Last month, I went for my very first high-altitude trek. Even though I have been a part of some trek like expeditions during my school days, I figured that trailing the high-altitude treks is no cakewalk. Taking a trek to some high-altitude trail requires some serious grit, determination and readiness—of both mind and body. And knowing that I won’t be able to take bath at least for 7 days freaked me out a little- but then my prepared my mind for the challenge.
So if you’re planning to embark into this exciting and challenging world, then make sure you’re adequately prepared! So, here are some travel tips that are sure to help you before, during and after the trek:
One needs to prepare his/her body for a high-altitude trek. At least a month before, make sure you jog four kilometers for half an hour daily. This will help improve your stamina once you are on the move.
Taking the right pair of trekking shoes on trek are an absolute essential for a high-altitude trek. The QUECHUA FORCLAZ 600 MEN’S HIGH WATERPROOF HIKING SHOES or MEN’S FORCLAZ 500 MOUNTAIN HIKING WATERPROOF SHOES are the perfect choice—these shoes are capable of protecting your ankles, and are quite light in weight and feel weightless when you walk over any kind of terrain—be it hills, water or snow. These sturdy shoes are available at all Decathlon stores across the country.
Make sure to keep a trekking poles. These poles are helpful when trailing through tough rough terrain, such as snow, stones and streams in high altitudes. One needs to also carry gaiters and micro-spikes that are quite useful when navigating through the snow.
It is advisable to watch videos on How to pitch a tent. Most of the trek instructors usually take the participants through the process, but it is wise to learn 1 or 2 things beforehand to know what you are up to.
Pack only important and necessary things in your rucksack, as it will be you who will most likely bear the weight. Carry diary and pen so that you can record your observations at the end of each day.
Make sure you have Diamox tablet in your first aid box, and take it once in a day. The intake of Diamox tablet helps in fighting altitude sickness. Also, drink lots of water- at least 4 to 6 liters of water when trekking to high altitude-else you run the risk of an upset stomach. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times during the trek, which you can sip at regular intervals.
Eat complete meal, no matter how you feel. You will need all the energy to get yourself to the destination. Also, keep handful of dry fruits, chocolates and high-energy bars in your backpack with you at all times. This is helpful in giving you instant energy whenever you need it.
When going for a trek, especially in winters- wear enough layers; thermals, gloves, warmers, jackets, mufflers and sweaters. Make sure you are protected from chill and cold winds. Also, a cap, sunglasses and sunscreen are vital things o carry when trekking in summer. A light raincoat is also recommended as the on the mountains is unpredictable and keeps alternating. Just keep yourself prepared for every weather you think can encounter on your way.
While going uphill, don’t get daunted by the steep climb in front of you. Instead, take small, slow steps while bending your body forward and following a rhythmic breathing routine. The best way to go uphill easily is to walk zig-zag. If you feel out of breath, just pause for a while till your breathing becomes normal again, sip some water or pop some dry fruits, and then restart.
If you find yourself feeling tired or slowing down, don’t feel pressured to catch up with the rest of your group. Remember to go at your own pace—you are not competing with your fellow trekkers. Mental strength is often more important than physical ability during a trek. An optimistic, positive and can-do attitude goes a long way in successfully completing a trek.
Remember, you are far away from all of civilization—often with no roads, vehicles, houses or even people around you! So most importantly, notice the surreal sights and sounds of nature all around you—the untouched green carpeted meadows and orchards filled with trees and flowers, the gentle rustle of waterfalls and the river, the soothing chirping of birds…A starlit sky at night is rare to spot if you live in a big city, and it’s not every day that you get a chance to witness this breathtaking beauty. Needless to say, take out time to click lots of pictures!
Take proper rest! Have a thorough wash, and soak your feet in hot water and salt. Pamper yourself, get a pedicure and a massage! If you have blisters on your feet, apply some anti-fungal gel or powder. Make sure to wash your trekking shoes with a toothbrush and detergent if they are dirty. You can also wash and air your rucksack if required.