indrahar Pass is a pass in the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas, located 14,245 ft. above the sea level. Indrahar Pass forms the border between Kangra and Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh. 

Indrahar Pass trek takes you through green pastures, dense deodar and rhododendron forests and rocky ridge boulders. The trek is well marked by the Gadi Shepherds who use the trek to gaze at their frocks in summers. 

Initially, the trek begins with a steady climb through the Himalayan region and turns into a steep climb, walking through rich wildlife areas. The pass offers you an ultimate adventurous experience as it comprises continuous climbing often over boulders. 

Arrive at McLeodganj: 

Arrive at McLeodganj a day earlier and give yourself a little rest before you start the trek. You can take the AC Volvo or HRTC buses, it will be an overnight journey. You can even travel by your own car. A parking facility is available at McLeodganj bus stand which costs around 300-400 INR per day. 

After the overnight journey you will reach McLeodganj by 7:00 or 8:00 am and then you can rest. The entire day you can relax or go out to explore the small town which offers you a rich Tibetan culture. Also you can pay your visit at Bhagsu Shiva Temple and waterfall. Other popular places are St John’s Church, Dal Lake, Naddi Naddi Village and many more.

Later in the evening have your dinner. Go for a sound sleep because tomorrow would require extra effort.

Day 1: McLeodganj – Triund via Galu Devi Temple: 6184ft to 9760ft : 09 kms

The trekkers should start the trek by 8:00 or 9:00 in the morning after a good healthy breakfast. The trek is 09 kms. If you are willing to shorten the distance on the first day then one can take a taxi to Galu Devi temple. This would cut your trek to approximately 6kms. The total time from McLeodganj to Triund would be about 4-5 hours. But starting from Galu Devi temple would reduce the time to 3-4 hours. The trek is one of the most popular trekking routes. 

The trail till halfway is a gentle rising one through the trees and traverses the steep and rocky section of the ridge. Past the Magic View cafe (which is the halfway point till Triund), the trail gets steeper. It continues with a steep switchbacks as it climbs the altitude. Although the last couple of turns brings the extra efforts and lands you on a grassy ridge that stretches a good amount of area. You have some shops here for refreshment, serving tea,coffee,honey lemon tea, maggi, etc.

The tough work for the day ends here and you can pitch your tents here for the night. Relax on the grassy ridge or take a walk and in the evening eat properly and sleep for the fresh start the next day. 

Day 2: Triund – Ilaqa Pass: 9760ft to 11200 ft, 5kms

Wake up in the morning by 7:00 or 8:00 am. Take a deep breath and absorb the view of mighty Dhauladhar ranges because the morning view from Triund is fascinating. After breakfast, start your trek to Ilaqa pass. The next stop will take 3-4 hours but the trek will be quite similar to Triund till Snowline Cafe followed by a plain meadows of greenery. 

Laka Got or Snowline Cafe is 2kms from Triund which is mostly uphill and the next 3kms to Ilaqa pass is downhill or flat plains. Once you reach Ilaqa Pass unpack the bags and put up the tents here. Have your lunch and explore nature. One can easily see the Indrahar pass from the Ilaqa pass yet the pass seems to be untouched from below because of the boulders trail. In the evening, you can notice many constellations if the weather is clear. But the best view comes with the sunset, when the red rays touch the top of the pass. This image which is drawn by nature is inexpressible. Though a little bit of clouds at that time would do the wonders and add to the beauty of the scenery.

You can easily notice from here that the pass would not be easy to trek on. The trail is full with boulders. Moreover the trek gets difficult to walk on since the trek is not marked for the first couple of kilometres. After which it is marked but doing it first time is not advisable without someone local or a guide. In the evening you can have your dinner and go to sleep because tomorrow is not going to be an easy trek for you. Trek till Iaqa Pass is considered easy to moderate but things change beyond this point. So get ready.

IMPORTANT: If you are travelling for the first time it is advised to go with a guide. Do not even try to go alone, the trail is filled with boulders and the wrong path may lead you in the middle of nowhere. Hiring a guide from McLeodganj would cost you about 1000 INR a day but you can avoid that. You can ask a local person in Ilaqa Pass or at Snowline cafe for the same. They would be happy to take you there for 500 INR per person. 

Day 3: Ilaqa Pass – Lahesh Caves – Indrahar Pass – Ilaqa Pass, 11200 ft to 14.245 ft, 12kms

Today is going to be a tough day so be prepared for it mentally. Wake up in the morning as soon as possible because the trek needs to begin early ofcourse keeping in mind the light. You can start your trek by 7am at most because the weather might get rough later on the day. And you don’t want to get stuck there at any cost. The distance is also the longest today and also the most difficult of the entire trek. 

Starting from Ilaqa pass and coming at the same point, you would cover a distance of about 12 kms which means it would take around 8-9 hours that totally depends upon your speed. One important thing to keep in mind while climbing pass, make sure you take adequate amount of water and some glucose biscuits or glucon-d with you. Water will not only protects you from dehydration but also helps from altitude sickness which is pretty common at this altitude. The route from Ilaqa Pass to Indrahar Pass is steep and is completely uphill. Difficulty level varies from moderate to strenuous because at some curves you might wanna crawl and climb up because of the angle elevation. The vegetation on this trail is only during monsoon. Otherwise it is completely dried out and terrains are rocky or boulders during summers. Likewise the whole trail is covered in white with snow during winters. 

While climbing you would come across Lahesh Caves which is about an hour away from Ilaqa Pass, you might wanna see how it is. The possibility of putting up a tent there is complete no because there is no space to do so. You might have to move on hands and knees to get inside the cave and be in the same position till the time you are inside. If you are planning to take a stop at Lahesh Caves instead make sure you don’t do it near monsoon season because of the risk of insects and ofcourse rain. You only need sleeping mats and sleeping bags for the cave as it does not have the area to pitch a tent.

Another hour from caves is steep uphill but not that difficult. The difficult part starts after that where you might land up crawling and climbing at same time which continues for 2 hours in bits and pieces. Once you reach the pass you would witness the Chamba Valley and the complete Dhauladhar range. All you can see would be Himalayas all around and if going during the month of May can catch your eyes with snow on these peaks. After reaching Indrahar Pass, spend some time there and experience the majestic views and rest for some time. 

While you are on top, make sure you start coming towards Ilaqa pass by 1:00pm maximum since the weather at this height is completely unpredictable. You definitely need to take extra precautions while descending. It is advised to take some extra time instead of rushing down. The steep descent almost makes the angle of 70-75 degrees which is dangerous even for experienced trekkers. You have to maintain a gentle pace and make sure you watch your steps because few of the rocks are pretty loose and might fall down with extra weight on them.

Once you reach Ilaqa Pass have some water with sugar which would balance your low sugar level and if in case you suffered with altitude sickness then it would benefit that too. After a while have your food and remove your shoes and wear slippers it would make you comfortable after 8-9 hours of struggle inside the shoe. Later in the evening take your dinner and today you would get one of the best sleeps because of the hard work you did today. Take a sound sleep as tomorrow it will be a little easy but tiring too.

Day 4: Ilaqa Pass – McLeodganj 11200 ft – 6184 ft, 14kms

This the last day of mesmerizing and wonderful experience. The trek today is all about downhill experience. It will be easy but can get a little tiring because the risk of twisting the ankles increases. You will go through a descendant and rocky trail so maintain a steady pace. The trail is for about 3-4 hours before you reach Galu Devi temple. Now from here either you can hire a taxi which costs around 400 INR. Else you can continue walking till McLeodganj which would take another hour at most. Once you reach McLeodganj, the trip comes to an end, you may decide to rest here for a day or may take a overnight AC Volvo or HRTC buses from here. You will find buses from 4.30pm till 8.30pm to Delhi. 

Preparing For Trek

Planning a trek is exciting and needs complete preparation to make sure your trip goes well and you enjoy your days on trek. We try our best to provide important generic essentials required on trek for trekkers. But there are certain things that you need to carry with you in your backpack. You can find a list of personal essentials you must carry with you. Make sure you don’t over pack your bags by keeping things not useful on trek. Check out your fitness to make the trek comfortable for you and eliminate any chances of health issues.

What To Carry?

