The Basic Hiking and Camping Skills in Himalayas
Going hiking in the Himalayas is one of the best ways, to experience the thin air and rediscover nature. But trekking the forest or going off the beaten track is not for the faint hearted. If you are new to this, it’s best to be guided by the pros. Just in case, here are a few answers to the queries you might be questioning yourself before a full day hike or a multi-day trek in Himalayas.
Get in shape.
Go green over the ridge, trekking Himalayas is no joke. Most of the time it does take its toll and your body has to be prepared for it. Get regular exercise before hand. Work the treadmill and even practice walking with a backpack on. Getting your body in the right condition is the one of the most important skill. In Himalayas most of the time one might long for sufficient oxygen to his/her lungs unless he is physically and mentally prepared for it. Here nature offers uneven and narrow village trails or sometime a never ending steep ascent. There is no point knowing what to do in your destination if you don’t get there due to exhaustion. Always get well aclmitized before trying anything above 3500 mts. in Himalayas!
Choosing your campsite.
Incase of a multi-day trek one of the most important task at the end of the walk is of choosing a campsite. A campsite in the mountains should be preferably chosen with great care. A place with least winds, not under a glacier incase of high altitude trekking. Mostly grassy meadows are best along with even surfaces with minimum gravel. The grounds of the tents should drains well when it rains. This will give you a nice sturdy ground to sleep or walk around on. Feel free to test the place to. Watch out for nearby danger such as rock piles or tree debris as well as possible flash flood areas. If you're not up for that entire checklist, you can always find an established campsite instead. But where's the adventure in that?
Especially in the Trans-Himalayan regions of Himacahl Pradesh, close to the border of Tibet, do not worry about mosquito or bugs, you will not find them. Clothing is your first defense against the sunburns in the Himalayas. Wear comfortable long sleeves and a hat in light colors. Always wear good sunglasses and a Keep a handy insect repellant lotion and use it sparingly. Try not to loiter around wet grassy meadows where mosquitoes tend to breed. On the campsite, you can always use Citronella candles to make it your safe haven.
When it comes to crossing bodies of water, whether it’s a small stream, a river, or a recent rainstorm flooding, always take extra precaution. The first thing to do is to find another way around them, especially if they look too dangerous. Wear sandals with tight tied straps as much possible while crossing river. If you don’t have them, remove your socks and the boots will do. Never cross barefoot. There's more chance of slipping on the rocks this way. You should be okay with a hiking stick when crossing ankle deep waters. When it comes to melted snow, cross in the morning when the waters had the chance to freeze again the night before.
Watch out for bridges or stones covered with algae, they can be quite slippery and dangerous. Also take time to unbuckle your waist belt to give you enough time to remove your backpack at the wrong moment. When crossing with a rope across a river, don’t tie yourself to it, the current may hold you down. Instead just hold on to them tightly.
Use your hiking stick wisely.
Other than to help you on the road, there is more to having a hiking stick handy. As mentioned before, you can use hiking sticks to help you cross rivers and bodies of water. Also, hiking sticks help increase momentum on uphill climbs and can be pretty useful for when you are treading along large boulders. As a defense when you are walking, use your hiking stick to beat a few nearby bushes and check for snakes. This can also be helpful when scaring off aggressive dogs that come along your way.