1) Leaving Words
You always should leave word with somebody about where you are going and when you will be back, especially if you are going out alone. The route details you leave may be precise or vague-but you must leave some indications of your plans with a responsible person. If you are leaving a car anywhere, you should tell someone when you will be back for it. This is not a problem in places where you must register a trail permit, but elsewhere a parked car could cause concern or even lead to an unnecessary rescue attempt if it’s there for many days. Unfortunately, leaving a note on your car is an invitation to thieves.
Whenever you have said you will let someone know you are safe, you must do so. Rescue teams have spent too many hours searching for hikers who were back home or relaxing in a café because someone expecting word did not receive it.
2) The Art Of Walking
While the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other seems to require no instruction or comment, there are, in fact, good and bad ways to walk, and good and bad walkers. Good walkers can walk effortlessly all day, while bad ones may be exhausted after a few hours. To make walking seem effortless, walk slowly and steadily, finding a rhythm that lets you glide along and pace you can keep up for hours. Without a comfortable rhythm, every step seems tiring, which is one reason that crossing boulder fields, brush-choked forest, and other broken terrain is so exhausting. Inexperienced walkers often pass exhausted novices long before a day’s walk is complete. The ability to maintain a steady pace hour after hour has to be developed. If you need a rest, take one; otherwise you will wear yourself out. Each person has his own pace. The best way to deal with this is not to walk as a large group but to establish pairs or small groups of walkers with similar abilities, so people can proceed at their own pace, meeting up at rest stops and in a camp. If a large group must stay together, perhaps because of bad weather or difficult route finding, let the slowest member set the pace, perhaps leading at least some of the time. It is neither fair nor safe to let the slowest member fall far behind the group, and if this happens to you, you should object. The ability to walk economically. Using the least energy comes only with experience. If a rhythm doesn’t develop naturally, it may help to try to create one in your head! I sometimes do this on leg climbs if the right pace is hard to find and I’m constantly stopping to catch my breath. I often chant rhythmically any words that come to mind. Once in a while all the aspects of walking come together, and then I have an hour or a day when I simply glide along, seemingly expending no energy. When this happens, distance melts under my feet, and I feel I could stride on forever. I can’t force such moments, and I don’t know where they come from, but the more I walk, the more often they happen. Not surprisingly, they occur most often on really long treks. On such days, I’ll walk for five hours and more without a break, yet.
Backpacking requires fitness. You need aerobic, or cardiovascular, fitness to walk and climb all day without having heart pound and your lungs gasp for air. Without muscular fitness, particularly of the legs, you will be stiff and aching all over on the second day out. Also, if you set out unfit, you are much more susceptible to strains and muscle tears.
Getting fit takes time. We know people who claim they will get fit over the first few days of an annual backpacking trip. They usually suffer for most of the walk; yet with a little preparation, they could enjoy every day.
The best way to train for carrying heavy loads over rough terrain is to carry heavy loads over rough terrain-what sports trainers call specific training. Although this isn’t always practical, you’d be surprised what you can do if you really want to, even if you live and work in city.
At the very least, spend a few weekends getting used to walking with a load before setting off on a longer trip. Walk as much as you can during the week- including up and down stairs. Brisk strolls or runs in the evening help too, especially if there are hills. In fact, trail running in hilly country is probably the best way to improve both your aerobic fitness and your leg power in a short time.
If you want to do so, however, The Outdoor Athlete, by steve Ilg, is worth reading. The book includes programs for “mountaineering and advanced backpacking” and “recreational hiking and backpacking.”
How you pack gear depends on the sort of hiking, you’re doing, which items you’re likely to need during the day, and the type of pack bag you have. For hiking in level ground on well maintained trails, heavy, low-bulk items should be packed high and near to your back to keep the load close to your center of gravity and enable you to maintain an upright stance. This is how I pack all the time, regardless of the terrain. In theory, however, for any activity where balance is important, such as scrambling, bushwhacking, cross-country hiking on steep, rough ground, or skiing, the heavy, low-bulk items should be packed lower for better stability, though still as close to your back as possible. Women tend to have a lower center of gravity than men and may find packing like this leads to a more comfortable carry for trail hiking too. Whatever your packing method, it’s important that the load is balanced so the pack doesn’t pull to one side. The items you’ll need during the day should be accessible, and it helps to know where everything is.
5) Dealing with Animals
Encountering animals in the wilderness, even potentially hazardous ones, is not in itself a cause for alarm, through some walkers act as if it were. Observing wildlife at close quarters is one of the joys and privileges of wilderness wandering, something to be wished for and remembered long afterward.
You are the intruder in the animal’s world, so don’t approach closely or disturb them, for their sake and for your safety. When you do come across animals unexpected and at close quarters, move away slowly and quietly and cause as little disturbance as possible. With most animals you need fear attack only if you startle a mother with young, and I even then, as long as you back off quickly, the chances are good that nothing will happen.
Some animals pose more of threat and need special attention, however (insects, of course, are also animals, and are the ones most likely to be a threat—to your sanity if not your physical health.
6) The Most Important Thing You Carry
The most important thing you will take on trek is neither a back pack neither the boots but a POSITIVE ATTITUDE. You must be flexible and willing to change your plans as we know that nature is unpredictable so are the trekking condition. Be prepared to change your plans. Also be prepared to modify your trip to accommodate the goals and the abilities of the people you are trekking with. After all, overcoming of obstacles, and embracing the challenge and responding to ever-changing conditions are what make trekking rewarding. No matter what if circumstances present themselves, you can always have a good time if you set your mind to it, there are no bad condition, just bad attitudes, so relinquish your control, put away your pride, burry your competitive edge, and remember this important advice; if you can at yourself, you will always have successful trekking trip.