Trekking Shoes: As we pass through rugged mountains and rocky trails it’s really important that you feel comfortable while walking. A good pair of shoes can do exactly the same for you. Try avoiding new shoes and if you have to buy one then make sure to wear it for some days in advance to get used to it.

Backpack: Get a good backpack 40-60 Lt’s with a supporting frame and good quality straps. Carry a small day pack in case you need one to offload your primary backpack while exploring nearby spots around campsite. It is recommended but not mandatory.

Clothes: Avoid wearing jeans on trek, carry at least 3 trek pants for the complete journey. Carry warm clothes such as a light jacket, thermals (2) to wear at night. Full Sleeves collar T-shirts (3-4) to avoid sunburn.

Accessories: Sunglasses | Cap | Balaclava or warm scarf | Socks (sports socks and a pair of woolen socks) | Gloves | Led torch |Trekking pole.

Personal Essentials: Toiletries such as sunscreen, sanitizer, soap, moisturizer, lip balm, Toothbrush and toothpaste and a light towel | 2 water bottles – 1litre each | Plastic cover for wet clothes | Toilet paper.

Medical Kit: We advise you to carry a personal medical kit for yourself. Here is what all you should carry:

Avil 25mg – 4 tablets | Combiflam – 4 tablets | Disprin – 10 Tablets | Eno – 6-8 sachets | Digene – 10 tablets | Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 mt | band aid – 10 | Moov spray – 1 | Betadine | Cotton roll | ORS – 5 Packets.

IT IS A HUMBLE REQUEST TO ALL, DO NOT THROW ANY PLASTIC WHILE YOU ARE ON TREK. SAVE THE NATURE. BRING BACK ALL THE PLASTIC YOU USED AND DUMB IT PROPERLY.

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Exploring the great almighty Himalayas is a dream for all the trekkers. And we all have our own reasons, probably some do it for the thrill, some like to discover new places and cultures, some try to find peace and some want to get closer to nature.Whenever you are trekking in the mountains, it is best to come with proper preparation and the right spirit. But with wrong preparation and bad attitude you will have an adverse experience.  And in extreme conditions, it can even lead to casualties. It is in your hand to take your own responsibility and to trek responsibly without harming nature. The reasons for listing the do’s and don’ts of trekking is to make all the trekkers aware that we are not the owner of nature, rather we are just care-takers. We need to learn about these to reduce the number of casualties. 

LET’S START WITH THE DO’S

Check For Route and Weather

Well there is nothing more to say to this, planning a trip to Goa or a short vacation to Manali is completely different from a trekking trip to the Himalayas. Always check for your trek terrain and weather conditions. Everything changes with these factors, dry and rough terrain during summer conditions will have a different packing list and snow and winter conditions will have a difference. Plan your way ahead and do not just rely on others for the same. Read about the place, culture, weather, etc beforehand so in case of any emergency you can handle the situation calmly. Never think as a beginner but as a pro whenever planning your trekking trip. 

Learning about the terrain and weather will help you pack accordingly. You surely don’t want to get wet in the rain or get caught in snowfall without having a raincoat or down jacket in your backpack. Make an itinerary and follow the weather forecast of your trail, gain as much information as you can. Remember, weather can be your best ally or biggest enemy on the trek.

Follow Trek Leader

Always make sure you follow and listen to your trek leaders instructions, it is necessary and helpful. They are very well aware about the path and the trail. So they know where it is risky and where it is not. I would advise you to follow their footsteps literally when it comes to snow treks. They are the one who know everything about the place and situation of your trekking destination. Moreover, learn to trust your fellow trek mates as well. You will be spending your next few days or a week with them. You will share your food and tent with them. Remember in the worst situations, they will be the one to help you. Ensure you consult with your trek leader in case you feel uneasy or uncomfortable at any point during your trek. Ignoring this might lead to a worse condition. Being cooperative will bring respect, happiness and carefulness in you during your trek. Always help each other in need.

Never go for any trek alone unless you are 200% sure about your safety. Although it is not necessary that you would lose the path, chances are there you might fall and twist your ankle or some other muscle pull. If you are a beginner and doing any short treks like Triund trek which is said to be the easiest but even on this trek many casualties have happened and even deaths. Always take a guide or least go with some friend who has done trekking before. 

Moreover another thing to maintain is a positive attitude. Nothing can happen to me or I don’t care attitude could cause a disastrous moment. Always think positive and listen to your leader.

Carry Your Own Backpack

Carrying your own backpack is the basic in trekking. Plus it tests your physical strength. So make it a habit of packing light. Carry only the required clothes for your trek. A fleece jacket and down jackets will be the perfect combo for all the treks. You will be carrying your bag and the heavier it will be, the more exhausted you will feel. Carry the essentials which will be used during the trek. Packing 4 jackets, 3 pairs of shoes and unnecessary utensils and food will be useless.  Whenever making a purchase for your clothes, go for polyester or dry-fit fabrics, buy clothes which can be packed easily and are lightweight. 

Pack basics like change of clothes, first aid box, some ready to eat food and energy bars and a water bottle. However the list would differ depending upon your trek conditions and whether you are going on your own or with some private trekking companies. We have a backpacking checklist which you can follow but make sure you double check the list with your trek leader. 

Carry Proper Trekking Gears

Trekking gears are the essential part of trekking. A good quality trekking shoes, jacket, trekking poles and sleeping bags comes in handy and plays an important role to make your experience enjoyable and comfortable. You need proper water-resistant with comfortable ankle support shoes to keep your feet warm. Likewise you need snow grip spikes or crampons during your winter trek. As a tip make sure you buy one size bigger whenever you are going for long treks, it will accommodate your swollen feet and reduce the chances of blisters. 

Many of us underestimate trekking poles and think they are too fancy to carry. Actually it’s not. Trekking poles are there for a reason, they become a third leg and provide support while ascending and descending by sharing your body weight and pressure.

Similarly a good quality trekking tent and sleeping bag are very important. It will make sure you get a sound sleep and your body gets properly ready so it can be ready for the task on the following day. Same goes for your trekking jackets, a comfortable lightweight down jacket will keep you warm. Pack proper woolen socks, caps and gloves to keep you warm and dry. 

Always Keep Yourself Hydrated

It is difficult to realize that you are dehydrated. High altitude and cold weather conditions can make you feel less thirsty, which means you will end up taking less fluid than required. You need a minimum of 4-5 litres a day and if possible drink only warm water. Keep a water bottle in your backpack and refill the bottle whenever you get a chance. Make it a habit to sip some water after every 15-20 mins of walk. If you are going on a winter trek, you can carry a thermos which will keep your water warm for a long time. Water can freeze up during such conditions. You can also go for some alternatives in between like hot soups, tea or sports drinks to give some taste to your taste buds. Ensure you are taking enough fluids at regular intervals.

Although water in the mountains is clear and pure. But it is always a good option to keep water purifying tablets so in case if the streams are dirty or contaminated, then it can purify the water. Drinking pure water will also save you from infections and other diseases. 

Pack First Aid On Priority 

Don’t you ever dare to leave your first aid because it is as important as your mobile phone. First aid is a necessity on trek. The first aid box should contain basic medications to treat acute mountains sickness, cold, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Do include bandages, cotton and band-aids. Trekking can result in major and minor injuries and keeping the first aid will prevent getting infected. Consult your trek leader before taking any medicine. He will have better knowledge about what and when to take. 

Bring Reusable & Eco-Friendly Products

Well this is pretty self explanatory, but still many trekkers ignore this. Whenever trekking always carry your own utensils like a plate, a bowl, a fork and a spoon and that is all you need. Many trekkers find it very inconvenient to carry them and wash them after every meal and prefer disposable plates but that actually harms the environment. Similarly a lot of people don’t like to refill water and rather buy new water bottles and follow use and throw technique. It is advisable to refill the water bottle. The plastic actually takes hundreds of years to decompose and are a threat to nature. It will be a good practice to bring reusable utensils like plates, cups and water bottles to save our mother nature. 

Also one thing to make sure which is added to your to do list is to bring eco-friendly products to your bag. Carry biodegradable soap and detergent. Use biodegradable toilet paper. Using common toiletries like lip balm, toothpaste, face wash etc carry chemicals and harm our environment. Likewise for female hygiene, carry menstrual cup, tampons, reusable cloth etc. Sanitary pads take years to decompose. Be smart and pack your products accordingly.

