I always have a liking for trekking, may be for the reason that my father loved trekking and always took me with him on every occasion when he went for trekking even when I was a small kid.
I being a visually impaired did create some hassle to the person escorting me and it was a hassle for me as well. Nevertheless, over the years, I saw to it that as a person I took care of myself so that I grew to be a less hindrance to others. As a person, I loved challenges whilst trekking and owing to my partial vision, my desire to see mountains closely made me always try that extra mile though I used to be tired and exhausted.
Yes, friends you have guessed it right; I am here to relate to you about how to take trekking as a hobby. The doe’s, the don’ts, and the prudence one should take to be a successful trekker are many.
There are many places where one can go for trekking like the regions of Himalayas as also the routes in the Western Ghats that is the Sahyadris and the Nilgeries in the down south and many more. A visually challenged can take to trekking as a hobby and my small piece will be of help to all lovers of outdoor life; be it a Visually Challenged who wants to be a trekker, a climber, or simply a nature lover.
The mountains with their rugged topography, rockey hills and pinnacles, huge lakes, extensive forests regions and historic hill forts, are virtual paradise for trekking and climbing.
In addition, go camping. So enjoy the beauty of the mountains and hills, sunshine, snow and rains, lakes and rivers, greenery etc.
Compared with our usual life, trekking is a different cup of tea. In trekking lot of uncertainties, have to be faced with audacity and guts.
To face all these uncertain things some important tips for a trekker on these bold yet challenging terrains are described below:
A visually challenged person should ensure that he/she is carrying his/her cane when he/she is on a trek and a spare elastic band, which is used for the cane in case the cane breaks. As on most occasions there is a lot of traveling involved to reach the base camp of the trek or vice versa.
In addition, the other important thing the visually challenged person should remember is to carry eye drops or medicines with him/her if indispensable in addition to the other medicines one carries in ones medical kit.
PREPARATION & SAFETY MEASURES
A total medical health check before starting a trek is very necessary and one should strictly adhere to doctor’s advice. Before the trek, regular exercise of the body and acclimatization should be strictly observed. Patients suffering from asthma and
Diabetics should restrict their climbing roughly up to a height of 5000 meters above sea level. In case of any severe illness, immediate arrangements are made to bring the patient to lower areas and to the hospital if required. The body should also be sheltered from changing weathers.
Personal Medical Kit -
One should have ones own personal medical kit containing all the medicines one frequently requires and medicines that one might need whilst one is trekking; like medicines for injury, blisters, stomachache, headache, body ache, dehydration, dysentery, cough or soar throat, sprain, muscle pain, vomiting, allergy etc. One should carry the medicines only after consulting your doctor as per your requirements. Also, carry Odomos for mosquitoes and insects.
Rucksack or a sag bag is the bag one would carry for the trek to carry ones belongings. It should be arranged in such a way that all the gear is easily accessible. For e.g. water bottle can be kept in the side pocket so that it is easily available when one wants to drink water. It will contain approximately 10 to 12 kg personal belongings, which will be carried by you or your porter on the back. It is advisable to protect the inside of the kit bag with a plastic bag as a precautionary measure to protect the gear from getting wet due to rain.
Use good sports shoes or hunter shoes. Generally, hunter shoes are preferred but some trekkers prefer to use good sports shoes, as they are more comfortable. It depends on every individual what one prefers and after a few treks, having got the hang of it one decides what one should prefer.
A frontal lamp or an electric torch should always be carried. It is advisable for a partially sighted trekker to carry a good frontal torch with powerful light so that he can manage to see things with his/her partial vision at night.
A good sleeping bag with inner is necessary. For smaller treks, one can also carry a shawl or a blanket with a foam mattress.
A walking stick-
As it is, a blind person needs an escort while trekking. He/she also should always prefer to carry a walking stick on a trek as it provides good support while trekking especially when one is walking through rugged mountains.
Apart from these few major items one should also carry a lot of other necessary equipments that are quiet important for a trekker to carry with him or her
Equipment Checklist -
Cap, Water bottle, Lunch box, Mug, Plate, Spoon, Toothbrush /Paste, Chappals, Lighter, Candles, Gas Stove, Soap, Rainwear, Pullover, Woolen headgear, Gloves, Sunglasses, Sun cream etc.
Keep all the equipment and foodstuff in order. You have to prepare a list of clothes and small personal articles you will need during the trek.
Information of the Region-
One should collect maximum information about the region in which one is trekking. This information can be of great help, especially when things go wrong or accidents occur
Campsite should be preferably near the source of drinking water as a lot of trouble is saved in fetching water.
Do not camp under trees as the trees throw out carbon dioxide during the nights and in the rainy season a tree may be struck by the lightning.
Pitch the tent on an inclined surface and dig a small trench around to keep the water away.
After finishing cooking or washing, keep the surroundings clean.
Have respect for local traditions, customs, values, and sentiments. Moreover, one should protect local culture and maintain local pride.
Respect privacy while taking photographs as it might annoy the villagers.
Respect holy places and the sentiments of the locals as you may accidentally hurt their feelings.
Refrain from giving money to children as it encourages begging. It leads to them to follow you throughout the trek, which may become irritating.
Respecting the local etiquettes earns you respect in turn.
As a nature lover, protect the environment as much as you can. Leave the campsite cleaner than you found it.
Limiting deforestation will help. Try to avoid making open fires. Plants may be left to flourish in their natural environment.
Try to burn dry papers, packets and other waste material in a safe place. Try to avoid unnecessary damage to the environment. Keep local sources of water clean. Avoid using pollutants like detergents or soaps.
Use of alcohol or drugs should be strictly avoided. It could lead to a fatal accident or a loss of life.
Careless attitude also could lead to a fatal accident or a loss of life.
Lastly, a trekker with some cautiousness can make trekking an interesting hobby. If he/she follows the doe’s and the don’ts properly, this adventurous yet demanding hobby can be enjoyed to its fullest.
I wish you happy trekking.