Trekking is widely spread and enjoyed by many since it doesn’t require a high physical effort and is highly cathartic. There are, though, a few considerers you wouldn’t want to miss because not acknowledging them can turn your experience into a burden.
Here are the factors that will influence your trekking adventure:
1. Insufficient or inadequate equipment
Depending on the difficulty of the trail, you can need no equipment at all or at least trekking poles. If you choose a path like Kalalau, which is one of the deadliest, you will want to make sure you have lightweight clothes, a sleeping bag, and blanket – needless to say you need poles. A water purifier and a compass are mandatory as well.
Trekking poles are essential because they retrieve part of the weight, protecting the knees.They also provide extra stability and help you with balance, but choose carefully – aluminium sticks are heavy, but have a better resistance, while carbon pools are lighter than the aluminium ones, but they can break much easier.
2. Dehydration and the sun
When you’re at high altitudes, there are a few natural conditions you have to consider. Staying hydrated is not an option, but a requirement. You will lose lots of water through respiration and perspiration, and your body will be exposed to harsh conditions – besides the heat that your body produces, you will be exposed to sunburns, which eventually lead to even more dehydration. On top of that, when you sweat, you don’t only lose water, but salts and minerals are lost, too (you can recover the lost nutrients using sports drinks, instead of using plain water, that will dilute the remaining salts, worsening the situation).
3. Clouds, mist (and the weather itself)
While trekking on the roof of the world, you may find that the weather can be a big issue. Always carry a weather radio with you, or at least make certain you can get informed about any possible storm heading towards you.
Clouds and mist are commonly encountered up high, and you will have to avoid letting them interfere with the quality of your adventure. In other words, prepare carefully and ensure you still see the path, despite all the clouds or the possible mist.
4. Poisonous plants or parasites
The littlest dangers can be the deadliest. Ask villagers you meet en route about the plants and insects you should run away from, and try to avoid any humid area that can be home for different types of worms and parasites, like ticks.
Also, DON’T drink from still water, nor swim in it, for the same reasons.
5. Wild animals
Depending on the route you have chosen, you can meet snakes, bears, cougars, raccoons or wild pigs. Don’t panic and keep yourself lucid. Stay as far from them as possible and try to remain unseen. If the danger is real, announce the closest hut or refuge.
6. A precarious planning
After deciding the trail for trekking, check exactly what you will need to have a successful experience. You are allowed to get lost in details but go just as far as necessary to set the essential aspects. Once everything is set in stone and you’ve arrived on the site, DON’T abandon or change your plan, neither travel off-trail.
7. Trekking on your own
This is the most obvious factor. Trekking itself is dangerous, and medical help and assistance are often required, so going solo is not the safest choice (actually it’s not an option at all if you care for your life).
What other threats have you encountered while trekking? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!