To many people, walking the alps can be a challenging adventure, especially if they are just venturing on their first trip of this kind. However, many experienced hikers will tell you know that it is one of the most interesting experiences you will ever embark upon.
From the huge snow-capped massifs to the picturesque view of the valleys from the mountain tops and the occasional ibex sighting, there is really no substitute for the experience.
If you are confused about how to start, don’t worry, this post is a careful guide for the beginner and the experienced trekker alike.
1. Choose your hike carefully
There are different hikes on the French Alps, it is important that you choose one according to your strength and capacity. How long is the walk? Does the service offer guided tours? Are you fit enough to start? It is also advisable to see a doctor for a clean bill of health.
Prior to the walk, it might help to get used to walking by taking long evening walks. Start small and increase the distance; from home to the office, to the grocery store and so on. Let your car take a break for a while.
2. Check the weather
This is important because you don’t want nature to spring you any surprises. It is usually safer to trek when the weather is sunny and warm. However, at high-altitudes, the weather can change suddenly.
Before setting out, always confirm the suitability of the weather for that day. If you have any doubts, postpone your trip.
3. Keep to the trails
Avoid going off track- this is one of the common ways people get lost. Another reason is that off-trail hiking (walking on the meadows) can lead to erosion and damage because it makes the meadows vulnerable to floods. Stick to the trail signposts and don’t take shortcuts. Most hiking destinations have several trails. One of the most popular yet equally challenging tours in Europe, the Tour Du Mont Blanc is one of such. The hike can be started from Champex or Martigny in Switzerland, Courmayeur in Italy and the Chamonix or Montjoie valleys in France. Each of the trails are carefully mapped out and require strict adherence for a trouble free adventure. Salamander Adventures, owners of the tourdumontblanc.holiday guided tour site, and all other similar companies take time to discuss routes and trails for optimum safety. You can’t afford to not stick to the trail!
4. Practice sustainable hiking
Allow other hikers to enjoy the trip as much as you do. If you spend time or camp somewhere, clean up after you. If you are travelling as a group (which is advisable for first timers) walk in a file of twos, especially along narrow paths. When you take up the breadth of the trail, it is difficult for other hikers to pass or enjoy the experience.
5. Follow the rules
Every hike has its own set of rules. Most times, they are there to ensure your safety, so avoid breaking them. Protected areas in particular are meant to be protected, hikers are advised to conduct themselves accordingly. No hunting, unnecessary burning or littering of rubbish/plastics.
6. Tell someone about your hiking plans
It is usually recommended that hikers go as a group, or at least as a pair. Solo treks can be dangerous, and it is never a good idea for the inexperienced hiker. Even professionals have got lost on their own.
Finally, always tell somebody at home about your plans and the details of your trek…just in case.