Now as the entire world is stopped due to novel corona virus; we all have understood the importance of going out. We all are locked down in our homes, some are locked at work places and some are locked down at community hospitals saving lives.
I am a trekker. And I go trekking every now and then. I go in wilderness at least once a week. And apart from that I am a daily runner. I run every day. Everything has been stopped now. Things have been stopped only for us to make sure that we have better lives post pandemic.
As I spend entire day just sitting at home, watching Television, reading books, surfing internet; I am missing trekking a lot. This thought of trekking made me write an article about trekking so that new comers can benefit from it.
There are plenty of articles and videos on internet about what trekking is and the benefits of trekking. You just have to go to google and search with ‘What is trekking’ keywords and you get loads of article links. I am not going to go in the same topic now. Rather I shall be writing something which is least talked about.
Why is trekking so expensive?
Trekking is basically an activity conducted for more than one day and walking in rustic, natural world. In this activity we have to stay for one or more nights outdoors. Especially in India people go trekking different peaks in Himalayas or regional mountain ranges. Maharashtra has become a trekking hotspot over a few decades now. We have seen great trekkers like Gopal N Dandekar, Anand Palande, Usha Page, Nandu Page are a few names who have trekked Sahyadri and made very useful notes which are helping people like us even now.
Over the time, as globalization and IT revolution happened, Maharashtra has become hub for corporate & businesses. This has attracted youth and families to come to Maharashtra. This newly relocated population, with their limited time resources and lack of local knowledge and language, has opened a new horizon for some to organize trekking events in metropolitan cities of Maharashtra. Not only this newly relocated population but also the younger generation of Maharashtra also has adapted to the global business and employment trends. This GenX don’t have time as well patience to study, plan and organize trek themselves. This new generation is totally dependent on trek organizers now a days. So the organizers have to keep the prices as per the industry standards so that they themselves can also lead the same life style as their counter customers are leading. And there is nothing immoral at all in this. They charge for services and food of which the corporate customers are used to.
Trekking, as a hobby if one develops strategically, learns and adapts the basics of Trekking, then it’s not expensive. Now a days there is a trend that trekking is something that anyone can buy with money. And that’s the reason many people started selling trekking as a service in which they are offering city facilities to attract more customers. People need bottled water when they go trekking, people want to boose around campfire when they go trekking, people want travel luxury when they go trekking, people want cozy beds when they go trekking, people want super glamorous, shining toilets when they go trekking, People want tasty delicious ready platter food when they go trekking, people want everything without taking efforts and these are the reasons why trekking is so expensive.
I remember some of our treks which we did in record low cost. We did Pratapgad (one night stay), Mahabaleshwar(two night stays), kamalgad(one night stay) a total of 4 night stays trek in just 103 Rs. This cost included mostly transport cost and food ration. We never bought ready platter food or a cup of tea while on treks. We managed to cook everything ourselves with whatever ration that we had. We carried all the grains, necessary masalas, salt, tea powder, milk powder etc with minimum utensils, in every participant’s backpacks. There are many more treks I still remember during which we spent bare minimum money.
And one more thing, we still do such treks where in the cost involved is of only for transport and food ration or packed food everybody bring themselves. We don’t buy bottled water whilst trekking. Alternatively you can request locals also to help you with village food which wouldn’t cost much. This way you help generate employment as well to the locals, in right way.
If you still rely on some organizer to arrange food for you and arrange luxury for you, then trekking is expensive for you. If you want to develop this hobby you can go along with some group initially and learn best trekking practices. Find your suitable trek mates and stick to them only for the life time if possible. If you could do this, then trekking is not expensive for you.
Hemant S Vavale
Author of this article, along with Yashdeep and Sanjay run an enterprise with name nisargshala. This place is for city dwellers to experience nature at its best, near Pune. You can do camping, trekking, rappelling, waterfall rappelling, BBQ at our place.