The Western Catchments is a restricted area infested with wild animals. Interested Hikers need to acquire permission from the forest department. The permissions are not provided to the tourists and hikers during the summer as the grass is dry and there is risk of forest fires.
This Beautiful and eye-catching place consisting of meadows down the valley. The depression point of this valley is fully occupied by grasses offering a green.
Before I start with my article, I will like to tip on how to reach Ooty.
How to Reach Ooty (from within INDIA):
You could reach the place by air, rail and road, whichever mode suits you.
By Air:The nearest airport to Ooty is Coimbatore at a distance of 100 Km. This airport will well connected to Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. Once you get down here, there are various private and public transport to take you to Ooty. By Rail The Ooty railway station is only 2 km from the heart of the city and other railway station is about 46 km away at Mettupalayam, which on the narrow gauge. The locale is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai.
By Road:With Tamilnadu having a good road network, Ooty too is well connected by good motorable road. There are regular bus services connecting Ooty to Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanniya Kumari, Mysore, Palghat, Calicut and Tirupati.
Distance from Main towns/Cities:
For the international travellers they can fly to any of these Cities which are well connected by Air.
OK now you know how to reach one hot place where trekking is game.
Now, I would give some tips for first time trekker/hikers. Hiking is passionate, everybody wants to do it, but not easy, should realize. It's walking on a uneven surface in the wilderness. Takes lot of energy and strength. In addition, you need to be prepared for the unpredictable twist in the weather. It may start sunny and may end up pouring soon.
Intention of the article is to help a new inexperienced hiker. There is always a preparatory phase before doing serious hiking.
1. Start with short hikes first:
Image via Wikipedia
This is the phase where you can decide whether hiking is your game or not. These kind of short trip gets your muscles prepared. Short hikes can be going into woods nearby for a couple of hours. This will get you up on physical and mental plane. You can do it very weekend. . While you are hiking, there little help when you are in trouble. Getting intelligent on this plane is necessary. The short hikes offer you this lesson. You may encounter weather change, hunger, and exhaustion during the hike. This time, hike being a short one helps you in getting back to a safe place sooner.
If you want to do it the easy way, use short hikes to learn what you can expect before attempting to tackle longer hikes. Always carry water, food, and first aid even though the hike is short. Hiking always springs surprises.
2. Do short hikes when the weather is the nicest.
Hiking means you will be outside for a long time. Summer is the best time for hiking except if you are living in an area that is hot then you may start your hike during spring or even winter when the temperature is more moderate. Choosing a pleasant weather means one less to worry about while learning to hike. You can have variety of challenges once you gain experience. Then you can go out in the less friendly seasons.
3. Hike in a group.
It’s always good, even it is is short hike you plan to, to go in a group. A group could be just 2 people even. This way, there is help if something goes wrong. It would be good if the person accompanying you were an experienced hiker. He or she may hasten your learning and be there to help you in trouble. If there are no friends willing to hike with, you may approach formally organized groups to go with. Check with local hiking clubs, municipal parks, and recreation departments, outdoor supply stores to see if they have some organized hikes scheduled. You may obtain this information on internet too.
There are people who dislike hiking in a group. In case you are one of those, I suggest that you hike with a group until you are experienced enough to do it alone
Hiking means you would be doing lot of walking around. Do not go for footwear that looks good, but for one that is comfortable to walk around with. It need not be the expensive ones, but something cheap that fits snugly to you feet. Hiking boots would be good investment as you have planned to go a long hike soon. Few people prefer hiking with the sandals. I suggest, you do not do it. You will have blisters and cracks on the feet due to exposure to dust. The footwear needs to be comfortable and needs to have the kind of sole that will not have you slipping on any surfaces that are not perfectly flat. Do not leave for long trek in the new boots immediately. Walk around the town in it for some time to get your feet accustomed to the new boots. Else, you may end up with blister on the feet that are very painful.
The cloths you wear are important for the comfortable hike. Generally, I advice through my personal experience, this means loose fitting clothes. Wear loose upper clothing, but wear comfortable sturdy pants, as this would protect you from scratches while you wade through bushes en route. Wearing short is your personal choice, but realize there will be poison ivy on the way and being scratched by them would be painful. Yet it the pants should not be too tight that it eats your skin away. This does not mean that you wear loose cloths that trip you up and prevent your easy movement. Further, the clothing should help your body maintain a comfortable temperature while hiking - not too hot and not too cold. The clothing decisions depend on the area you plan to trek. You can refer few sources to find out what is most appropriate for the area and time of year in which you will be doing your hiking.
6. Paying attention:
Pay attention to gain experience. Start with some short, easy, group hikes. Question when something does not feel right or you don't know what to do. This will help you gain experience soon you will be able to decide for yourself what feels most comfortable to you while you are out hiking.
Few Wilderness Hiking guidelines:
· Packaged food and emergency snacks.
· Carry a Raingear. Weather may take a sudden twist.
· Carry a jacket, hat, and gloves.
· Carry your ID card and emergency medical information.
· Carry large plastic bag. It may come in use sometime.
· Also, take insect repellent, toilet paper, hand wipes, etc.
· Take your cell phone. It may come handy in case you get lost provided you are lucky to be in the signal range. Keep couple of spare cell batteries in case the battery runs out.
· Very important of all, first aid items, including medications, an antihistamine for insect stings, painkiller, etc.
· Wear good sturdy hiking boots.
· Make yourself a hiking stick. It should be light, yet sturdy.
· Wear sturdy pant than shorts.
· Carry a torch and many pairs of batteries.
· Carry disposable plates/tumblers, but do not leave them in the forest.
· Carry water containers. Fill many bottles with drinking water. Expect some fresh water brooks. You may boil the water for consumption. It works out well. But, be careful in analysing the brook. Look around for live healthy insects/fish to confirm if the water is consumable. Healthy insects means the water is consumable.
· Carry a hiking knife to clear your way and protect yourself. Find out first if its legal to do so.
· Carry sleeping backs in case you plan to camp.
· Wear sunscreen if you trek during the day. Carry one with you.
· Carry a tiny gas stove to warm your food.
· Take a alarm clock that is not loud. Helps get going early :-)
· Speak low when in the wilderness. This way you wouldn't have wild animals attention.
· Don't hike in small groups. Large groups mean unruliness.
· Stick to the trail and keep with the groups
· Carry a whistle. In case you get lost, you can whistle to get your groups attention.
· Carry the litter back with you. This way we have the wilderness for future trekker. A the saying goes, “Leave only your footprints, carry only the memories”
· Do not leave the fire that you setup unattended. Put the fire off in the end. Clear the fire area off the dry twigs and grass.
· Carry a compass and learn to use it. It may be helpful in distress.
· Carry matches along with the cigarette lighters. Lighters are best for getting the fire going.
· Do carry a lens in case you feel to make fire the scientific way.
· Do not be over enthusiastic to leave your partners behind.
I believe my notes will help some hikers on the trail…
I will try to put few snaps that I have on my treking expeditions in the blog soon..
If interested, to know more on Ooty Visit,
Have a great hike!