Take Your Waste Back

Don’t be ashamed to take your waste back with you. Carry a bag with you where you can keep all your waste from plastic bottles to packaged food wrappers. For female travelers, they should put used sanitary pads in a zip lock bag. We all know there are no municipal departments in mountains and the waste which you dispose there cannot find its exit. Dispose all the waste in the proper place so it can be either recycled by segregating the waste. Because of the excessive pollution by trekkers, Uttarakhand High Court banned trekking and camping in some parts and this was because of us. We will have to preserve these treks for our future generation as well. However you can minimize the waste by using reusable and eco-friendly products in the first place. Don’t wait for others, you will have to make the start. If you really want to experience the adventure and want your future generations to experience the same, then we would have to start the contribution right away.

LET’S START WITH DON’TS NOW

Do Not Litter

We have seen that mountains have turned into a dustbin and this is heartbreaking. People go to the mountains to get detox physically and mentally but in return they pollute them. Buying packaged food and throwing the wrappers anyone thinking no one will see them. The main reason why we have turned out mountains into garbage bins is because we think what this one wrapper of chips can do. Please do not throw these wrappers/packets anyone, find a proper dustbin or take them back with you. Unless and until we ourselves don’t take actions, no one will. Because of the increase in waste a lot of treks were being banned for camping and trekking, and if we continue to litter then all the treks will be closed soon. You can use water instead of tissue papers and towel instead of wet wipes, because we tend to throw them away after use, resulting in polluting the environment plus they take years to decompose . Several times these are eaten by wildlife and as a result it leads to their death.

As a responsible citizen and trekker, it is our duty to keep our mountains clean. Remember we owe nature. Next time on trek, bring the waste with you and if you happen to see anyone littering around stop that person and educate him/her about the consequences of the same. We have seen so many changes in our climate and this pollution is the only reason for it, it won’t be long enough before our environment gets destroyed completely. 

Don’t pollute the water and environment

The rivers are the main source of water for the villages in mountains and even in cities too. And this water is used for drinking purposes by thousands of people. This is pretty common sense that we should not pollute the water. We all know that the water found in these streams is pure and clean however if you pee or wash or bathe in these streams then the water becomes contaminated. This further can lead to numerous types of diseases. We all know the human body consists of 70% water, and likewise on earth 71% is water but the fresh water is only 2-3% which means we have a scarcity of water. And if we happen to contaminate it and pollute it then it won’t be long before we won’t have water to drink. Look at the population and the amount of fresh water sources we have, this drastic climate change is already diminishing water quantity, so next time make sure you are not polluting the water or the environment.

Make your business atleast 200-300 meters away from the water source and campsite, likewise if you need to wash your clothes or take a bath, fill the water in a bucket or some vessel and take it 200-300 meters so you don’t end up polluting. Because it is consumed by thousands of people living below without even filtering it so conserve our water source while on a trek. 

Don’t underlook physical fitness

Trekking is all about walking and for which you need both mental and physical strength. Trekking isn’t completed on the basis of psychological strength, you will need physical fitness. Even the small treks like Kheerganga or Triund trek require some amount of stamina. You cannot take a whole day to complete a 2-3 hours trek. And this happens when you underlook your fitness. I have seen a lot of people making the trip for trekking without doing any fitness and later they regret it, some even won’t return. Your friends were going trekking and just because you said yes in excitement doesn’t mean it will be easy. They may have been regular workout people or probably following the fitness plan from last month or so, and moreover every individual strength and stamina is different. Never say you don’t need fitness just because your BMI is perfect and you don’t have much fat. Still you will need to strengthen your legs, shoulders, arms and entire body to finish your trek in enjoyment. 

On high altitudes the quantity of oxygen decreases which means your body will pump more blood and this situation leads to AMS, pretty common isn’t it. But how you can sustain or fight, only if you are physically fit and mentally stable. Many professional trekkers have collapsed and resulted in death so never underestimate the importance of physical fitness. You can follow the fitness guide to achieve your goals.

Don’t take too many breaks

Yes, breaks are important while your are trekking no matter which trek it is. Our human body tends to get exhausted with the walking, and taking breaks releases that tiredness and make the body normal to walk again. However talking breaks on every turn or after every 5 minutes of walking completely overrides the purpose of breaks. Ofcourse you are not a superhero who can finish the trek in one go but taking breaks in a planned manner will help you to be one. Taking too much breaks only makes you more tired and lazy. Also whenever you are resting or taking breaks place your legs on a rock or on your backpack to make the blood circulation running. Else if you are making small breaks then don’t put your backpack down and keep standing to slow down your breathing. I have experienced that small break turns into long ones if we tend to sit down and remove our bag. Taking too many breaks will result in incomplete target and many times you might have to keep trekking at night to reach campsite. Avoid breaks and avoid trekking after sunset, it becomes dangerous to trek in the dark.

Another basic etiquette of trekking is to walk in groups. Do not walk too fast or too slow. It is said that the faster you walk, the more tired you will be and if you are a slow walker then you will be left behind. Remember it is not a competition so walk in a natural rhythm and concentrate on your breathing. Avoid doing anything silly or jumping on the trek, it can lead to twist of your feet and end of your trek in between. Do not take trekking as a competition, there are no rewards for the one who is reaching first at the camp. Leave this competition to your professional life, it will only harm you if done while trekking. Walking easily on your trek and enjoying the beauty of nature. 

Avoid packaged food

We all know packaged food is the main cause of pollution, be it in the mountains or in the cities. But the only difference is, in the mountains this waste cannot find it’s exit and remains there, taking years to decompose. In the city we have dustbins where we can dispose of them and it will be recycled. And this is the reason I recommend you to carry the waste with you but how about if we can minimize that in the first place. How can we do that? By using less packaged foods. No it doesn’t mean that you should not eat your favourite chocolates or chips, rather buy them and store them in a reusable box, which can be used for multiple purposes after you finished them. Another way is to eat the local food like dal, rice, roti, sabzi for your meals because this will encourage local cuisines and the packaged food will be minimized. Plus this food is healthier than packaged one.

What else can you avoid? To consume these foods in an adequate proportion. Do not bloat your stomach with a heavy lunch that makes you lazy and vulnerable to trekking. Yes adequate proportion and nutritious food is the key to maintain a good balance in your diet. Yes we all love maggi on the trek but that shouldn’t be your main course meal. Rather eat it in between and during the day time and don’t make it a habit to eat it daily. 

Don’t create noise

We humans are used to living in a noisy city life but the wildlife living in the forest is not used to it. And whenever we visit the mountains, we are just visitors. Animals and birds stay away from these noises and sometimes these loud noises results in changing their natural behaviour. And this change can really cause some risk to the trekkers passing by. Loud noises are also a part of noise pollution and creating such noises is totally unacceptable. So let’s make a point to not disturb them and let them enjoy their homes. Don’t carry bluetooth speakers. Loud noises disturb the other trekkers as well. 

Don’t forget to pack essentials

Always make a backpacking checklist before you head out for your trekking trip. However to make sure you pack with is required and don’t just overload your backpack. One good way to create a checklist is to check the weather forecast for your trek beforehand. Essentials should be kept and places in order with sleeping gears, jackets, trousers, t-shirts, shoes, socks, hat, personal hygiene products, first aid etc. These things should never be missed because you don’t get stuck in the rain without a raincoat or waterproof jacket. One big NO will be for cotton, whatsoever the situation is, during your trek cotton will be strictly avoided. It takes forever for cotton to dry and plus they are not breathable and moisture wicking. Rather go for merino wool or synthetic fabrics since they are more breathable and wicks moisture plus dry quickly. 

Also whenever you trek, the body gets warmed up very fast resulting in sweating. So my suggestion during your trek is to avoid excessive clothes. Use polyester clothes as they are lightweight and easy to dry, even if you sweat while walking they will get dried up fast. Do not bind your body with a warmer, t-shirt, fleece jacket and a down jacket during the day time. It will result in too much sweating and will make you uncomfortable, you will feel cold in case it becomes windy or you rest under shade. Moreover you can get sick if you suddenly drop your body temperature by taking a bath after being completely covered in sweat. Avoid warmer during the day time, use it at night to keep your body warm. 

