1. Apply Climbing Permit & Follow The Rules
Any national park or reserved forest you will be hiking in may need climbing permit & rules to follow. Here are 8 simple steps on how to become a responsible hiker from scratch: Do a research of the park/forest trail that you will be entering:
- Call the forestry officer to know if the park/forest trail has limited quota of hikers per day.
- Apply climbing permit 2 weeks before hike to avoid disappointment.
- Fill up climbing permit application form correctly or write a formal letter of permission to hike/enter the forest trail.
- Always follow up with the forestry officer after submitting the permit application form/letter of permission to hike/enter the forest trail.
- Report to the authority by send in list of participant’s particulars and details to police station/ranger/district authority.
- Be aware of specific rules about what you can and can’t do on trek.
- If you need to camp, camp in designated area. Do not simply camp anywhere.
- Keep the water clean. Do not poop or pee in the water!
- It is best to avoid campfire because it can cause forest fire. Carry a gas stove with you.
- Report once again to the police station/ranger/district authority once you have finished your hike.
These steps sounds simple but many people just take rules lightly.
2. Manage Your Waste
We can’t live without the usage of plastic bags. Majority of what we carry on trek are food and drinks that are packed in plastic containers and packaging. Please bear in mind that plastic are non-biodegradable and it cause a serious impact to the environment and wildlife. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of or educated about the consequences of reckless disposal of waste. Here are some ways you can organize your waste for day hike and camping:
DAY HIKES WASTE MANAGEMENT: Learn to carry your own waste.
CAMPING WASTE MANAGEMENT: Segregate the waste on campsite. Have a bag/container for Biodegradable Waste & Non-Biodegradable Waste. Once your camping trip is over, bury the bio-degradable waste & carry out the Non-Biodegradable waste out of the camp site.
3. Stick To The Designated Paths
If there is that one rule that everybody wants to break, this is it! It is tempting to get off the beaten trek and away from other hikers, many trails have countless of hikers every week, this foot stomping can kill delicate flora like mosses, disturb the grounds of fauna and cause soil erosion.
If you see tree branches or plastic tape across the trail, DON’T FOLLOW THE PATH.
4. Just Look, Don’t Feed & Don’t Touch
Yes, they are beautiful and cute! They are living things and do not like to be touched, just like you. Don’t pick wild plants, they don’t need your help for pollinating. Stop feeding wild animals, I remember seeing an obese squirrels on Gunung Nuang few years back. Being obese is unhealthy for all living things!
Invest yourself in a good binoculars or zoom lens, so you can keep distance while closely observing them.
5. Choose Responsible Mountain Guides & Trekking Organizers
If you need to go trekking in a group, it is best for you to hike with a local operator. Please do some research about the operator such as customer’s review, sustainability and standards. Do not be afraid to ask detailed questions about their trekking packages. Here are 8 questions to ask trekking organizer before you chose to go with them:
- Does this package inclusive of transfers/transportation/flight?
- What are the kinds of meals serve during the expedition?
- Can I see the proof of climbing permit before I go on this expedition?
- Where is the meeting point?
- I am a vegetarian, can you prepare a different meal for me?
- How many people in a group?
- What are the difficulty level for this trek?
- Is this trail kid friendly?
6. Take Care of Your Safety
We recently saw some adventure trekking groups are cutting down days for high-altitude trek. Cutting down days for high-altitude trek means there will be less time for acclimatization.
Heroic much? Please plan your expedition wisely especially when you are not used to the trekking conditions. Please remember that emergency evacuation and services are very costly and injuries may cost you your own life.
Before any hike, make sure you have enough food, water, whistle, supplies and personal first aid kit. Never rely on the organizer/group first aid kit alone, because it is not a moving hospital. For more technical hike, pack the right gears with you and make sure you know how to use them. Be prepared of bad situations that could happen to you in the great outdoors.
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