Precautions to take during Monsoon Trekking.
Precautions to take during Monsoon Trekking.
As monsoon sets in, it is time for nature to drape itself in its very best garb. A green cover is formed on every inch of the hills, mountains and surrounding landscape. While the waterfall’s drench every side of the mountains and plains which had been left high and dry due to the hot summer months.
As the month of July sets in the monsoon’s gains pace and it is now time for the Mumbaikars and Punekars to bring out their trekking gear. The state of Maharashtra is blessed with many beautiful hill stations and is also home to the mighty Sahyadri ranges which offer some great monsoon trekking options especially around Mumbai and Pune.
While monsoon trekking can always be fun and exciting at the same time it can get a little risky especially for beginners and children.So if you and your buddies have planned a monsoon trek here is some useful information and safety tips, which will come handy and will keep you prepared in case of a disaster.
Remember the saying “Better safe than sorry”.
Important points to remember
Choose the best time to trek :
Before embarking on a trek always understand the weather conditions for the day. Ideally begin the trek by early morning and rest during afternoon.
During monsoon a day’s trek is safe and ideal rather than an overnight trek, especially if you are a beginner or trekking with your family and children.
Ideally embark on a trek after a heavy shower as trekking during the heavy rains make the trekking path murky and difficult to climb. Furthermore, if there are waterfalls or streams along the trail the heavy shower will make it difficult to gauge the pressure and volume of the water thereby making your trek completely unsafe.
Avoid trekking alone and hire a local guide :
It is strongly recommended that you trek with a minimum of 5 people. Trekking during the monsoon should never be taken lightly as accidents can happen to even the most experienced trekkers.
If you have never trekked before and are planning to experience one, then it is always advisable to have an expert come along or a local guide to join your trip.
Furthermore a local guide knows the in’s and out’s of a trail well and can easily guide trekkers out to safety and take charge of an emergency situation if at all once arises.
Understand the difficulty levels :
Treks can be divided into 3 categories i.e. easy, moderate and difficult. But during monsoon even an easy looking trek might be difficult to climb, so gather as much information as possible about the trek and as to how the trek would be, especially if you trekking with friends who are new to trekking and pick the right destination according to your comfort level.
Gather information about the trek location :
Before embarking on a trek it is very important to know all about the trekking area, the geographical conditions and the overall terrain as the location plays an important role in keeping you safe if anything goes wrong.
Take a good look at the map of the area before you set out and read about the general safety of the area and if accidents have happened there. Always keep the map with you and keep referring to it in order to avoid the possibility of getting lost.
Learn about the flora and fauna so that you know what to watch out for and avoid during a trek. During monsoons there are certain types of wild vegetation that spring up and can be poisonous and can cause rashes upon contact with your skin, hence knowing more about the trekking area will prevent this. Also further consult with your guide about the inhabitants if any living in the hilly areas and the wildlife up there.
Inform your friends and family members :
Whenever you leave for a trekking trip always keep your family and friends informed about your whereabouts and who to contact in case of any emergency in case your phone is not reachable for some reason.
Also set a time frame for your return so that your family members and friends can take the necessary action in case of any accident.
Some trekking tours require you to register with the local authorities before you begin make so sure your family members are also aware of the trip and pass on the contact information of the local authorities or club to your family when you set out.
What to wear and carry during a Monsoon Trek
An ideal backpack for trekking should fit well without hanging. So choose one with multiple pockets, padded shoulder straps, and a large zip. When properly adjusted, the base should sit on your hips and the top should be at least one hand width below the base of your neck. Also plan well how much weight you are going to carry during your trek. Talk to people who have been on monsoon treks before and ask them what all is needed to make the trek more comfortable. Make sure your backpack has all the essentials with you, without you being too bogged down by its weight.
Remember it is a monsoon trek in the western ghats, hence invest in the best trekking shoes which are waterproof as they will provide you better protection from leeches, offer better grip on mossy rocks and protection from slushy lands.Proper footwear makes all the difference as wearing inappropriate footwear can endanger your life. Furthermore, wear synthetic blend socks designed to wick moisture away from the feet, as wet feet are the primary cause of blisters.
Good quality floaters can also be worn for a monsoon trek, but kindly seek information about it from your tour guide or group leader. Finally do carry a pair of slippers which will relieve your feet from stress after a long walk and wet shoes.
Always wear loose clothing i.e. a rommy T-shirt and track bottoms, cotton slacks or comfortable trousers. Avoid wearing denims especially during monsoon trekking as they get heavy when wet, thus making it difficult for you to walk.
Convertible pants which, can become half pant as well as full pant during treks are the most appropriate as they are handy during situations like crossing streams, swimming, roaming around after pitching tents or sitting comfortably, convertible pants turned into shorts are very easy and helpful. If the zips and pockets on these are waterproof, it can help you store important stuff safely away from water.Trekkers can also try trousers which are of a waterproof material or of a quick drying material so that they do not limit your movement.
This is no-brainier that you must carry raincoats, however, a quick tip to follow is that one must always opt for a rain poncho over a normal raincoat. Rain ponchos offer better mobility as well as they provide better protection even to your backpack by keeping it dry during heavy rains, avoid wearing ordinary rain jackets available in the market as they can handle only light showers.
Packing the Essentials :
- Carry light and healthy snacks that will give you an immediate boost of energy like fresh fruits, dry fruits, nuts, dry cereals etc. Also pack some chocolate bars and glucose biscuits for a dose of sugar.
- A map of the trekking course and a pocket diary listing emergency numbers.
- A pocket torch (with extra pair of batteries).
- A pocket knife or Swiss knife.
- Zip lock bags to keep cash, mobiles and cameras.
- A hygiene kit comprising of hand Sanitizers,a few tissue papers and an insect repellent.
- Match stick or lighter even if you are not going to use it but carry one anyway. You never know when it may come handy.
- Before trekking ensure that you are medically fit those who are affected by high BP, heart diseases should not go for trekking.
Never carry too much as this will wear you out, but ensure you carry all essential items, depending on the location you are going to trek you should make your list of items to carry.
Golden rules to follow during monsoon trek
- Trekking is not a race, never run.
Important points to remember while trekking :
Monsoons are magical and romantic times and are meant to be enjoyed outdoors. However do not take Mother Nature for granted and always play by the rules.
Finally do not let these morbid warnings deter you from embarking on an adventure trek this monsoon, until next happy trekking!
We hope these tips will make your trekking tour safe and stress free.