Avoid smoking and drinking

Smoking and drinking are not the best things to do when you are on high altitude treks. Yes you are used to your cigarettes and drinking rum will make your warm at night but understand at high altitudes the air is thinner which means you will need more air to breathe. Drinking also makes you dehydrated and you might think it will help you sleep but actually it’s quite the opposite. You might be able to sleep well initially but later you will wake up searching for water or for using the washroom. Cigarettes are no good again, smokes fill in your lungs when you smoke and later when you try to breathe heavy, it clusters around your lungs and fails to generate enough oxygen. You are going on a trek to detox so why not to do that, these things can definitely wait. Atleast you can avoid it on high altitude treks and just enjoy the peace. 

Here are the points in brief in case you are lazy to read(just kidding)

Do’s Of Trekking

  • Plan ahead & prepare for your trek
  • Check for weather conditions
  • Carry your backpack & pack light
  • Fitness is important – Read the fitness guide
  • Sleep well at night before and during the trek   
  • Bring reusable and eco-friendly products
  • Follow your trek leader strictly
  • Pack your first aid with basic medicines
  • Help your other trek mates or who are in need
  • Ensure you are hydrate during your trek
  • Bring a good quality shoes and jackets
  • Take proper planned breaks during the trek
  • Take your waste back
  • Carry water purifying tablets/electrolytes/glucose

Don’ts Of Trekking

  • Do Not litter
  • Don’t pollute the water and environment
  • Do Not compete with any individual
  • Don’t take too many breaks
  • Avoid packaged food
  • Don’t create noise
  • Don’t forget to pack essentials
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
  • Do Not consume any medicine without consultation
  • Don’t buy, when you can rent
  • Don’t walk to fast
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of fitness
  • Don’t travel solo 

It is our duty to protect mother nature. We have got so much from nature and now it is our turn to protect it. Have a conservative approach towards trekking and understand your body and your limits along with nature. A logical approach and proper preparation will always come in handy and will make your trek doable and enjoyable. Whenever you are on your next trek make sure you follow these do’s and don’ts. Lets pledge to protect our nature and save it for future generations as well.

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL

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Experiences like trekking trips in India will stay long in our memory and these treks can vary from easy to difficult and beyond. Trekking requires a certain amount of preparation both mentally and physically. One needs to understand the difficulty levels and the type of terrain he/she is trekking on. Although we all know without preparation, trekking is hard work. You need to put your time and sweat while you prepare for it. To accomplish your trek/hike, all you need to do is to work on your skills. A little bit of extra effort will work wonders during your trek. I know we never give importance to the preparation but actually it is a crucial part. It not only helps you from injuries but ensure you enjoy every moment at the trek. 

Here are a few of my preparation guidelines which I follow before my treks.

Start Your Training Early

Sounds quite dull? Actually yes but no matter even if your trekking trip is 6 to 8 months away, it’s never too early to get started. Start with a small amount of training and proceed gradually. Your trekking terrains can be rough and uneven but training will help you to deal with these terrains, weather, temperature, altitude and physical exertion. You just need to build your stamina and train your legs. Just like training the muscle is important, likewise recovery is also important. Give your body proper rest and train regularly to build stamina. Usually 3 months before your trip is the right time to start the training. Although you can start it even 1 or 2 months prior, the only difference will be the amount and intensity of training/exercise will be more.

The best way to train your body is by walking. And the irony is trekking is nothing but walking with the differences in terrain. Walk as much as you can and wherever you can. There is no definite amount of sets or reps which you need to follow. Avoid unnecessary usage of escalator, lifts and transportation (if you only need to go within a distance of 1-2 kms). 

If you have made up your mind for trekking, make sure you adhere to a well-defined fitness schedule for your preparation. 

Mix Cardio and Exercises

Mix your cardio with exercises. Cardio is a great way to build stamina and lose extra fat from the body. Although for trekking, doing leg based cardio and exercises more is better. You can do normal or inclined walking and jogging on the treadmill. Cycling and jumping rope are few more great cardio exercises for legs. Exercises will help in increasing your strength and help you body to adapt to a new environment.  Squats, lunges, planks and deadlifts are few of them. Initially you can do them with your body weight and once you get used to that, switch to weights. 

Along with these exercises you can also include your favourite outdoor sports as well like swimming, football, cricket, etc. The more you enjoy the sport, the more motivated you will be to do them. You can also do yoga and zumba if you enjoy them. 

Build your leg strength, this is the key for your trek. The more strengthen your legs are the less tired you will be. If you are a gym person, you have plenty of options but if you are not then you can stick to basics like squats, lunges, pushups, planks and stair climbing. 

Doing some weight training again is a plus point for you. It will give you more strength to carry things on your shoulders or arms without getting tired easily.You will be carrying your backpack on your shoulder for long and continuous hours and it’s definitely not easy. Use light weight dumbbells and plates when performing exercises. Do not only train legs, your other body parts shoulders, back, arms will also play a role during your trek. Try to indulge more into compound exercises rather than individual body parts.

 Mix Your Training Terrain

Trekking includes walking on different terrains and in extreme weather conditions. Whenever you are preparing yourself for the trek, try to mix your training with similar kinds of terrain. It is always a good idea to read about your trek and the weather conditions beforehand. You will not be walking on plain roads and footpaths during your trek so try to walk on stairs more. You will get trained on uphill terrain. Prepare your feet, ankles and knees for the stress they’ll experience on the trip. It will make your trek easy and ensure you will enjoy every moment. 

Also try to practice in the same footwear and clothes which you are planning to wear on the trek. Using the footwear will make your feet adjust to the shoe and would reduce the problems like shoe bite and blisters. 

Choose The Correct Footwear

It is another very important aspect when it comes to the preparation for trek. How to choose the right pair of footwear for your next trek is an important part of trekking. Your feet are the most important body part on a trek, so investing in a good pair of waterproof trekking shoes is highly recommended. Remember your shoes can make it or break your trek. Choose the shoe with the right amount of ventilation and waterproof quality, a good ankle support with a good sole is always a plus point. You should go to the store to buy them, take the right size and walk a little when you are trying the shoe. However if you have been using a particular brand and are aware about its sizes then definitely you can order it online as well. 

And once you have bought the shoes, wear them daily so you can avoid injuries. You might feel uncomfortable and stiff at first but once you get used to it, they will mould to your foot shape. Always wear the shoes with socks. Start with various exercises in them like walking, jogging and running, the sooner you get comfortable with the shoe, the better your trek will go. 

Use Backpack During Practice

During your trek, you will be carrying your own backpack which will include food, drinks, clothes, sleeping bags, tents and much more so choosing a backpack becomes important. When it comes to buying the backpack then go for the one which gives you extra padding on shoulders, adjustable chest and waist straps and is waterproof. After you purchase the backpack, you will need to practice with it too. Remember you will be carrying all the essentials in your backpack. The bag can weigh 25lbs or 40lbs, you will have to carry it no matter what. So why not start practicing it? 

I understand it will be a little awkward to walk around like a trekker with the clothes, shoes and backpack. However you can definitely practice like when at home or maybe your terrace or how about on stairs inside the house. This will help you a lot. You won’t be surprised at the last moment when you pick your backpack before starting the trek. Nonetheless, practicing with a backpack will strengthen your shoulders, back and arms.

Make Your Diet Plan (MYDP)

 It won’t be incorrect to say abs are made in the kitchen, likewise to maintain a good fitness level, it is your diet that plays the major role. When you are increasing your fitness level by high intensity workouts but at the end you are eating parathas, butter chicken, pizzas, burgers, etc then it won’t help. And no I am not asking you to completely quit them and only eat boiled food (for those trying to reduce some weight before hitting the trek can surely stick to boiled food for a month and later switch to zero fat food). Rather I would say eat them but keep a track of your calories, once a week will work for you. Stick to the basic indian food like dal, roti, rice and sabzi because this is all you will get in your treks. Make your taste buds adapt to them so it will be easy for you. 

Eat in small quantities because with a full stomach diet you won’t be able to walk, also don’t remain hungry. Fuel your body in such a manner that it can perform the task without making you lousy. Eat light and carry snacks in between meals. Consider eating more carbohydrates instead of protein. You can practice eating on the move so your body is used to it. Think of food which gives you enough energy to finish your day and accordingly make your diet plan. 

