Frequently asked questions for any hiking trail by organizers and trekker alike

The post lists the typical, frequently asked questions asked about any hiking trail to organize it, prepare for it, and understand it better.

Commute to base town, hire help, and find accommodation

  1. Reach the base village, say from Delhi
  2. Multiple trails to the summit.
  3. Cost of via personal car/bike and the cost via public transport
  4. Typical timings of public transport
  5. Book the bus/train tickets
  6. Teahouse trek or not
  7. Availability of gear on rent
  8. Distances between shelters or accommodations enroute
  9. Book accommodation, especially govt rest houses
  10. Cost of suggested accommodation
  11. Contacts of guides and porters
  12. Other local contacts like those of shopkeepers, rest house or guest house staff, bus inquiry, forest office, local police, local hotel in base village, etc.

Trekking and trail conditions

  1. A typical itinerary or two
  2. Child or elderly friendly
  3. Best approach if more than one approach
  4. Hike breakup and trek profile
  5. What to expect on the trail in each month like snow, lack of water, water crossings, whiteouts, wildlife, etc.
  6. Best time to be on a trail
  7. Typical night temperature in each season
  8. Packing depending on weather
  9. Sections that may need specific gear like crampons, shoes with ankle support, ropes, ice axe, etc.
  10. Distance and altitude difference between camping grounds and other waypoints
  11. Water availability
  12. Food availability
  13. Tricky portions and whatโ€™s required to negotiate
  14. Need a guide or not
  15. GPS logs
  16. Rating of trails on SAC scale

Safety considerations

  1. Time and milestone cutoffs on handy cards
  2. Local police contact
  3. Local shops
  4. Permanent, on-trail landmarks
  5. Water points on the trail
  6. Previously reported wildlife issues and season

Interesting facts and stories about the trek

  1. Geographic region and mountain range of the trail and summit
  2. Peaks and valleys visible from the summit and the trail
  3. USP and takeaway of the trek
  4. Any facts of historic, cultural, or political importance about the base village, the region or the summit
  5. Any mythological importance of the summit or the trail

Post-trek events

  1. Accommodation at the base village
  2. Public transport to return and where to book
  3. Timings of transport from nearest town and connecting conveyances
  4. Sync time to reach Delhi with office and metro timings
  5. Approximate breakdown of all involved costs

Leave your contact in comments if you want to based your frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this template. If you are a trekkers who finds it difficult to write a travelogue of your adventures, follow this structure.

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Set waypoints for these places of interests and facilities when recording a GPS trail

To make your GPS trails more useful for others, consider capturing the following information as waypoints. (Let me know in the comments if you’d like to know how to record GPS trails.)

Food, water, and shelter enroute

  • Drinking water sources
  • Water source that must be avoided for drinking
  • Temporary shelter, say from rain or snow
  • Camping spots and human settlements
  • Dhabas that offer food and dhabas offering bed too.

Places of interest on a trail

  • Trail to choose at bifurcations
  • Very sunny parts of a trail (need sun protection)
  • Unsafe ledges or cornices
  • Leech prone portions (need shoes and salt)
  • Sections with Bicchu booti (need full length trek gear for protection of lower legs)
  • Spots where wildlife is commonly spotted
  • Sections with tricky crossings (like slippery, mossy boulders during rainy season; may need guided help)
  • Secluded ponds on a stream where one can bath(!)
  • Flash flood prone areas adjacent to streams (need to be watchful during rains and to be passed quickly)
  • Very steep sections (need footwear with good grip and watch out during rains)
  • Sections with debris and moraine (need ankle support)

Consider sharing your trails for everyone’s benefit on wikiloc and OSM. Yours truly can be found at www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/user.do?id=1691516. If you share trekking trails on a public platform, leave a link in the comments section.

Optimizing your social media videos for maximum effectiveness

Who doesn’t love to share their story with the world?! Videos are an amazing medium as they have a very high bandwidth to convey our stories in a matter of seconds or minutes.

We travelers also use videos for sharing our experiences with the world, help our friends and readers do their share of armchair travel, for online reputation management, as an entry point to business conversion funnel, hone our skills at video production, to boost our social media presence, and so on.

There are those travels that I’ve conceptualized or managed completely based on the videos posted online. Then there are those few videos that have been a disappointment because those do not serve any purpose.

Self-deprecating disclaimer: It is subjective to speak of serving a purpose because even such videos clearly serve the purpose of making the creator happy. Being happy is an end in itself, because who am I to judge what rocks your boat ๐Ÿ™‚ However, if you are the one who is looking at up-leveling the usefulness of your videos by conveying more in less, then this blog post is for you. I’m sharing my personal opinion on what makes a video useful to me. I shall try to be objective and give tangible points that you can understand without much wonderment.

When shooting/recording

  • Use both, the audio and the video channels in a video. When shooting, see if you can capture the speed of the wind at the top of a mountain to subtly convey how windy it was, the chirping of birds at the dawn to indicate how musical the mornings are, the raging sound of water to indicate how gushing the flow is, or record your own voice to convey more context and info than what’s recorded on video.
  • What is the neighboring area and its natural beauty? What does the terrain look like? What is the degree of climb? What are the nearby water sources if any? Where is the tree line? If it is rocky, then how difficult is it to walk on it?
  • What is the complete view of the object and not just a myopic, zoomed-in view of the activity you may be doing there. For example, if it is waterfall then move the camera a little to indicate the height of it, the force of falling water to indicate if one can bath under it, the outflow from the basin to indicate how fast the water is, the approach to the waterfall to indicate if it is risky or not to walk, speak out how cold the water is, and so on.
  • What is the roads’ tarring quality? What is the width of the road? What is on the sides of the road? How dense is the road because it’ll get darker faster in the evening than open roads. Very dense forests near the roadside means possibility of having wildlife at night on the road. All these parameters indicate the quality of drive and safety.

When uploading

  • Spend a minute to write a good title. All media hosting platforms allow you to update to a more meaningful name than the file name. Make sure to use a few keywords like place name, event name, what you are showcasing in the video, etc. in the title.
  • Do a dry run before uploading. Make sure the video is in the desired shape. Re-uploading video will change the URL so use this option only in dire straits.
  • Deleting older videos is a big NO. It will also change the URL and break the backlinks or embeds for your users.

When sharing

  • When sharing on a social media channel, be cognizant of the basic SEO like description, tagging, location, date, etc.

 


Work in progress — more tips to be added soon!

Trek calendar for a travel or an activity group

I have created a shared calendar to update my travel/trek schedules (and sometimes those of my friends). For now, the calendar is lacking data entry big time ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sharing this more as a POC (proof of concept); something similar can be (and should be!) done for activity groups.

If there is such a need for your group, create one. If you need help, leave a comment or email me at blackfog at Gmail. For self-help, see Create and share a group calendar and Organize events with a group help articles.