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Trekking - Questions and Answers

Trek to Baker Thach, Beas Kund - Photo provided by Himalayan Quest Adventures, Manali What is a typical Trekking Day like?
You normally start your day early to enjoy the mountain peaks which are bathing in the sun. After a hot breakfast and some wash you typically carry with you a light sack containing your camera, a lunch box and some of your clothes like a wind cheater.

Porters usually carry baggage and equipment - leaving you free to enjoy the peace and beauty of the mountains and valleys.

By late afternoon you reach your destination where the tour operator sets up your camp and prepares a dinner.

Evenings generally tend to be lively with some porter entertaining you with regional songs while a friend improvises on a musical instrument. Sometimes you will sit around the camp fire, have a discussion or simply stay alone depending on your mood.

What happens if I get Sick?
Depending on the situation you will throw in a tablet helping you to move on, have some days rest or being immediately repatriated or brought to a hospital. Most tour operators carry first aid box and basic medicines with them like pain killers. If you need any special medicament like one against certain allergens, you have to bring it from home and carry it with you.

A special case of illness is called "mountain sickness" or "high altitude sickness". Typical symptoms include headache, uneasiness or psychical stress symptoms. If you know to be sensitive to high altitude sickness immediately move to lower altitudes as soon as the first signs show up. Also try to acclimatise properly before moving to higher altitudes. Stay for longer periods at a base camp, drink lots of water or climb up only 1,000 meters per week.

Are the Himalayan Trails Crowded?
Mantalai Landscape - Photo provided by Himalayan Quest Adventures, ManaliDue to the enormous variety of tracks in the Himalayas, you may not see another trekking group for days. Generally, the remoter the area, the fewer the visitors.

What Equipment do I need for a Basic Mountain Trek?
You need a tent, high altitude sleeping bag, foam mattress, rucksack, trekking shoes and clothes protecting you from sun, wind and storms, such as hat, cap, gloves and sunglasses.

Your tour organiser can typically provide you with everything from a GPS device to an oxygen tent, from a ceramic water filter to kitchen equipment for a specific trip. Don't bring this stuff with you. Hire it from your tour operator.

What Photo Equipment do you recommend?
If you are not used taking snaps, bring a lightweight, waterproof, compact camera with you. If you're already a "semiprofessional" a single reflex camera with interchangeable lenses is suitable for most situations. Lenses should include wide angle (28 to 35 mm) for buildings and landscapes, a zoom (70 to 200 mm) for unobtrusive portraits and close-ups of mountain peaks. Macro lens will allow you to take snapshots of Himalayan flowers. Carry plenty of films with you (or corresponding storage devices for your digital camera) and make that the camera cover is waterproof. Also you will need extra batteries and ultra violet and polarizing filters for high altitudes. Films with adapted sensitivity are a must.

What Food is served?
Most tour operators serve hot meals along the trip. At times packed lunches are served in places which do not permit to cook. If you have special food needs like Vegetarian or South Indian, inform your tour operator beforehand.

Where do I sleep?
Where possible most tour operators will offer you country side hotels or Government rest houses. In remoter areas tents are the rule. Bathrooms and sanitation facilities are often not provided in the mountains but a bath in a mountain lake will compensate for that.

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