Keep Yourself Hydrated

As we all know how important it is to keep yourself hydrated in our daily life and the same rule is followed while trekking as well. Whenever you are trekking, your fluid requirement will increase significantly and if not hydrated properly can lead to dehydration. Your fluid intake will certainly depend upon the weather condition too. Carry a water bottle with you always and refill it whenever possible at water sources. We have an article on how you can stay hydrated during the trek where we have talked about some tips and we should follow them on our trekking trip. During your preparation, when working out or jogging carry a water bottle and take small sips in between reps or sets. Try to increase your daily water intake to 4-5 litres minimum because when you are on trek, you cannot just increase it. Bloated stomach will make you slow and uneasy. Make it a habit or start the quantity before you hit your trek.

Don’t wait for your body to signal with a dry mouth and then you drink water, try sipping a small amount of water after every 20 mins(depending upon the intensity of your trek). You can keep checking by monitoring the colour of your urine, a pale straw colour indicates you are well hydrated and darker colour means you need to drink more water.

Use Trekking Poles

Walking poles actually make a difference to your trek, they are saviour once you get used to them. They are lightweight and do not take much space in your backpack however they ease the pressure on your knees on descents. Nevertheless, the poles give extra support and can be used as extra hands while you are on steep climbs. While you are preparing for your trek, try to use the walking poles. They will become your friends during your trek. Trekking poles can certainly make the trek easier and more enjoyable. 

Consistency & Persistence

Since we have already discussed the factors above, which can help in preparation for your next trek. However, we all know how difficult it is to follow these routines along with our professional and personal tasks. And this is the reason why consistency and persistence comes in picture. During your physical training, aim for a consistent amount of exercise for each day and for each week, forget about the different excuses which will come into your mind for not going to the gym or park. Maintain an exercise schedule on a piece of paper or on phone and mark complete to give yourself the honor for same. Be ready at the same time, each day and every week because I know once we pass our daily time of activity we tend to think about one or the other excuse for not doing it and leaving the same for tomorrow.

You should be persistent enough to control your mind and follow your daily routine of exercise, no matter what. Remove all the possible barriers so you can’t come up with excuses not to train. Take some extra efforts like keeping your gym clothes the night before, set an alarm on the phone or keeping a workout progress report. Actually, consistency and persistence does not only play a role while you’re preparing for your trek but we can actually have these two qualities in ourselves for our daily work/tasks.

Mental Preparation Is Equally Important

Physical fitness is really an important factor which decides the trekking experience, the fitter you are, the more enjoyable it will be. But if you’re not fit then trust me it can turn out to be your worst nightmare. But we should never forget the mental preparation as well. Because if you think in the beginning only that trekking is not for me, then for sure nothing will work. Never underestimate yourself, just put in some extra effort and remember you can do it too. Your efforts will definitely pay you off and will guide you through on your trek. Losing without trying is definitely worse than trying and failing. Always have a positive approach and I can do it approach.

WHY YOU NEED TO PREPARE YOURSELF

Now definitely it will come in your mind why you need to prepare? I am perfectly fit and I even workout everyday. Alright sounds good but have you trekked before? If no then surely you need to prepare and if yes, then you need to prepare too. See what basically I am trying to say here, never let overconfidence take place in your mind. It is good that you are a professional trekker and take care of your food and health, but if you think that and stay in bed for the whole month surely it will affect your stamina and weight. As per me anybody who can walk and breathe is reasonably healthy for a trek. 

There are chances that even if you go prepared with all these guidelines you might still face some or the other problems. It is not mandatory to follow these tips blindly, I know there might be some point which I might have missed above. These are only to make you aware and educated about the same. Don’t let your ego and I don’t care attitude ruin your preparation for trek, while you are on trek, you are on your own. There won’t be any scenario wherein if you get tired, your trekmates will carry you till campsite. Irrespective of how tired you are, you have to reach the camp, you can walk or crawl, your preparation will decide that. 

I myself have faced a lot of difficulties during my initial days of trekking wherein I went simply unprepared and later realized how stupid I was. Definitely there will be many more factors which will determine your trekking experience but atleast with these you can come closer to the good experience line. The main reason behind the preparation is to have a good trekking experience and return home without any injuries. But I am sure that if you are someone who is passionate about trekking then it won’t be difficult for you to follow these guidelines and make the best out of your trekking trip.

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL 

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Trekking in the Himalayas is fun if you can walk and enjoy the beauty but not to mention it is physically challenging too. Just like any other sport activity, trekking also requires stamina and strength even though we walk everyday for our errands but still we need to prepare our body for trekking. The old saying ‘Health is Wealth’ is something we can’t argue about. Nevertheless trekking is not only about physical fitness but requires mental preparation as well. You will need to start your preparation atleast three months prior to your trek. However the first thing is mental toughness. The professional trekkers are not athletes but are average people like me and you with just some great determination and dedication. You will be walking 5 to 7 hours everyday and trust me even a person with good level of fitness can fail to complete the task, he or she also requires preparation and a positive attitude. 

Trekkers need a balanced approach while training, and complete body strengthening. Only then he or she will be successful and injury free during the trek. It is important to maintain a slow, steady and enjoyable regime. And remember along with all the training, a proper diet and rest is a must. Your stamina and strength will improve gradually, nothing will happen overnight. Just make your schedule and exercise daily and regularly. 

So Why do we need to be fit before a trek?

Well answer to this question is very simple, the more fit you are, the more you will enjoy your trek and it won’t turn into a nightmare. But the main reason is because of two simple reasons. First, as we go on higher altitude the air becomes thinner. So to cope up with the decreasing amount of oxygen, we need to build Aerobic Fitness. This decreasing level of oxygen leads to AMS – Acute Mountain Sickness which is extreme condition turns into HAPE OR HACE and causes death as well. Hence being fit becomes very important.

Secondly, walking for long durations on ascend and descent topography with backpack on, requires good level of Strength and Endurance training. Many people don’t actually realise that walking downhill is more destructive to the body because there is more force on the body with the weight on back when on descend. So we require the strength and endurance to climb uphill or downhill without any injury.

However these are the following points to concentrate on while building endurance, stamina and strength.

Aerobic Fitness 

What exactly is Aerobic fitness/exercise? Well it is nothing but what we call commonly as cardio or cardiovascular, any physical exercise of high or low intensity. As discussed above, aerobic fitness helps you to fight against AMS and decreasing level of oxygen at high altitudes. But how you can actually increase your fitness level is simple and can be completed in two phases. Yes, it won’t come overnight and you will be required to have discipline and dedication to finish your training.

Phase I

You can start with the basics, Walking. Trekking is nothing but walking on the terrains in different topography. So no need to rush into the training from the first day unless you are someone who is already working out. Your body needs time to adjust with the exertion. If you straight away walk for 5kms on the first day, trust me you will be in bed for the next 2-3 days and will completely ruin the purpose. Hence, take it slow for the initial few days or a week, walk 4-5kms everyday and maintain a steady pace. Give a day rest before you move on to the second phase. Follow the phase I for atleast 2-3 weeks depending upon how much time you have before your trek. 

While you are completing your daily target, at the end make sure you do some stretching. It will help you to recover your muscle soreness. Free hand stretching of arms, legs, shoulder, neck and waist will also save you from injuries.

Phase II

Once your 3 weeks of walking and stretching is done and you have gained some fitness, it’s time to move on to the next phase, Jogging or Running. You can do any of these or mix them up on alternate days. These exercises can be performed inside a park or on a treadmill. Make sure you are wearing proper cushioned shoes. One thing which you can do here is to use your trekking shoes, you will get used to them and feel more confident on trekking. If you have made a new purchase of trekking shoes then you should definitely use them. Start with 3kms and gradually move to 5kms within 30 minutes. And don’t forget to do stretching at the end.

Also you can do cycling as an alternative with jogging or running. It is a very effective way to increase your aerobic fitness and helps to lose weight. You can use the cycling machine in the gym as it offers different resistance modes which are a little more efficient as compared to cycling outdoors. However both are equally efficient. Start with 5kms and move to 8-9kms within the same amount of time say 25 mins. Again stretching will help your muscles to recover quickly. 

Follow these exercises for the next 3 weeks and make sure you push yourself everyday because that will be the only way to increase your capacity. The time or distance mentioned is minimal, if you have achieved this before time, go for another km or two before you stop. 

