Legend has it that the Himalayas have a way of beckoning those individuals whose fates are special. It is a fact that some people strongly feel the calling of these mountains and everyone who has been there will tell you only one thing, an intensive trekking experience in the Himalayas has the power to fundamentally change your life force for the better.
The Himalayas, however, are a rough terrain and will hurl nature’s tests at you. Every year thousands of people die in these mountains because of landslides, animal attacks, accidents or their own carelessness. You are enthusiastic and that is wonderful but one wrong step can cost you your life!
So, before you go backpacking across the mighty abode of snow, learn these absolutely necessary golden trekking rules. You must follow them if you want to return home safe and sound.
1. You Must Be Fit
Even before planning the trek, get a medical check-up done. Let alone having fun, but the entire trek can become a painful experience if you are suffering from headaches, cough, dysentery, have low body stamina or cannot walk for a long duration. You must be both mentally and physically prepared to take a trek. If you plan on going for a higher altitude trek then there are the medicines available to prevent altitude sickness. Start including walking or taking the steps in your daily routine whenever it is possible. Start eating healthy as well so you can control your body weight. A correct body weight will keep you in charge of it in the mountains and you will have an easier time maintaining your sense of balance.
2. Go At The Right Time
Going at the right time will eliminate the redundant over-the-top risks in your journey. Going at the wrong time, on the other hand, can easily mean the equivalent of willingly entering an angry lion’s den.
Avoid the months from December to February because there it will be freezing cold and lots of snowfall in the Himalayas. You can start from the Poon Hill and then advance to the Annapurna Circuit Trek in the Himalayas of Nepal in the months of March and April.
But definitely avoid the months between May to September even more because that is the rainy season and the Himalayas will become rife with landslides that will block roads and increase the chances of you slipping or worse, misjudging your step and falling down.
3. Have The Right Equipment
After the above conditions are met, time to gather the ideal trekking equipment. Do not for a second think that you are some fruit of nature and it will not harm you no matter what you pack! Your body, however, fit it may be, needs support and supplementary equipment to support it under high levels of physical stress. So, don’t be thrift in purchasing the right equipment. Tell the salesperson accurately about the trek that you will be taking. Ask him/her a lot of questions about the functionalities of the equipment and know how to optimally use them.
4. Watch Your Breath
How you breathe, matters a lot. When you get exhausted you naturally tend to start breathing through your mouth. This leads to your mouth becoming dry after short intervals and you end up consuming more water than your body may absolutely require. You must consciously remember to breathe through your nose at all times to keep your mouth wet and the water level of your body in check. Also, since the amount of water you can consume there is limited to how much of it you are carrying just breathing through your nose will help you preserve a lot of water.
Do not smoke on the trek as well because that can make you feel like you’re running short of breath very soon.
5. Don’t Be Shy. Take Help.
If you’re going solo or even in a group and you see a local passing you by then you can ask for their help. They have been living in the mountains their whole lives and can obviously tell you what’s what better than Google (Besides, there most probably won’t be any network where you are going).
The mountain dogs are unbelievably friendly too and can also guide your way sometimes or lead you to a water source.
6. Respect The Himalayas!
It is a two-way street. You respect these mountains and in return they let you live! Step properly on the Himalayan rock and soil and they will never hurt you. The paths are narrow so if someone is coming towards you then stop where you are and let them pass because what is your hurry anyway.
If you light a fire then remember to put it out as well or you could ignite a forest fire. And don’t be mistaken that because of all the water and ice nothing will burn because Pinewood burns easily even when it is wet and the Himalayas are crowded with Pine trees.
7. Beware of the Wild
Poker lucky is something else but do not test your luck over here by venturing out in the night. The Himalayas are known for being home to the fiercest bears, snakes, snow leopards, etc. These animals are deadly and you most definitely cannot reason with them.
8. Don’t Eat The Wild
The Himalayas are blessed with a bounty of green and are known for harboring many medicinal herbs too but that doesn’t mean you can forget about your own food supplies and mooch food off the Himalayas. You will be able to spot mushrooms and wild berries but for the fear of food poisoning and death, do not eat them! And if you’re uncontrollably intrigued then just collect them and later consult a local before eating them.
9. Wear The Right Clothes
So as not to let the harsh temperatures get the better of you, layer up! You don’t just need to brave the weather but also enjoy it. So, wear at least 5 layers or even notch it up to 6 if you are too prone to the cold. Cotton clothes are comfortable and even though it is difficult, you must part with cotton and wear something synthetic because the synthetic fabric is non-absorbent, wipes the sweat off your skin and spreads it on itself for faster evaporation.
10. Overall, Be Mindful
Stay alert for falling rocks, tree trunks, slippery rocks, steep slopes, loose soil or even construction sand. Take rest too if you feel dizzy or extremely exhausted so that you can return to your senses. Do not doze off just anywhere in the middle of the way and take pictures carefully while watching your step.
If you are not very sure about the right way, and even otherwise keep checking for the ‘X’ marks. If they are with you then that means that you are on the right track. They appear very frequently and if they suddenly go missing then don’t go on further in the hope of finding them again. Know that you have lost them and retrace your steps back to where you last saw them.
The Himalayas speak something different to everyone. You can actually feel their energy touching you, cleansing you and changing you but before they actually share their energy with you, they employ ways to know if you even deserve it. You can think of the Himalayas having a life too. They are a proud range and, they do not like being taken for granted. But don’t worry! If you just abide by these golden rules then soon you will find the Himalayas calling you back to visit them.