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
- Reach the base village, say from Delhi
- Multiple trails to the summit.
- Cost of via personal car/bike and the cost via public transport
- Typical timings of public transport
- Book the bus/train tickets
- Teahouse trek or not
- Availability of gear on rent
- Distances between shelters or accommodations enroute
- Book accommodation, especially govt rest houses
- Cost of suggested accommodation
- Contacts of guides and porters
- 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
- A typical itinerary or two
- Child or elderly friendly
- Best approach if more than one approach
- Hike breakup and trek profile
- What to expect on the trail in each month like snow, lack of water, water crossings, whiteouts, wildlife, etc.
- Best time to be on a trail
- Typical night temperature in each season
- Packing depending on weather
- Sections that may need specific gear like crampons, shoes with ankle support, ropes, ice axe, etc.
- Distance and altitude difference between camping grounds and other waypoints
- Water availability
- Food availability
- Tricky portions and what’s required to negotiate
- Need a guide or not
- GPS logs
- Rating of trails on SAC scale
- Time and milestone cutoffs on handy cards
- Local police contact
- Local shops
- Permanent, on-trail landmarks
- Water points on the trail
- Previously reported wildlife issues and season
Interesting facts and stories about the trek
- Geographic region and mountain range of the trail and summit
- Peaks and valleys visible from the summit and the trail
- USP and takeaway of the trek
- Any facts of historic, cultural, or political importance about the base village, the region or the summit
- Any mythological importance of the summit or the trail
- Accommodation at the base village
- Public transport to return and where to book
- Timings of transport from nearest town and connecting conveyances
- Sync time to reach Delhi with office and metro timings
- 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.
“There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.” ~ Ernest Hemingway
People who are not exposed to hiking and outdoors may have healthy wonderment, unjustified fears, malformed opinions, and outright crazy misconceptions about the sport.
To us hikers these comments seem ridiculous or have nuisance value, but the need of the hour is to educate people around us and to spread the awareness that the following are just misplaced and malformed.
Photo via sboneham is licensed under CC BY
- Why trouble yourselves with so much exertion?
- It takes much resources, time, and money.
- What if you are attacked by a wild animal?
- All the wild animals are out there to kill humans at first sight.
- What if you are caught in a storm or a cloudburst?
- How will you live without food for days?i
- Trekking is for ‘them’ — the crazy ones who have no one to look after and have no loved ones to care about.
- Even if you climb a hill, what will come of it?
- If you don’t summit, it was a waste of time and resource!
- Let’s go just like that, without preparation because I live in the hills so I must always be able to scale.
- There are landslides in the hills! Like all the time.
- Hiking is dangerous because of the horror stories we’ve read in the mass media.
- Stop the silly business of going hiking because married people look after their families instead of wandering off on their own.
- It is a boy’s sport!
- Why torture yourself, now that you earn enough!
- It is a remote place. What if the tribals catch you?!
Leave in comments section what you’ve heard as arguments against being out there with nature.
For the self-organized trekkers out there without the support of porter out there, it is an interesting exercise to pack food. While food is not the heaviest item in our backpack, it is one of the most flexible category when it comes to optimizing it. If you do not want to carry a stove and can make do with dry food, then read on. I shall continue to update this post with new ideas/discoveries. Keep coming back 🙂
I do not hire a cook. On a few treks, I was fortunate to avail the services of cooks of other groups by paying a small amount but otherwise I subsist on dry rations. I speak the following from my limited personal experiences; it may not suit your needs. Do share in the comments below as to what rocks your boat. If you find the post useful, it’ll be nice to know so in the comments.
- Dry fruits: As if, you didn’t know 🙂 In my opinion, this is a costlier option. There are cheaper and equally good options! Read on.
- Chocolates: In my opinion, chocolates are costlier per unit weight or calories provided. Take protein bars, if you must.
- Dates, biscuits, and Chikkis: Offers fantastic energy to weight ratio, much cheap than other options, and have some decent nutritional value too. This is my preferred food on a trek. Did you ever notice that Parle-G has almost the same energy density as other fancy biscuits?
- Noodles: Filling, energising, tasty food that can be eaten cooked or raw, if need be. I like Wai-Wai noodle raw better than raw Maggi.
- Cereal and milk powder: I am not big on cereal but to each their own. These two items can be eaten raw (separately!), if you cannot light a fire.
- Fresh fruits: If weight permits, these are excellent too. Pick these from the base village or orchards on the trail, if any. Fruits are refreshing, quench thirst, are appropriately filling, and provide roughage.
- Specific trail food: Rich food created specifically for hikers is available commercially and is a great option if you are willing to shell out some money for it.
- Potatoes: You can find potatoes anywhere in the hills. Buy some from the village folks enroute. Mind you, these will add good weight to your backpack but are worth it. You can either boil these or roast these in campfire. To avoid charring of a thick outer surface, wrap in tin foil.
- Glucose and ORS: Technically not a food as it is not filling. But a mix of Glucose and electrolyte salts are quite refreshing and energizing, as these make up for all the sweating. You can substitute this with the likes of Gatorade.
- Peanut butter: Quite a dense food calorie-wise that does not occupy much space in the bag. Recently, I saw Sundrop’s small sachets worth Rs. 15 in a supermarket. I find this option slightly above average in cost per unit calorie provided. Some folks may not like the taste as well.
- Boiled eggs: From a base village, if possible, you can get a few boiled eggs for variety. Though be strongly advised that these weigh much and can drain you fast. The only USP is protein and variety.
- Maggi Masala: Technically not a food, but a Rs. 3 sachet of Maggi cooking masala can add much taste to your boiled food on a trek. Sometimes, I carry a custom mix of spices in a very small bottle in my backpack!
- Homemade snacks: Provides good variety and a nice reminder of the warmth of our loved ones back home. Though this option requires preparation in advance and may add weight, volume, or both to your luggage. Heck, I once carried homemade laddoos and matthi on a trek!
A request here is to carry the rubbish you generated back with you. Food items tend to generate a lot more rubbish than other items carried on a trek.
While we are at it, here’s a shameless plug of an oft-wondered, barely-asked, and rarely-followed tips on pooping in the hills. Here’s a “hilarious and practical thread” on Indiamike.com about the topic. While I recommend reading the entire thread for its fun and educational value, but for those in a rush, directly jump to reply #8, #23, #24, and #28 for some fantastic tips.