Some other exercises which you can perform:

  • Stair Climbing
  • Incline Treadmill Walking
  • Brisk Walking
  • Rowing (if machine available in your gym)
  • Swimming (in case you have access to a swimming pool)

Benefits of Aerobic Fitness:

  1. Increases the efficiency of respiration
  2. Strengthens your heart and reduces the risk of strokes or heart attacks.
  3. Improves blood volume, distribution and delivery to muscles.
  4. Strengthens bones and muscles.
  5. Helps body to acclimatise at high altitudes
  6. Strengthen the immune system and regulates weight

And there are many more….

Strength and Endurance training

Your strength training will start from the second phase of aerobic training, wherein you will focus on the whole body. It is equally important to build endurance because you don’t want to give up just before the summit. Your endurance training will help you to go on without giving up. And for that you need to prepare your whole body, legs, arms, back, shoulders and abdominal muscles. One hour of exercise is more than enough which you can divide between cardio and strength. You really need that stamina to finish your trek. 

Although you are already preparing your legs by the aerobic training, understand you are only using your bodyweight. You will be walking 5-7 hours daily with your backpack on, so just running will cover your entire exertion of legs on the trek. NO, you will need to build your leg strength and increase your endurance by using extra weights while you are performing any leg exercises. 

I know repeating the same exercises everyday can get boring and your body will definitely get used to that. Try and alternate your exercises, suppose you are doing squats on barbell today so change to squats on leg press machine for the next week. Likewise there are many alternatives for all other exercises which will make your workout session interesting. 

Also never underlook stretching. You need only 5 mins post and pre workout session. Stretching not only helps in avoiding injuries but also recover your muscles quickly and reduces soreness.

Some exercises which you can perform for strength training.

  • Squats 
  • Leg Press
  • Calves 
  • Hamstring Curls
  • Pull-ups 
  • Push-ups
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bicep Curls
  • Tricep Pushdown
  • Walking Lunges or Standing Lunges
  • Crunches, Leg Raise
  • Dorsal Raises or Hyperextension 

There are varieties of exercises to perform when it comes to strength. Not necessary you need to lift heavy because you are not competing in any body building competition. Just some extra weight with 3 seats will be more than enough to gain some muscle mass. In case you find the weight light then yes definitely you can pick little heavy or increase your repetitions. Make sure you are taking proper rest in between your sets and train for 5 days, it’s more than enough. Do maintain a proper diet even on rest days.

Stay Hydrated

It is very important to keep yourself hydrated during your workouts and during your trek. Your body needs fluid to perform a high intensity activity. Low fluid level will decrease your endurance and results in fatigue, and during trek it can lead to altitude sickness. We have explained how you can stay hydrated during the trek in our article, you can go through that. Never wait for your body to give signals rather make it a habit to sip some amount of water after every 15-20 mins while on trek. During your workout, you can sip water after every exercise and in between the sets. If you don’t maintain the fluid level, it can cause injuries and you might even faint while you are lifting heavy weight. It even slows down the process of building muscle mass. A lot of studies even claim that water helps in reducing body weight as well. 

Take a proper amount of fluid whenever you are working out, this will eventually develop your habit of drinking water regularly even while you are on a trek or in office. We need to drink 4-5 litres of water everyday, which will increase during workout sessions or during summers. Focus on staying well hydrated during your training. 

Rest Is Important Too

Yes, rest is very important, rest in between and after the workout plays an important role in building stamina and strength. And remember to focus on optimizing the sleep, 7-8 hours of sleep is important. People often have problems sleeping at high altitudes and if you don’t sleep properly at night then you won’t be able to focus on the next day. Learn how to have a sound sleep during trek on our article.

Preparing for trek is no different than preparing for a long distance run, the only difference is there is no competition on a trek. You can walk at your own pace and enjoy the beauty of nature. As a caution, never go overboard with the training. Trekking is all about walking and maintaining a slow and steady regime. Don’t push your body during the initial days of training to an exertion level where you are not able to proceed with the routine further. Crazy workout can lead to many minor and severe injuries, you might get cramps or maybe muscle tear. Prepare an exercise chart, and during the initial few days make the workout little ease and increase the intensity as you move ahead. Also keep in mind about your capacities. Each and every time you go to the mountains, you should have the fitness level to deal with. Even the experienced trekker needs to maintain his or her fitness level. So maintain a positive attitude and eat well and drink plenty of water to prepare for your trek. Exercise regularly and include your rest days as well.

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL

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Trekking is a good way to stay healthy and happy. And a hydrated trekker is a happy trekker. Although drinking plenty of water during the trek is no rocket science. Human body is about 60% water and even a little exercise can deplete that percentage. We have seen trekkers struggling with dehydration. The crucial part of trekking is to ensure proper hydration. 

Level of your activity and the temperature you are at decides the amount of water you should drink to stay hydrated. High altitudes and warm temperature makes us thirsty. During summers we tend to sweat more which reduces the percentage of water in our body. Thus requires the human body to drink more water and water helps in keeping the mind alert and body energized. Likewise, higher altitudes means thinner air as you climb high, and in order to maintain the level of oxygen, you need to hydrate yourself at regular intervals. The lungs try to pump more oxygen when there isn’t much oxygen which results in a drier mouth. Remember, you are losing water while you are just breathing. In order to maintain a healthy balance in your body you will require more fluid. 

It is a fact that senior trekkers need 10% more fluids in their body as compared to the young trekkers. But every trekker should stay hydrated before, during and after the trek.

Let’s first understand what Dehydration is. Well I am damn sure we all know about it, but will cover it. So dehydration is nothing but deficit of total body water which occurs when water loss exceeds water intake, usually due to exercise, disease or warm temperature.  

In this article I will share some tips on how to stay hydrated during the trek. Afterwards I will tell you signs of dehydration and how to treat them. Let’s get started then. 

Drink Water Before Hitting The Trek

Before beginning your trek, you should drink one or two cups of water. Don’t wait for the body signals, your body feels thirsty when the water level is low. Instead keep your water level from dropping in the first place. Develop habits for hydrating your body, it helps you stay fit and give your best during trek. Always make it a habit to hydrate yourself before starting the trek.

How Much To Drink

 The amount or quantity of water you need to drink depends upon a number of factors like age, body type, activity level, exertion level, weather, altitude and duration. One good practice to follow, drink atleast half a litre of water on an empty stomach, drink another half a litre before you hit your trek. Your aim should be to drink 4-5 litre of water each day, and have regular sips of water in brief intervals. Although on a strenuous day the amount of water intake should increase. Instead of chugging a litre after every 2 hours, drink small amounts frequently, it helps to maintain hydration level. 

Carry Water & Make Them Accessible

Make sure you carry ample amounts of water during the trek. You need to plan how much water to carry in a day. I would recommend carrying 2 bottles of 1 litre each on each side of your rucksack. Replacing a portion of fluid with a carbohydrate or electrolyte sports beverage will help retain fluid and maintain energy and electrolyte levels. You can pack some electrolyte tablets or a sports drink to your bag. You can buy them from Amazon

Just like water is important to keep you hydrated, you also need food for same. Food are rich source of electrolytes and helps equally to prevent hydration. Make potassium rich food as a part of your diet including.

  • Bananas
  • Lemonade
  • Orange/Orange Juice
  • Tomato/Tomato Juice

Remember to balance your food intake with fluid consumption to avoid dehydration. Also keep your water bottle accessible, pack it on the top or outside of your backpack. 

Listen to Your Body

You should not wait for your body to tell you that you are thirsty. Keep in mind to take a few sips after every 15-20 minutes while trekking. Like it is said prevention is better than cure, so it is better to be conscious of drinking water on a regular interval than being hit by hydration. You need to drink more water depending upon the temperature and the intensity of your trek. Replenish fluids and electrolytes properly, consider alternating between plain water and sports drink. A balanced electrolyte and energy level makes trekking more enjoyable.

Refill at Water Source

Refill water when you can. Trekking trails are filled with plenty of water sources and it is good to know what are your water-points on the trek. Drink water every time you stop to refill your water supply. It will make you hydrate and you can avoid carrying extra water. Because of the availability of water sources, you cannot always rely that it is the cleanest and purest, make it a habit to carry water purifying tablets which will clean and kill the germs. Otherwise look for running water as these are most likely to be clean. You can buy these tablets from Amazon.

