If you are an avid trekker there is no better way to experience the beauty of the forest than on foot. You are literally hugging the earth while you walk the trails. The sights and smells of the forest are felt more intimately while walking than when rattling along on a safari vehicle. Many wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala including the Periyar tiger reserve and Parambikulam tiger reserve offer trekking packages. If you are a regular trekker you will know most of the rules but if you are just another tourist who stopped by after seeing the board offering trekking into forests, read the following
Before embarking on a trek
- Research the place you plan to visit. The internet offers you a lot of information and it is always good to be prepared.
- Look up timings, distances and the difficulty gradings.
- Check the terrain and type of forest you will be trekking in.
- Check the weather and take clothing accordingly.
- Check facilities available (food, accommodation, sleeping arrangements etc)
Once you have reached your destination and your trek gets under way, there are the general trekking guidelines you have to follow.
- An ideal trekking group should be not more than 10 in a group.
- Don't stray from the group at any time. If you want to answer nature's call make sure the group knows and that you don't stray too far from the track.
- Stick to the trail. Don't go wandering off if you see another track that looks more adventurous. You might get lost and also destroy some part of the forest, it's plants or small creatures when you go stomping off from the main track.
- Carry sufficient water and food but don't overburden yourself. High energy chocolate bars and bananas are ideal. Use a canteen for water that you can refill in clean streams or springs.
- Don't litter. Carry back your waste and leave only your footprints.
- Don't smoke and if you make a camp fire ensure it is stamped out completely.
- Carry the tools you might need depending on the durartion of the trek.
- A torch, knife (Swiss army or any other), & whistle; just in case. I carry a Swiss knife, a hunting knife & cutlery kit.
- Carry a handheld GPS or a map of the place you are planning to trek in.
- A foldable shovel is useful in your pack if you plan camping.
- A muli-utility whistle that has other bits & pieces usefulness like compass (always useful if your GPS batteries drain out), temperature gauge, signalling mirror or flash LED and a lens for starting a fire in case you need a signal fire.
These are some of the things that come to mind as I type. Other experienced trekkers may have more to add. Please add it in the Comments.
I hope this will give you an insight into how to become a woodcrawler. The next post is about the elephants; the reason why this series was started in the first place.