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10 Biggest Mistakes First-Time Trekkers Make

10 Biggest Mistakes First-Time Trekkers Make
  • 22-Sep-2021
  • 0

We all begin somewhere, begin as a beginner, a novice learner; new gears and equipment demand we catch up. In broad-spectrum, trekking in the Himalayas is not like a cakewalk, and that too for novice trekkers.

We observed that people commit the same beginner mistakes as almost every other hiker obligates. Of course, it is impartial that trekkers make common faults because it is their first time, and they may not know how things work. But in great enthusiasm, most of them were willing to stew it.

Aggrandizement does not necessarily harm you, but some can prove expensive for you. These days, trekking has become mainstream. Everyone wants to go to the top of the hill/mountain, take stunning pictures, and post on different social media platforms.

Trekking in the Nepalese Himalayas is not something you can do with a day or two-day planning. Instead, it takes at least a month to six month's preparation depending upon where you would like to trek if you are a rookie trekker.

 Additionally, one needs immense physical and mental strength apart from dedication, firm determination, and a dream. So, in this blog, I have highlighted some common mistakes that beginner hikers usually make during their walk.  

1. Carrying too much weight

The most common mistake novice hikers make to carry too much weight when they begin their journey. It does not mean that the light packs are superior to hiking and camping, but you must learn how to pack appropriately for a particular hike/trek. Trekkers need to know how to carry a bag safely.

In novice hikes, too much weight is extra stress and pressure on your joints, and that can lead to injury. Also, every additional weight in your pack makes your transition into thru-hiking much harder. Thus, begin as a minimalist by carrying the absolute essentials.

2. Planning too ambitious hikes

Hiking, especially multiple-day hiking is not like walking on the beach or plane lands; it might include walking in the rough terrains and high Himalayan foothills or long ridges. Thus, it's best to take it slow when you're just starting.

It is pretty easy to underestimate how challenging, and downright exhausting traversing steep terrain or a day-long hike can be. It might put you in a dangerous situation; overextending yourself takes away all the fun.

It is better to start the hikes, which are about 2-3 miles round trip and have minimal elevation gain initially. Then, take extra time, maintain your own pace, gain a bit more miles and climb even higher before your actual trip. Begin this at least a month before your real hike.

Another, before embarking on the high elevated journeys, it is exceptional to hike in the lower elevation based on short hikes in the foothills and terrains. In Nepal, Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, Everest View Trek, Dhampus Sarangkot trek, and several day hikes around Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys are some of the most popular beginners' hikes where you can begin your adventure.

3. Hiking too far or too fast too soon

Beginning a long trip with an ambitious itinerary puts the hikers at a higher risk. The first-time hikers want to cover several miles in the itinerary, assuming they can afford it, as others complete the same itinerary quickly, leading to illness (Altitude sickness) and fatigue. That results in quitting the rest of the trip and going back to the city soon.

While going for the long hikes, use those first few weeks to get in trail shape, become skilled with your camp errands, and learn how to fuel your increased energy disbursement appropriately. When you start feeling contented and experienced with backpacking, you can up your miles.

Similarly, try not to hike too quickly. The slow and steady hikers stereotypically gain more miles during the day than those who race down the trail. Likewise, if you want to pick up the pace, focus on hiking quickly on flat and uphill sections. Quickening downhill puts an enormous amount of stress on your knees.

4. Overestimating gear

Gears and equipment are crucial for hiking, trekking, mountaineering, etc. It will be great to do plenty of research on equipment and gears and invest in quality gear, but make sure you arrange it after researching terrain and skills and preparing mentally and physically for your hike.

An excellent backpack in the world will not matter if you are not physically able to walk up to the mountains and read maps. In addition, appropriate use of a compass when you feel lost in the mountains, planning the right food items, resupply points (teahouses/guest house/camping site) is a must. Finally, if you're not psychologically prepared to hike through the rain/snow or go days without a shower, then the backpack doesn't matter.

Copious hikers spend several hours and days sitting behind a computer and exploring the gear reviews. Instead, I recommend that you reward yourself with online shopping assessments after taking a hike, learning navigation, and looking at maps and guidebooks for your upcoming treks. And while selecting the gears and equipment, do not just run through the brand's description. Instead, be sure to look at feedback and reviews of experienced hikers.

