Plans to go trekking this monsoons?
The monsoons and heavy downpours are intimidating for some, especially when it comes to planning travel and outdoor stuff. On the other hand, the sights and sounds of blossoming greens all around, and a thunderous cloud-filled sky send the adrenaline rushing for many trekking enthusiasts, who love to trek especially during the monsoon season.
There are pros and cons of trekking in this weather. There are some beautiful things that can be experienced only in the monsoon trekking, like witnessing the waters of a swollen turbulent river rushing down in all its might & glory, but at the same time there are risks like injuring oneself due to slippery terrains. But if you think monsoon trekking is for you, and you are prepared as well, you are sure to have a wonderful experience.
Here are a few tips that may come handy while preparing for your monsoon trek :-
- Waterproof your backpack
The best idea is to invest in a waterproof backpack, which will be useful for your future trips as well. Once your stuff is inside it’s safe and there’s hardly anything to worry.
You can also go ahead with your existing backpack, by simply using a waterproof cover for the bag, which can be zipped and wraps it entirely.
Carrying plastic ‘zip-lock’ bags and ‘dry bags’ used in rafting, to keep your electronic stuff or food items safe is also a good idea.
Also, don’t forget to carry a few poly bags to keep your wet clothes (there are high chances of you getting wet, or wet clothes not drying easily in humid conditions) separated from the rest of the stuff in your backpack.
- Keep yourself dry
Enjoy the rains, enjoy the views but try keeping yourself dry most of the times to avoid falling sick. A pair of waterproof jacket and track-pants is the first thing you must pack, followed by some quick drying clothes and socks (including a pair of anti-leech socks). Also rain ponchos are a better alternative to carrying umbrellas, as they may be a bit cumbersome to handle in the mountain winds.
Make sure that you carry waterproof footwear having strong grip for slippery terrains.
- Research well and follow existing trails
Research well and choose treks that are safe during the monsoons. Most of the Himalayan range is experiencing a very heavy downpour during this season, and while this makes the scenery immensely captivating and beyond beautiful, it also poses risks for the trekkers due to highly slippery landscape. Himalayan destinations like Ladakh and Spiti Valley are enjoying their summers during this time, and can be a good option among many.
Also certain trekking trails become popular and permanent over time, and during monsoons due to the unpredictable nature of weather and situation, it is best to follow the existing trails.
- Respect nature and local knowledge
Live and feel global, but always respect local.
Locals of a destination know best when to venture out and when not to, and which areas and paths to avoid especially during bad weather.
As landslides, cloudbursts and flooding are very common threats in the Himalayan towns & villages, often causing massive devastations and accidents, it is always wise to take guidance from the local residents, and take their advice, particularly related to nature’s threats, seriously in order to stay safe. Hiring a local guide may also be a good idea.
- Protect yourself from bugs and insects
Mosquitoes and leeches can be a big annoyance if you are caught unguarded. Be well- prepared to combat them by carrying insect repellents and table salt. While spraying insect repellent will take care of the mosquitoes, a leech if it attaches itself to your body must be removed by rubbing table salt on it, instead of pulling it off which will lead to bleeding. Also avoid leaning on trees, or rocks that have been away from direct sunlight.
- Keep a flexible schedule and always..trust your instinct
While trekking during monsoons one can always come across roadblocks, or bad weather situations, and therefore allowing enough flexibility in your schedule will always pay off. Wait, let the situation clear off and then go ahead. Also always trust and listen to your instinct when deciding whether to keep going ahead or turn back, as in the mountains, a bad weather situation may quickly go worse and there’s a risk of getting stuck without help for hours.