Wandering deep into the Himalayas and other mountains give you an unforgettable experience for a lifetime. However, it also includes some major disadvantages– it comes at the expense of our delicate nature which is the foundation of our own existence.
It is a smart idea to read about the place you are planning to visit, and this can give you some great insight into what's in store and how to be responsible when you go there. Before you set off for your adventure, we have put together a convenient rundown of general tips that will help you be the best responsible trekker as you can be. Here are our top tips for being a responsible trekker:
1. Respect Animal Kingdom
Besides your pets, critters in the wild also need your care and respect. Little or no attention has been given to the animals experiencing human cruelty and neglect. It is vital to acknowledge that these critters have made an incredible contribution to our survival and progress until now. So isn't it reasonable that their wellbeing should be our priority? While trekking, make sure you don’t disturb their homes. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Respect their homes!
2. Avoid any Chance of Forest Fire
Unlike natural calamities, most forest fires are caused by humans and can also be averted by humans. When you are camping, take utmost care when lighting stoves and using matches. Ensure lighting and cooking appliances are cool before refuelling. Abstain from spilling combustible fuels and store fuel far from appliances.
Try not to dispose of cigarettes, matches, etc. from moving vehicles, or anywhere near wood or dries leaves. Be sure to extinguish cigarettes before discarding them. Avoid camping and trekking amid hot summer time as forest fire chances are high during that period.
3. Choose Certified Campsites
Choosing a camping company is like choosing a home. Be sure only to select certified campsites that follow the ‘leave no trace’ rule and promote responsible travel. In most cases, when the company is certified, they comply with the local and government regulations and guidelines.
4. Check for enough Safety Precautions
Trekking is a genuinely rewarding experience if done correctly. Before you head to your trekking destination, you should find out about the safety precautions you should take and travel responsibly. It is always a good idea to know about these safety precautions so that you don’t end up hurting a wild creature or yourself.
5. Do not Unnecessarily waste Natural Resources
Camping often puts a large amount of pressure on the natural resources available in the forest, most precisely on the fire woods for warmth and fun of campfire. Campfire is not a sheer need, but it is done for the sake of entertainment. So avoid it at all costs and find some other responsible source of entertainment. Do not cut trees or even branches for any reason.
6. Only carry Environmentally-friendly products
Do not bring along products that contain non-biodegradable plastic. Buy only natural insect repellents; you do not want to harm the wildlife. Bring natural toiletries, sunscreens, and other disposable items if you're going to be a responsible trekker. Keep the trails clean and beautiful for the trekkers that are going to come after you. You do not want to ruin their experience.
7. Do not widen the existing trekking trails
Demolition of plants happens because of trampling. Trekking causes trampling, and it causes to enlarge the trail, make several trails and further amplify soil erosion. It is encouraged to remain on the single trail when on the trek and not to make a new route. Trampling ruins the plants and causes them to die. As a result, it creates another trail. Trampling also harms the water permeability and soil quality.
Get to know some of the best trekking routes in Kerala!
8. Be accountable for your own Waste
Do not litter. It is as simple as that. Do whatever it takes not to create excessive trash, never under any circumstance litter, and keep your waste with you until you find a dustbin and can properly discard it–Even if this implies storing and carrying those wastes along with you while trekking, be prepared to do that.
9. Support the local people
The local markets are a treasure trove of amazing trekking snacks, souvenirs and local art and they're affordable as well. Avoid going to the global coffee shop chain. Instead, spend your money in the local tea or coffee house. Try the local eateries where you will find the most authentic local food at an affordable cost.
10. Do not buy animal products
Be conscious when purchasing gifts or souvenirs. Do not buy things produced using rare or endangered species, for example, corals or hardwoods, for instance, African teak, satinwood, etc.
11. Do not leave processed food
When wild animals consume food with chemicals, it disturbs their well-being. Maybe you imagined that deserting some of your food is okay as it is biodegradable; however, it is not always the case. Most preserved food taken on treks contains chemical substances which are dangerous for the wellbeing of the animals.
12. Leave no trace
This is truly important! When you are done with one camping site and are moving to another, make sure you leave absolutely no trace behind. If you leave anything behind, it will not only pollute the place but may also attract wild animals which can lead to more problems.
13. Respect the locals
Instead of endlessly clicking the local people, it is courteous to ask that person’s consent before clicking their picture. Furthermore, accept the fact that you can't use your camera everywhere; photography is not allowed in many places, for instance, in a local place of worship. If the rules say, do not do something, don’t do it. It is for your own good and safety. Put simply, it is always advisable to treat other individuals in the same way you would want to be treated.
14. Protect local resources
Do not waste local resources. Water is only one item that is rare in most of the places you'll visit while trekking and camping. Things that are readily available at your home may not be that obtainable at your trekking destination, so check before utilising something random that it is hard to find or will be hard to replace.
15. Choose environmentally and ethically responsible trekking companies
Practically, you are going to require the assistance and support of an expert company to make plans for your high-altitude trekking and camping trip. There are many options to choose from. However, as with everything in life, some companies are better than others. If you do not wish to get in trouble, it is always advisable to search for a camping company that encourages responsible travel.
Sure, trekking and camping can create many problems for Mother Nature if we do not keep the above pointers in mind. But does that mean we stop trekking and stop experiencing the sheer beauty of nature? The answer is no. It is up to us to make it better. We just need to be responsible, practice responsible trekking and camping. In this case, we simply need to lead by example!