After over a year into the Covid lockdown, we’re sure that all you want to do now is just escape from the four walls of your house and embrace the great outdoors. What better way to do it than to set out on a challenging yet exhilarating trek?
It’ll be an awesome experience, we’re sure of it. But should you on a multi day trek during Covid? No, there’s always an element of risk when you’re traveling during the pandemic. But if you take all the necessary precautions and take into account the travel regulations, you can make this adventure as safe as possible for yourself and those around you. Here are things you need to consider before going on a multi day trek during Covid.
As far as possible, plan on treks that are close to your house, preferably within your state. With the Covid pandemic still around, choosing your destination becomes more significant. Going to a hiking trail near your house means that in the unfortunate event that you do develop symptoms, getting back home will be much easier.
Since you have to prioritize social distancing and isolation, try to stay off the beaten paths and look for hiking spots that are relatively undiscovered. However, there are two sides to it: The advantage is that you’ll get to stay away from crowds. On the other hand, these offbeat places may not have enough infrastructure including accommodation, food, and enough Covid-safety norms in place. So you’ll have to choose carefully.
A good idea would be to look for hiking clubs that can provide everything that’s required for a safe and fulfilling trek. Or you can make all the necessary arrangements yourself.
If you’re dead-set on going on a multi day trek during Covid, it’s best that you go with a group of your closest friends and/or family members. Choose a small group to go with because there’s a greater risk of infection if there are more people. Remind this group to keep themselves isolated from others for at least 14 days before the trek to further reduce the risk of infection.
Alternatively, you could also look for trekking clubs online and join one of them. You may end up making really good friends this way, but we wouldn’t really recommend going on a trek this way. You aren’t likely to know about their travel history and if they pose a transmission risk (some people can carry the virus and still be asymptomatic!). In cases like these, you should join a trekking club and make sure that they Covid safety very seriously and the size of the group is small.
Keeping in mind the travel restrictions (they may change, so keep a lookout for relevant news), you may be able to reach the base camp with little difficulty. Keeping social distancing in mind, it’s best that you go in your personal vehicle. This way, you’re not exposed to the many strangers that you’ll no doubt come across while on public transport.
If you’re joining a trekking group, the organizers may have arranged for a private bus or cab for you. Even though it’s not as safe as in your personal vehicle, it’s better than public transport so long as the vehicle is properly sanitized with minimum passengers in it.
While you may relax on the mask rule in your personal vehicle, don’t do that whenever you’re stepping out to refuel, to use the facilities, or for food.
(Remember to make yourself as physically fit as possible, especially if you haven’t done any physical activity during the lockdown. Going on a multi day trek after months of lockdown can be very taxing on your body.)
You’re probably well-versed with what to carry during a multi day trek. But when going on a multi day trek during Covid, there are a couple of extra things that you MUST have on you.
This is a no-brainer and you’ve heard this time and time again. Whether for a trek or even for a trip downstairs to get groceries, you have to have your mask with you. This is because Covid primarily spreads through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes.
You also need to wash your hands regularly with soap and water. If not, a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol would work just as well.
The thrilling aspect of trekking is the sense of adventure and the possibility of danger. So you want to carry a medical kit. In addition to the usual medicines and bandages, make sure that you have enough medicines for cold, flu, and body pain. You must regularly monitor your health, so pack a thermometer as well.
Even though it may not be mandatory at the place you’re going to, get a Covid test done before the trip and pack the test results with you. Get travel insurance particularly if you’re going trekking far away from home so that even if you do get sick, at least some of your expenses get covered.
Also, check what are the documents the trekking club requires you to carry.
Whether you’re on your way to scale a fort or traverse the wilderness, keep in mind that you or the trekking club follow the below Covid safety norms:
There must be a mandatory health check-up before and every day of the trek. Anyone showing Covid symptoms should be isolated and arrangements must be made for their return to base. As it may not be easy to arrange for a trekker’s return right away if they show symptoms, there should be a separate tent for sick trekkers.
If you and your friends/family have joined a larger trek group, follow social distancing from the other groups to be on the safer side. On the other hand, if only you’ve joined a trekking group, avoid getting into close contact with anyone.
Wherever you stay before and during the trek, be it the hotels at the base camp or the tents, should be well sanitized. Also, there shouldn’t be too many people crammed into one room/tent, especially if they’re not from the same group.
It could get a little difficult to breathe when you’re wearing a mask and trekking. In this case, you may take off your mask while trekking but must keep at least 6 feet distance from another trekker.
Also, keep your distance from the locals and as far as possible, avoid visits to villages along the way. You don’t want to compromise anyone’s safety.
You shouldn’t be sharing any of your equipment (which has to be properly sanitized) with anyone else. This would result in them having common touchpoints, which greatly increases the risk of Covid transmission.
Sanitizers should be made available at regular intervals during the trek. It’s a good idea to wash or sanitize your hands every 30 minutes or so.
While packing your own food is the safest way, it may not be practical if you’re going on a multi day trek. To remedy that, there should be arrangements for food to be made and packed in safe and sanitary conditions by Covid-trained cooks.
Get your own plates and cutlery to be safe and have your meals outdoors. The droplets that carry the Covid virus disperse when outdoors, so it’s safer.
Once the trek is done and you’re back home, you want to take a lot of rest. Like you did before the trek, practice social isolation and monitor your health. If you develop symptoms, inform your trek buddies and organizers immediately so that everyone can take the necessary safety measures.
To put it short, could you go on a multi day trek during Covid? Yes, you could. But should you? Well, it’s not completely safe, but if you stick to the precautions we discussed, you could make it as safe as possible for you and those around you.
You can’t go on a multi day hike without preparation and training. Here’s what you need to do before setting out:
Research Your Hiking Trail: Know everything that’s relevant to your multi day hike—the trail, weather, regulations, length, etc. You’ll be able to get a lot of information online, either through official websites or forums.
Prepare Yourself Physically: In the days leading up to the hike, you want to keep yourself in peak physical condition. Focus on getting your stamina up.
Get The Right Gear And Equipment: Make sure that you have good hiking shoes and clothes depending on the terrain. Lighter gear would help reduce the weight of your backpack and eventually reduce the overall strain of the hike.
Be Prepared For Emergencies: What makes hikes thrilling are the sense of adventure and danger. So make sure you have your first aid kit and a personal beacon locator if you’re hiking solo.
India has not one, but multiple treks that are considered to be its toughest. Some of these are the Auden’s Col (Uttarakhand), Chadar Trek (Ladakh), the Pin Parvati Pass (Himachal Pradesh, and the Stok Kangri Trek (Ladakh).
Ensure you keep sanitizing your hands, and do not let your trekking gear get mixed up with other people’s. Maintain social distancing from your other group members as much as possible.
High altitude trekking that goes above 15,000 feet, coupled with difficult terrain and weather conditions is one of the most difficult treks. These treks may also include up to 10 or more hours a day of trekking.
Yes, the Chadar Trek is considered dangerous thanks to the hostile terrain, altitude of over 3350 meters above sea level, and the long trail that can test your endurance to the limit.
The Kedarkantha Trek is a low-difficulty trek that could take you about 4-6 days to complete.
If you’re in Dharamshala or McLeodganj, you could consider going on the Triund Trek. About 9 km long, it’s considered among the easiest treks in the Himalayas and can be completed in 4-6 hours.
WHO recommends keeping a distance of at least 1 meter and avoiding crowds to avoid Covid-19.
There’s no evidence that Covid-19 can spread through food or its packaging. But all the same, continue practicing good food hygiene to avoid any food-borne illnesses.
There’s an incredibly low chance that Covid can be transmitted through feces.