Monsoon Trek- Why should you go for it?
As much as I love trekking, I love to trek in the monsoon too. I always thought monsoon treks in Shayadris or the Western Ghats are awesome, but treks in Karnataka during monsoon are no less. Several trails around Bangalore can trek as a day hike or 2 days trek.
What not to love in Karnataka Monsoon! Expect lush green trails, misty hills, slippery rocks ( oops challenges ), roaring waterfalls, rapid rivers, chirping birds and flora at its best. A lot of people do not like the grey forecast but it is all worth remembering gorgeous landscapes, colourful wildflowers, various types of wild mushrooms, peacocks and other birds singing and the greenery all over.
Why Monsoon Treks?
People may ask why would one go for a monsoon trek? Well, for me, even if it is a day hike or 2 days trek during the monsoon, it is a different experience altogether. All the treks teach you something or the other, but a monsoon trek makes you stronger and prepare you for any unexpected challenges. There are many reasons why one should go for a monsoon trek.
Lush Greenery– I am a sucker for greenery. During monsoon or after the rains, the new leaves in different green shades with dewdrops on them is something to feel. I love the smell of petrichor. The tall bushes on the trail make the route even more beautiful.
Beautiful Landscapes– The barren mountains after the peak summer look so green, fresh and new with even one shower. The different colours of the terrains make it look like a dream painting.
Overflowing Waterfalls– Who would not love the sound of roaring waterfalls? Even the small streams from tiny hills make your trekking even more memorable. No music can replace the sound of flowing water in the rivers.
Misty Hills– After the scorching summers, the misty hills during monsoon is like heaven on earth. Walking through the bushy trails when you walk into the open misty hilltop, you are left with no choice but to soak yourself up in the mist.
Flora– New buds and blooms with dewdrops in different colours make the green trails even more gorgeous. Usually tiny and in bunches, these colourful seasonal blossoms are worth every step we take towards them.
Challenging Trails- This is my favourite part of a monsoon trek. Walking on muddy trails, slimy and mossy rocks, thorny bushes, downpour and gloomy & dark sky makes the trek even more challenging. This is the testing time for your endurance and resilience. It prepares you for future challenging treks not just physically but also mentally.
Perfect weather for the trek- Although I love sunshine and a bright sunny day when you are trekking, you need a little cold and a cloudy day. During monsoon even if it is not raining, the weather is just so perfect for any kind of trek.
Good photos- The best part of any trek. When there is greenery all over, the photos come out spectacular. Even with your basic phone camera or a simple camera, everything looks marvellous.
How to prepare for a Monsoon Trek?
Trekking during monsoon is thrilling and exciting. One has to make sure that this exciting experience is not ruined for a lifetime. Unlike many other treks, you have to be more careful with monsoon treks. Taking precautions and preparing well in advance should always be the priority. Prepare your checklist according to the number of days you are heading for a trek. Based on my experience, here is the list which is illustrative and not exhaustive. Safety and comfort are the two important things that must be taken care of well.
What to wear for a monsoon trek?
Not much to say here, it is self-explanatory.
Clothes – No cotton clothes. Wear quick-drying and dry-fit clothes for a mess-free trek. Cotton clothes absorb water and become heavy which can lead to an uncomfortable trek. They take more time to dry. If you are going for 2 or more days, carry extra pair of clothes for nights and next days. Keep them safe in polythene bags. Also, if you like wear bright colour clothes as it is easy to locate in dark and gloomy forests.
Rain/Wind–cheater & a warm layer – Yes! These are two different clothing. Rain-cover is a must for any monsoon trek, be it a day trek or more. It can be a jacket or a poncho which protects your bag too. A warm layer/fleece is required to cover yourself up for the chill winds as it tends to get cold on the top and during nights.
Rain Cap – If your rain-cheater doesn’t have a cap, ensure that you carry a water-proof cap. At no given point in time, your head should remain wet which can lead to headaches, common cold and flu.
Socks – Normally, we forget to carry extra pair of socks. Socks get wet very easily and becomes messy and stinks. Always have an extra pair of socks with you.
2. Shoes – Very important to have the right trekking shoes during the monsoon. The mossy and slimy rocks, muddy trails, water streams, unexpected drizzles and moisture in the air is what you can expect from a monsoon trek. Having a good pair of water-resistant shoes is a must. I have a separate post on Trekking Shoes.
3. Trekking Pole – You may think, you do not need a trekking pole, but trust me it comes in very handy. Usually, during the monsoon the soil is wet and loose, rocks are mossy and slimy, you cant use your instincts. It is here when the trekking pole comes into use. There should not be any inhibition in carrying a pole. Everyone carries for a trek.
4. Hydration – We often think, if the weather is not sunny you will not feel thirsty. On the contrary, even if you are not thirsty, you need to keep yourself hydrated. Make sure you carry enough drinking water along with you and stay hydrated at any given point in time.
5. Keep dry snacks and nuts – Do not take any chance and remain energised all the time during the trek. The monsoon trek drains you very fast as any other trek. Keep dry snacks like nuts, energy bars and dates handy to keep you active.
6. Medicines – Needless to say, that you have to carry all the basic medicines with you. To be more specific carry a mosquito repellent to protect you from mosquito-borne diseases. Avoid leaning on trees or lying down on the rocks to safeguard yourself from leeches. As they say, leeches are harmless, still, I don’t like them. You can apply a vaporub on your feet before the trek or rub some salt if they are already on you to detach them.
By keeping these simple things in mind you can enjoy and have the best of your monsoon trek. Soak yourself in the rain, walk slowly, admire nature, live in the moment and Keep Trekking!