5. Not checking the weather before a hike

If the weather and climatic conditions do not favor you, it might lead you to danger and ruin the entire hike. So, always check the weather forecast for the area you will be hiking trekking. Knowing the weather conditions also helps you plan a successful trip, including when to hit the trail and what gear to bring.

While walking in the Himalayas, significantly during winter trekking can be affected by chilly cold and freezing temperatures because the snow's heaps may temporarily hide the crevasses, and trekkers may be stuck in them while walking.

6. Trekking on regular shoes

Trekking in the high Himalayan foothills, rugged lands, and rocky ridges, including the Himalayan lands of Nepal, trekkers seem to walk with their regular jogging or running shoes. That is possible but is not comfortable.

You may need to walk following an uneven trail doing frequent ups and downs on the rough and rugged terrains. As much as running shoes are usable during trekking, their ole is not thick enough to make your feet comfortable. Spend in good trekking shoes, which must have wide soles, a good grip, and keep your feet as comfortable as possible. And most importantly, it would be perfect if they were waterproof and suitable for all seasons.

7. Trying to alternate the trek

Some novice trekkers want to explore off-the-beaten tracks on their first trip. Some try to change the way because the other trekkers are also changing or want to walk on a less crowded trail. One crucial note rookie trekkers need to know is that there can be many trekking routes, excluding standard trek routes for the same destination.

It is ideal for an alternative route if the primary way gets blocked due to a landslide, flood, avalanche, or another disaster.

Likewise, an alternative route is not always secure as those tracks usually do not have appropriate touristic infrastructures. Moreover, human settlements are insufficient in these routes and may not offer you lodging and food for eating, which is not good while trekking in the remote mountains. Therefore, piercing to an official itinerary is best for everybody.

8. Not following the leader

The trekking trails of the Himalayan foothills are different. While trekking in Nepal, they might need to walk in the rigorous, jagged, narrow, steep, rough, and slippery trekking paths. Thus, hikers have to be very careful while approaching the journey. Along with the harsh, those paths gain significant height as well. Hence, along with being cautious, accommodating the surrounding elevation is also essential.

While walking those rugged trails, hikers need to follow every step of their leader/s. A leader knows where to stop for lunch, rest, snacks, and more. They already know where you'll be facing the slippery trails, steep routes, landslide-prone areas, and many others, so following them will be a great help in your journey.

Acclimatizing appropriately in the high elevated trail is also crucial, saving you from several hazards. That is why hikers have to cautiously follow the guidelines of the trek leader on the path. They are most familiar with the route and know to handle unseen coincidences. Besides, they know how to wrestle these mountains' difficulties can chuck at us. Therefore, it is vital to share your conditions and listen to trek leaders on the trek for your safe trekking.

9. Not following "Leave No Trace."

One of the most important factors of trekking in the Himalayan foothills is to follow 'leave no trace.' But unfortunately, some trekkers seem careless to throw thrashes during their campsites and even in the trails. Because of this, nature gets directly affected, and entire trekking destinations ruin.

So, while hiking, research well about the safety rules of LEAVE NO TRACE and must implement in the actual trip. Always dispose of plastic bags in dustbins only; always bury your human waste away from trails and campsites. Check local guidelines where you want to hike to see if you also need to carry a system to pack out human left-over. Do not camp close to torrents, lakes, rivers, or other risky zones. Do not chop down trees or destroy vegetation for any reason. Imagine whatever you are planning about doing if 1000 other people did the same, how it would affect the place.

10. Negligence regarding food and water

It is needless to explain how important is eating and drinking to get energy. You may need extra fuel for the body and be well hydrated while trekking in the rough terrains, high hills, elevated lands, ups and downs, and more. But most first-time trekkers forget they are in the mountain and constantly burning their calories. And water keeps you hydrated and saves you from Acute Mountain Sickness as well.

Thus, consuming snacks and water frequently is crucial. Skipping breakfast, lunch, and dinner is worse while rocking in the mountains. Do not skip even a single meal. Intake all the meals and habitually eat energy bars and chocolates for energy. Don't wait to drink water till you are thirsty. If possible, try mixing pure water and a sports drink containing electrolytes which help in several ways as it keeps fluids, gives energy, balances electrical levels, and makes walking easier.

Final words

Hiking and camping are excellent ways to get outdoors. Such adventures on foot can be as big and remote or tame and close-to-home as you want them to be. Begin your journey with essential gears, a game plan, common sense, and research that makes your trekking safe and sound.

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