Safety comes first, say trekkers

Ridhima Goel (second from right) with members of 'Trek It Out'.

Trekking, a favourite activity among Bengalureans, comes with various challenges.

In a recent incident, three city-based engineering students got lost at a night trek in Divyagiri Hills and were found by the police and officials after a long tedious search.

Trekkers in the city warn adventure enthusiasts about how to foresee untoward situations and plan better, when on a trek. 

Akash Srivastava, a software professional at an MNC, heads out with friends every month for a trek and camping trip.

“The challenges are way too many. From matching everyone’s pace while going up a hill to carrying just the right luggage, one has to pay a lot of attention to the smallest details. When packing, one has to remember that water and light snacks are basic things and cannot be overseen,” he says. 

Akash recollects his trip to Baba Budangiri, where his group and he had to stop for a bit and arrange for an emergency vehicle as a member of the group experienced fatigue and chest pain. “Dehydration can happen to anyone. When travelling in a group, it’s recommended that one takes breaks and stop to check on everyone. Also, it is a must to communicate about pre-existing health conditions to your trip coordinator so that the team can be prepared,” details Akash. 

Mala Chandrashekar, co-founder of Mystic Wild Pvt Ltd, who organises trekking and adventure trips regularly points out that getting lost on a trekking trip is quite easy.

“While people love to explore and try new things, they forget that safety is most important. One needs to understand their endurance capacity too. There are three different levels of trekking trips: easy, moderate and difficult; one must know what they are fit for. Initially, everyone feels that they can move mountains but one should always remember that you cannot underestimate nature,” she says.

Mala says, “One needs to keep in mind local sentiments while heading to a place. There might be a temple or spiritual space on your trek, where certain rules like dress codes abide. Research ahead or avoid such places if one isn’t aptly prepared for it.”

Even avid trekkers stand a chance to get lost on treks, thus following simple techniques like tagging or marking are essential, adds Mala. “This will help one be aware of their surroundings. These can be simple things like using stones to mark a path, which one can identify if lost. Along with your first-aid kit, carry a compass along and learn how to use one. In a group, members can remember different things from a place which can help trace your steps back,” she adds.

It is important to trust locals and their advice, says Mala. “You might be a great trekker but the local people will know a change of events or their area better.”

Ridhima Goel, founder of ‘Trek It Out’, a mother-child trekking group adds that one needs to more careful when trekking with children. 

“In our group, we encourage babywearing and help build the bond between mother and child while enabling mothers to enjoy adventure with their young ones. We are additionally careful when it comes to planning a trip. Our mothers are advised about keeping the schedule of their young ones in mind and pack and plan accordingly,” she says. 

Ridhima advises mothers to try their baby carriers before going for the trips. “The thumb rule for any trekker is that do not try new things at a trek. Do not wear or carry something with you that you are not comfortable with or will slow you down,” she says.

She adds that one should rest well and be alert when on a trek. “We reach the day or night before the trek. It is important to wear good protective shoes or footwear while on a trek,” Ridhima says. 

Ridhima says that one shouldn’t try risky things at treks.

“Be it for a great picture or to see a beautiful peak, follow instructions and do not take risks which can lead to a untoward incidents,” she adds. 

Rules to follow

Pack light yet apt. Remember to carry water and light snacks.

Do not have earphones on when at a trek. Be aware of your surroundings.

When on a group trek, share some common symbols like marking roads with sticks or stones.

Share a good rapport with the group when trekking with others.

Nature is unpredictable. Be prepared and alert for animal movement or ground difficulties.

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Safety comes first, say trekkers

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