When I was proposed a trek in Páramo de Sumapaz in Bogotá, Colombia in the first week I landed on the continent, my eyes lit up with excitement. Then I realized, I hadn’t walked much in the past 4 months – would I be able to handle it?
I looked at the small sweets I had bought in Nepal for my trek up to Panchase, in the side of my little backpack, and said, “Hey, I’ve done this before. There must be some muscle memory somewhere. Go for it!”
So I did, and it was great. Here are things I do before and during a trek, that might come in handy for you if you’re new to this or want my take on it – if you have any of your ideas, please feel free to comment below!
What you’ll need
What you have to think about here is energy – you’ll need loads of it. Here’s what I took with me yesterday:
- Bread with Spanish omelette – the carbohydrates in the potatoes and the bread help with the energy, the eggs with the protein to help build up the muscle
- Small sweets for when you start feeling a bit dizzy as you hit higher altitudes – or just for a treat 🙂
- Nuts – they weigh little, just a fistful and some water will fill you up and they’re salty – great replacement for all that (excuse my French) sweating.
Take a couple of bottles with you and place them on both sides of your bag. They might be the heaviest thing you’re carrying, so make sure that they’re not a strain on your back.
If you have the possibility, freeze one of them overnight, so that during the day, you’ll still have cool water.
What I like to add to it also, if possible is mineral salts like Dioralyte sachets, just to give me that extra energy push.
Other people on the trek here in Colombia had Agua Panela instead – powdered sugar cane mixable with water, could work out just fine!
Note: In Nepal, India and Vietnam, you find people on the way, offering you noodles, rice, sweets, drinks and chai on the way up, so you don’t need to carry much. In South America, this was my first trek, I was told to bring food and there was nothing on the way, so phew! Will keep you updated as I walk around the continent more.
As people skidded and held on to poor, resilient plants as we trekked down the mountain in Páramo de Sumapaz, yesterday, a girl asked – “What brand are your shoes?”
I was with a group of trekkers, and most were just holidaying and thought they’d hit the mountain just for the fun of it. And that’s good don’t take me wrong, actually it’s great – you give yourself the time to be in nature and push your body that little bit harder. Just, trainers won’t quite do it. Yes, trekking shoes can be expensive, but they’re security – for your back, for your feet and for that extra grasp when you’re dealing with challenging rocks, land and squeeshy squashy ground.
Change of clothes
Most treks will end up at a peak of something where it’ll be pretty cold or windy. Walking up instead – and you’ll have to excuse my bluntness here – you’ll be boiling and sweaty as you push your body further, resulting in a soaking wet top to say the least.
Get yourself a change of top at least, so that you won’t end up being hugged by a soaked, cold top when you’re up there. Find a covered corner, change and enjoy the view!