My Mistakes in Himalayas (Humorously serious long content) - Part-1
Here I describe some of the mistakes I have been committing in Indian Himalayas, I hope this serves as a guide to budding trekkers.
(please bear my PJ's)
1. Cut your Toenails
The earliest I can remember is not cutting my toenails, and I still commit this mistake sometimes. I have always been lazy when it comes to cutting our toenails before a trek. While ascent may not pose much problem, but during the descent our toes may end up touching the front most part of our shoe and uncut toenails striving to tear the shoe and come out.
But of course the rigid leather of our shoe wins the game and doesn't allows our white nails [probably black if you are on a long trek and haven't cleaned them since a long while (not me though :-p)] to come out. Which ends up exerting a lot of pressure on our nails that they may break or sometimes twist or at least cause enough pain that shall accompany us for days.
|This shall serve a better Example|
Recently in June, 2016 I was wandering in some hilly villages some 20 km before Dalhousie (H.P), and fascinated by a hill, I began climbing it finding whatever possible route I could. You can't be a disciplined guy when you are a Punjabi by blood, one would simply want to show off even in trekking apparels.
I decided not to wear a full length track pant and just a knee length Bermuda which of course looked great with my high ankle trekking shoes. The track was completely an unknown territory for me but I could see a lot of thorns and bushes awaiting me en-route summit.
Wandering and finding my way up many times I came across a blocked trail, blocked by dry thorny bushes, and trying to find my way through I ended up getting some of them injected in my legs.
I Realized the consequences later in the night, and what could I do in a small village? No hospitals...
A needle I found, and pierced the cuts to remove the thorns. I would name it 'Game of Thorns'. (I have been doing such freaky experiments with my wounds since childhood, but never opted for medical science).
3. Handkerchiefs- Saviour of Men
This one again from June, 2016, When I forgot to take even one single handkerchief on a four day trek in a humid season awaiting some rains. Well, that happens when you make last minute plans.
Ohh...did I really forget my camping hand towel too in my room?
Well, the T-shirt comes to rescue when we get exhausted after a day long hike. But what if you carried only two of them..?? I had four days to spend, though I was lucky that I was on a leisure trip doing some day hikes and not on an expedition to some pass...
Struggling to wipe off the sweat and on other moments occasional raindrops that would come rolling like tears over my face , my T-shirt came to my rescue. Removing it, drying it and of course drying myself too in every moment, the trek finally ended. I can remember the smell of my t-shirts hung on the bathroom door later in the evening. Well that's life. Did I mention, I didn't had a washing powder/soap too? well, who takes it on a leisure trip. I can recall the days of training as a mountaineer when our ustaad (sir) used to say, 'Mountain me sab adjust karna padta hai'.
|Handkerchief - Pride and savioir of men|
While men use it to the fullest, women just love crushing it in their hands, Stress buster I think :p
This can be used as -
- Emergency Signal Flag
- Emergency Bandage
4. Never walk Off the Track
Never walk off the track in rainy season, especially when there are a lot of people (girls) around..
This dates back to 2010 when I choose to get off the cemented track and walk on a grassy slope to test my adventures. But lack of control and slippery grass & mud mixture was enough to make my pants go 'Brown' especially the back part. All I could do was laugh with some girls laughing at me..
My mates describe it a stupid yet cute smile I made, I wonder if I accidentally impressed someone.
5. Extra Spectacles
Take Extra spectacles if you don't wear contact lenses. (But on a general note, contacts have not been practically very good in mountains when it comes to their maintenance.) An extra pair of spectacles may save you in case you have a low eyesight and amazing views too see or at least keep your rucksack calmly instead of throwing it on your sleeping bag after a day long hike.
Hahaha!!, This was my case
I ended up throwing my sack in my tent where my sleeping bag was sleeping, and the consequences were, broken spectacles which I had put in the front lower pocket of my bag for sometime. It is not the old school bag that can be treated like this, a rucksack has it's own etiquettes. I was half blind for rest of the day.....
6. Do Not Run or try to match someone's speed
Everyone is blessed with a limited speed as a limited brain, there can't be two Einstein's on same planet, rather everyone is an Einstein in his own way. I have seen many people trying to race to summit of a meadow or taking shortcuts to descend fast, This ultimately results in a fatal incident which can be sometimes hard to recover. Shortcuts on trails also leads to soil-erosion and destroys a natural slope. It was in Spiti (H.P), once I and my friend descended really fast, though we were lucky that our stepping pattern didn't let us fall, but we had knee pain later in evening, which continued for some days.
7. Focus on your Trail and not your Thoughts(Sprain in feet- 1)
There are many incidents when we get lost in our thoughts and forget completely the work we were actually doing or supposed to do. While some youngsters may get lost in a newly developed crush on a girl, others have their own problems. Then there are some like me lost in nature's silence, lost so deep that we may not realize the uneven track we are walking on which may lead to wrong movement resulting in feet sprain.
8. Wear new trekking shoes regularly before venturing to trails (Sprain in feet - 2)
Another mistake we all may make is eagerness to test our new shoes as early as possible on hills. The base of any new shoe will be very smooth which may slip on wet grass or mud quite easily.
There is a general rule 'Old weapons, Great Victories'.
try using your gear regularly before going to any major trek, this also has another benefit of the drawbacks/defects you may figure out before hand and we can get them replaced easily. Once returning from Triund, wearing my new Forclaz 500 I arrested my fall many times but also had to face the situation of Sprain in left foot. Our feet needs time to adjust in a new cover of leather, just like our body needs acclimatization before any High Altitude trek.