Few treks may not have enough water sources like winter treks, in that case carry enough water beforehand. Make it a habit to carry 2 water bottles of 1 litre each and refill them whenever possible. 

Start You Trek Early

Trek when it’s cooler. Start your trek early in the morning, find some shady area to rest. Take the rest during the noon time and when the sun is no longer at its peak, trek again till sunset. Walking in the sun will result in water loss through sweat so try to walk in the shade if got an option. Always apply sunscreen and  wear a cap or hat during the trek, it helps to avoid water loss. Remember sunburns can speed dehydration.  

Stay Hydrated After Trekking

Once you finish your trekking, do not stop drinking water. You should continue to intake fluids even after completing the trek to replenish water and electrolyte loss. Always drink more than you think is necessary but not while trekking, you can complete the water intake before and after the trek. 

So these were the main points to cover basic measures to take care of dehydration. But apart from these there are few more which you can take.

  • Drink irrespective of the weather. Maintaining proper hydration is equally important in cold weather, just like in hot weather. You can pack an insulated bottle to keep the water warm. Before starting your trek, you can keep tea in an insulated bottle to replace water with tea.
  • Consuming alcohol is a strict NO. Alcohol significantly contributes to dehydration. Try to avoid during or night before the trek.
  • Start building your water intake capacity two weeks before the trek. Most people are not used to drinking the required amount of water. 
  • Keep checking for your pee. Yes, you heard it right. Your urine should be light yellow and should be done after every couple of hours. Dark colour or taking 4+ hours to urinate are signs of dehydration. 
  • Take assessment of your hydration by looking for few signals like
  1. Rapid Heart Rate
  2. Dizziness
  3. Weakness
  4. Painful or Dark Urination

HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE DEHYDRATED

How you can tell if your body is dehydrated and trust me this is very easy but also a serious thing. If you think you are hit by dehydration, don’t wait longer to treat it. You can follow the above tips to prevent dehydration but you should be aware about the symptoms so in case you or your trekmates get suffered from it, then you can take proper measurements.

Early Signs of Dehydration

Now to determine the early signs is easy and can be cured instantly.

  • Dry Mouth (Drink water immediately once you felt it)
  • Thirst (Don’t wait for the stop, drink water the moment you feel thirsty)
  • Decreased Energy (Don’t assume it is the tiredness of trek, if felt low drink water with some protein bar or drink some sports drink to boost your energy)

Severe Signs of Dehydration

Now with these signs or symptoms, the process of treatment is followed by some rest. Take time once you get hit by these below and do proper hydration.

  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dark Urine
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

How to treat Dehydration

You can follow these basic steps in order to treat early symptoms or severe ones. Although for severe ones you may need some more time to determine if the suffering person needs some medical attention.

  1. Stop and look for shade. The moment you feel any of these symptoms above, stop right there and look for some shady area probably a tree or a big rock. 
  2. Take a rest. Once you find the shade, sit down and rest. You need not to force your body until you feel a little better.
  3.  Rehydrate. Drink water or a sports drink to replenish the water loss. Also you can mix some salt to the plain water to maintain the salt level. Take protein bars as they will give you extra energy.
  4. Cool down your body temperature. Hydration speeds up with high body temperature so soak a bandana or face towel and apply it to the head and back of your neck. Cooler body temperature will resist the water level more. 

Pro-Tip : Always pack Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) in your first aid kit because they are proven to help your body absorb and retain fluids more efficiently. 

Remember, continuing to trek in a dehydrated state can lead to some serious consequences like heat stroke, muscle breakdown and sometimes kidney failure.

However many times we get involved into this practice so blindly without considering the fact that, there is something called overhydration. Overhydration is also known as hyponatremia and can be just as dangerous as dehydration but is a rare condition to occur. Basically during overhydration sodium level in the blood gets diluted that cell function becomes impaired. In some extreme cases hyponatremia may cause coma and even death.

Some common symptoms of overhydration are headache, nausea and fatigue. But how you can differentiate between the two is simple, the colour and volume of urine. If the colour is clear or near clear and the volume is large every 30 minutes to an hour, you’re overhydrated. 

Avoid overhydration by paying attention to how much you are drinking. Don’t drink too much water and add electrolytes to the water are 2 basic things to follow.

How to Treat Overhydration

  1. Don’t over drink. Try not to drink more than you sweat and take some rest.
  2. Add salt. Increase the sodium level by adding salt to plain water or eating a salty snack. You can balance it by drinking a sports drink with electrolytes.

Trekking has many benefits like reducing the risk of heart attacks, breast cancer, and diabetes along with increasing overall physical function. And that is why trekking should be done safely and correctly. Make sure you stay hydrated adequately before, during and after the trek. 

SO STAY HYDRATED AND HAPPY TREKKING 

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Trekking in the Himalayas is one of the lifetime experiences for trekkers. But what about solo trekking? Trekking in a group is different and trekking on your own is a completely different ball game. You have to manage yourself, carry your backpack, pitch a tent and cook for yourself. But yes, once you have completed your solo trek, it will make you more confident and you will gain invaluable experiences. It won’t be incorrect to say that solo trekking is dangerous because you don’t have anyone to help you if anything goes wrong. Although if you are someone looking for greater mental or physical challenge, then you should definitely give it a shot. 

Not to forget everything has its own benefits and some drawbacks. Let’s first understand those and then it will clear the picture whether it is worth it for you. And if you are still willing to go solo trekking then you can continue reading the tips or tricks below.

Benefits –

  • First and foremost benefit is, solo trekking helps you to overcome your fears. We as humans have many fears like darkness, height, being alone, animals, etc and trekking solo will help you a lot here.
  • It brings you closer to nature. Traveling in groups sometimes doesn’t let you see any real nature because the noise and invasion, drives the wildlife away. Plus groups won’t let you wait for you to watch those beautiful butterflies sitting on flowers or waterfalls or for that matter sunrise or sunset. During group trekking, you have to meet your daily targets because their camping spots are fixed and you have to reach there at the end of the day. 
  • Trekking solo also offers you great flexibility, taking breaks, changing the pace, changing the  camping location and anything else which you want. Pitch your camp wherever you find it good, walk slow or fast, it’s on you. If you think you don’t need rest, you can continue until you feel tired.
  • Solo trekking makes you more responsible. You are on your own in the wild and you make all your decisions whatsoever. You tend to become more skilled and knowledgeable. You rely on yourself for food, shelter, and protection. Plus after completing the trek you say “I did it” and it’s a moment of pride.
  • Another benefit, solo trekking gives you time for self examination. You are alone in the wilderness and relaxing from the busy city life. You get a chance to meditate and bring positive vibes in you. 

These are some basic benefits which we can consider while planning for solo trekking. You get good views of nature and a peace of mind. Moreover, you get to challenge yourself physically and mentally with a dose of adventure. But not to forget, there are some disadvantages also.

Disadvantages – 

  • The first thing you will experience is loneliness. Humans are social animals and we prefer others around us and enjoy sharing our experiences and you will miss it while trekking solo. Many trekkers failed to complete their treks, and that is not because of poor planning or injury but due to loneliness. You are walking for days with no one to talk to, it becomes boring and thus turns into a bad experience.
  • Secondly, you have to carry your own load, no matter how heavy it is. And ofcourse it will be heavy, you are carrying everything on your shoulders. Your tent, utensils, food, water, first aid, other required gears, clothes, and much more.
  • Thirdly, there is a high possibility of natural events like wind, snow, rain, falling rocks, wildlife etc. In mountains you can’t predict these things. Weather changes within fraction of time and likewise you can be attacked by some wildlife, although chances for this is less but still it does come under natural events and can’t be underlooked. There is little you can do about natural events. 
  • Getting injured is always a real possibility in the wilderness but the disadvantage is that there will be no one to take care. You have to deal with AMS, burns and cuts etc. 
  • And the one which is most feared is getting lost. Losing your way is very common for solo trekkers. There is no one to check the route or find directions. You have to do it on your own. 

You definitely need a bunch of skills before going out in the wilderness for solo trekking. Missing any of these skills will land you in trouble and can create a life threatening situation as well. Keep the disadvantages before you head out. A proper planning and a good marked trail is from where you can start our solo trekking. You need to start from choosing a trek, to successfully completing it and not to forget the adequate fitness level needed. 

