There is no better time to bone up on ways and experiment with new techniques for getting organised than when you plan an adventure trip. That’s why we are making it easy for you. What follows is a self-improvement plan designed for both the wide eyed new-comer and the grizzled trail traveller who thinks he knows it all.
1] Take a shower in your rain gear to check all the leaks.
2] Take to stairs or some exercise as soon as you plan for your trip. This is to keep the quadriceps (thigh muscles) in tune and you heart strong.
3] Disinfect the bottle. Before you set on your trail, a rinse with boiling water will kill the germs. And don’t forget to sanitise the lid because the screw-top rings are great places for bad bugs to hide.
4] Do carry your personal medical kit, suited to your specific medical needs. Check your kit before every trip.
5] Be sure your sunglasses protect against ultra-violet light. If not, you run the immediate risk of sunburned eyes and down the road cataract.
6] Apply sunscreen lotion to the exposed parts of the body specially the ears.
7] Drink before you are thirsty. If your body is a mere 1 to 2 litres low on water, your physical performance can drop as much as 25 percent. Keep drinking water every 15-20 minutes instead of chugging at a rest break every hour or so.
8] Munch often to feel better. A snack about every 2 hours, especially a High carbohydrate snack, keeps your store of muscle glycogen high.
9] Listen to body parts that tend to chafe. You know the places where moist skin rubs against moist skin, creating a painful rash. Carry a small bottle of talcum powder and apply 3-4 times a day to keep chafe-prone skin dry. If that does not work, restore to a lubricating jelly.
10] Make sure that your boots are in good shape and comfortable. Don’t try to lace them up extremely tight. Boots laced too tightly cause more blisters than boots laced too loosely.
11] Make sure that your socks fit. Ill fitting socks encourage blisters. Baggy socks form clumps of material that apply undue pressure to feet. Restrictive socks reduce healthy circulation.
12] Practice camp hygiene. Don’t share personal kitchen wear, water bottles, anything. If you pass food around, ask everyone to pour some into their hands, instead of sticking grime-ridden paws into the bag. Always wash your hands after defecation and before preparing or eating food.
13] Avoid short-nail syndrome. Keep your toenails trimmed. Long toenails squashed into hiking boots can rip flesh from a neighbouring toe, rub painfully against the toe box of the shoe. But toenails too short can lead to problems too. You need some length to protect the end of your toes while hiking.
14] Hike around or step over obstacles. You’d be amazed at how many different parts you can damage by slipping off a log or rock. In addition to avoiding injury, stepping over something requires less energy than stepping up onto it.
15] Use a “third leg” to prevent injuries. A hiking staff – a trekking pole, a well-crafted wooden version, or simply a stout branch you pick up in the woods- not only helps you maintain balance, it also aids in stream crossings. There’s also a matter of how it takes pressure off your knees.
16] Learn to tell direction without a compass. Stand a 3- foot stick in the ground where it will cast a shadow. Mark the end of the shadow with a rock. After the shadow moves, mark the new end with another rock. A straight line drawn between the two rocks runs east-west, the first rock marking west. Draw the shorter line between the stick and the east-west line to mark north south.
17] When you encounter lion! Give the lion plenty of room to get away from you. Do not run or bend over. Stand your ground and appear as unlike as possible. Hold your hands over your head, speak sternly, and throw something. If you are attacked fight back with anything and everything you have. Lions rely upon surprise and are not known for their stamina. But remember sighting the large cat is extremely rare.
18] Can you tell what do tree rings mean? Most trees add a ring every year, making a tree the only organism whose age can be precisely determined. Tree rings not only date specimens but also interpret how Mother Nature and human activity- drought, cold, heat and disturbance have treated these trees.
19] Very few snakes are poisonous, but in the absence of enough knowledge, it is better not to disturb or excite the reptile. Stand still and let it go by. In case of danger, throw clothing on the snake and run on a zigzag track.
20] Lift correctly. To avoid injury, lift heavy packs by setting them on a log or rock, sit in front of it, slip into both straps and settle the pack on your back. When ready to stand, lift with your legs- try not to bend at the waist too much.