Trekking Tips for Beginners
“Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and reconnect to that inner place of peace” – Janice Anderson
This is exactly how I feel when I am close to nature. I feel most alive on the hills!
‘It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.’
Before I start with a beginner’s guide for trekking or trekking tips for beginners, I have to tell all my friends out there ‘If I can do it, you can too.’
ACCEPTANCE AND SURRENDER are the two powerful things I have learnt since the time I have started Hiking/ Trekking and it gives me inner peace.
I immerse myself into walking in woods, the sound of chirping birds, the pastoral fragrance, rocky and misty mountains, lush green trails and magnificent views every time I trek.
Beginner’s guide for hiking or Trekking
New to trekking? Don’t know how to go about it? How to choose your first trek? How much it will cost? What to wear for my trek? Many such questions come to your mind even before start thinking of trekking.
Look for a friend/family member who is into hiking/trekking – Trust your trek buddy. One gets inspired by a friend or a family member who is already into trekking. If you are not confident in joining new trek groups, catch hold of this friend. I started with a friend who is already into trekking and she was more than happy to tag me along. It is also okay to join treks with a trekking company and make new friends.
2. Start with a day trek – Till you gain confidence, do a couple of day treks. When I say a couple of day treks, I mean it. Day treks are fun, easily doable, you gain confidence, you get hooked on trekking and you start feeling the hang of trekking. The experience has to be memorable and exciting enough to plan your next trek. It should not strain you and leave a bad memory.
4. Check the location – Look for a trek closer to home or around 60 – 80 km away so that you do not get tired commuting to the trail. There is ample information available on the internet. Make sure you choose an easy and doable trek that can be finished within 3 to 4 hours. If I am driving to the trek starting point, I make sure I do not travel too far as I have to drive back after the trek. At times, it becomes tiring if the trail is a tricky one.
5. Fitness Level – It is very important to start with an easy trail as a beginner. Any distance of 3-4 km on the plains is different from that on mountains. So, choose wisely. You don’t just get up and go for a trek. You need to prepare well in advance. Any form of cardio like 5 km walking/running/jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing etc every day is a must. Good strength training and weights to have a strong core and good muscle strength is also a must. Watch my Video on the Fitness level required for trekking.
6. Trekking Gear – You don’t have to invest in heavy shoes or attire to start trekking. You can start trekking or hiking with your basic walking shoes and any comfortable clothes you have. You can also watch my Video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
Make sure you wear comfortable clothes for free movement on rocky hills or boulders. A hat, sunglasses, water bottle and a day bag are all you need to start hiking.
7. Weather and Time of Trek – Never start trekking during monsoon or with a night trek. It is always advisable to check weather conditions so that you are well-prepared. If it is sunny carry a hat, sunglasses, sun-screen lotion, enough hydration etc. If it is rainy, carry a raincoat or dress in quick-drying clothes. Also, check the start and the end timing of the trek to know how much time it will take. Starting with a night trek for sunrise is not a good idea. You need to get used to trail walking, walking on the edges, with a pole and so on to do a night trek.
8. Information of the Trail– Familiarise yourself with the trail route. Research the difficulty level, elevation, terrain, location of restrooms, parking area etc. Read the blogs and experiences of other trekkers to get an idea about the trek. Check images online to visualise what you are looking for in trek and are not disappointed or overwhelmed after the trek.
Do not worry about the cost of the trek. You can start it at a minimal cost. I did my first trek with just 100 rupees. Look for options closer to home where you have to pay minimum fees and you are ready to go!
So what are you waiting for? Get Fit, pick up your bag and the mountains are yours.