Now then you have looked on a few basic positives and negatives of solo trekking. We thus discuss the tips and tricks which can reduce these disadvantages to a minimum. These will keep you safe while you will be trekking solo. Although it is considered to be really tough, I would suggest you go solo atleast once. It is not a mandate to go for long treks on the first time itself. Let’s start then.

Start small

The best tip for trekking solo is to start with small treks. Start with probably a one day or two days trek and check how comfortable you are. The reason for starting from a small one is to make you gain knowledge and confidence. Treks like Kheerganga or Triund Trek are the best ones to start with. You will never go wrong with these two. Also these treks can be done solo even if it’s your first trek but not to forget you will require planning and fitness for these too. Once you gain some experience, you can increase the duration to 4 days and so on.

Pick Popular Trails

Picking the right trekking trail is important for a solo trekker. While picking the trek, another thing which you would need to keep in mind is picking a popular trek. Both of these go side by side. You really don’t want to go on an isolated trek. The main reason for selecting a popular trek, you get to meet while you ascend or descend. It makes the experience fun and you won’t feel lonely.

Also make sure you check the conditions of the trail, do your research and talk to people on the ground and understand what the trail is like right now. Check the weather conditions and make sure you have adequate gear to keep you warm. Things you can do.

  • Research on your trek – read blogs
  • Check the weather condition when you are going 
  • Join trekking groups on facebook and look for people who have done that trek recently
  • Talk to the locals before starting the trek 

Work On Fitness

We always have given emphasis on fitness and there is a reason for that. Every trek you go on requires fitness although different trails means different fitness levels. The trail will include uneven, inclines and rocky terrains and even snow. Hence, being fit is even more important when trekking solo. You not only have to walk long distances but cook your own food, pitch your tent, carry water from sources, dig a cat hole for yourself and much more. If your fitness level will be limited then you won’t be able to complete all these activities after reaching your campsite.

When you are traveling with a group, you only have to walk and reach the campsite. You have people who will prepare the food, pitch the tent and do all other sort of work but you are on your own during your solo trek. You will need to develop great strength and endurance by following a fitness routine. You should work on your fitness atleast 3 months before your trek. Remember the more prepared you feel, the easier it’s going to be.

Be Mentally Prepared

A trekker is incomplete unless he or she is mentally prepared. Definitely your physical strength will be a plus point but understand, you will need your mind to work on some extreme conditions. You will experience rough weather and unfamiliar terrains where you will need your mind to calm down. If you get injured, you really don’t want to panic at this moment rather handle the situation calmly. You will experience moments of heaven and hell whenever you are on trek. Just make sure you always stay positive.   

First Aid Training Is Must

Another tip for trekking solo is to learn the basics of health and first aid. You are on your own and during any injury, you should be aware about the basic treatment. Always pack the first aid which should include basic medicines and first aid materials which you will require. If it’s possible, you can attend a short course which is offered by major hospitals and will need only 2-4 days. Basic Life Saving or FIrst Aid Training are the ones which you can go for.

Also when you will be going on higher altitudes, chances of AMS increases. Hence it becomes important to know about Acute Mountain Sickness i.e AMS. Lack of knowledge can land you in trouble and can be life threatening. Make sure you are educated about basics, types of AMS, precautions, preventions and treatment to take to avoid AMS.   

Get The Right Gears

For trekking solo, not only your shoes and backpack plays a role. Remember you have to carry your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and stove as well. The problem which many people face is blisters, so make sure you have the right fit shoe and thick socks. However, buying these is expensive and if you don’t want to invest initially, consider renting gear. There are many organizations who rent out every major and minor trekking gear from a knife to tents. Unwind Life, Sharepal, Blue Throat Adventures are some of them who lets you rent and might give you home delivery and pickup. However, if you buy trekking gear then it will make your upcoming treks a lot cheaper. 

Pic Credit : Sharepal

You will also need to learn how to use them, practice with the shoes and trekking bag with some weight. Learn how to pack the backpack, how to use the stove or how to pitch the tent. There are numerous videos available and also you can learn from the person who is selling it. Give time to these gears.  

Minimize Your Weight

Trekking solo means you have to carry everything required. Right from the backpack to tent to cooking utensils to first aid. You don’t have anyone else to share that weight. And if packed heavy, then it will be really hard for you. You are carrying all the gears, so you need to shave off every gram where possible. Invest in lightweight gears which are designed for trekking. Carry only required number of clothes, carrying 3 jackets will only overload your bag. The heavier the bag will be, the slower you will walk. It will put more pressure on your back and shoulders, and during any ascend or descend, the chances of injury increases. An overweight backpack can even lead to twisting of your ankle. So make sure you always pack light.

Enhance Your Cooking Skills

You will be the chef on your solo trek. And if you don’t know how to cook then it will be a major disaster. You can practice easy food like pasta, noodles and soups etc. You will find n number of ready to eat food from dal chawal to poha to dahlia and much more. Keep in mind, you are burning so many calories everyday and if you are not maintaining your diet with proper nutritional food then it can lead to sickness. Moreover, once you start cooking the food, you will also get an idea on how much ration you would require on your trek. 

You can buy the stove and practice on it using those utensils which you are planning to take with you. Also you can practice on your terrace or in open space so you can get comfortable.

Another thing, you need to decide your menus for your trek beforehand. So buy them and pack ingredients for each meal in ziplock bags. It will help you to pack the right amount of food for your trek.

Be Open To Trekking With Others

You will notice that even though you are trekking solo, you will meet many people along the way. Many times you will turn out to be good friends. Always greet other trekkers and respect them. You don’t have to hang out with them forever but if they are being nice to you, return the same. You never know when they can be helpful to you during your trek. 

On small treks you will find so many people but on long trek you will find very limited, it’s always a good habit to show them some respect and offer them help if they need. They can be better cooks and you end up getting some delicious meals for tonight, they might be a good singer who can entertain you after a long tiring day. So always be open to these possibilities. 

Learn From Others

Whenever you are trekking with others try and learn new skills. It will help you while you will be on solo trek. Cooking your own food, combating blisters, picking the right gear, pitching the tent are some skills which are necessary. You should know what to pack in your backpacking while making sure your bag is not overweight. I would suggest trekking with someone who has these skills before trekking solo. It will help you gain confidence and knowledge of wilderness safety. Plus you will get a better sense of how & what to pack and how to maintain pace to accomplish your daily targets. 

Now that we have discussed the tips or tricks you can get the most out of your solo trekking and how you can be prepared for the worst situation. One point which I won’t include in the above will be ‘How To Be A Responsible Trekker’. And no it doesn’t only count for the group or only for solo, this is for all the trekkers. Although on organized treks, they take measurements already but while trekking solo, we must be more conscious about these basic things. There are 7 principles of Leave No Trace which we should always follow.

  • Camp on a durable surface and before pitching your tent make sure you look for existing campsites. 
  • Try to minimize campfire impacts. Campfire should only be done if required and that too within boundaries. You can look for established fire rings. 
  • Leave what you find. Don’t leave anything in nature which doesn’t belong there and don’t take anything away as well. Souvenirs are not a sign of your trekking experience rather your memories are.
  • Do not wash clothes in or near water bodies. Make sure if you have to take a bath or wash your clothes or utensils, carry the water atleast 200 meters away from the water source and use biodegradable soaps and detergents. 
  • For human waste, dig a cat hole. Do not take a dump in open. Dig a 6inches deep and 200 meters away from the water bodies, trail or campsite. Cover it with mud and leaves to use it as a mark to prevent other trekkers from stepping on it.
  • Do not litter around and carry as little plastic as possible. Pack all your trash, tissues and toilet paper in a ziplock bag. Check your campsite before leaving for leftover food and trash. Bring back your waste and dispose of it properly.
  • Try not to disturb other trekkers, avoid loud noises or music. Be courteous and greet other visitors. Respect the wildlife as well. Try to be as quiet as possible. 

Follow these basic principles to be a better and responsible trekker and by with the tips and tricks shared above, you will be prepared to do your solo trek. Make sure you plan and prepare properly before you head out. 

HAPPY TREKKING TO ALL 

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