Hiking is a good reward you may want to give to your soul, but it’s also tough and sometimes challenging if not to some extent dangerous. This post is meant to provide some practical tips to make your hiking trip as enjoyable and safe as you wish it to be- with some guidelines related to preserving the mountains ecosystem and natural beauty.
Bear in mind that the following tips are basically associated with hiking terrains in Egypt in general, and the Graceful mountainous region and natural protectorate of St. Katherine in particular.
i) Hiking Tips
– During your hiking trip you’ve got to stick to the Trail and avoid shortcuts, otherwise you may lose your way.
– Never attempt to wander off on your own, stick to your team and keep the footpaths.
– Try not to look behind while walking, it may cause you to slip and get hurt.
– Try as much as you can not to use the Walkie- talkie for unnecessary chats. (You may need walkies only if you’re hiking with a large group and you have leaders’ assigned to handle sub-groups of hikers- only then you may need to communicate with those leaders every now and then)
– Avoid loud voice; it disturbs the prevailing serenity of the place.
– Carefully watch your footsteps, pay strict attention to where you place your foot and make sure your first foot is stable before you get the second one completing the step.
– Do not litter.
– Do not drink from any wells, sometimes water is not treated for human use. You may consult a Bedouin guide first or the leader.
– Keep a trash bag with you or any of your group members.
– Keep in mind that all mountains and valleys are non-smoking areas.
ii) Health Tips for Hikers
To have a safe and enjoyable hiking experience, please take the following few tips into consideration:
– One of the most irritating setbacks that may water down your joy during the hike is sunburns, so make sure you apply a considerable amount of quality sun-block cream, and renew it by applying a new layer every 2 to 3 hours.
– Avoid foot blisters, for they can ruin your hike entirely. So make sure your hiking shoes is at least one size bigger and wear thick socks. Tight shoes can bang your foot fronts and thus nails to its walls while descending steep ramps, leaving your foot in miserable condition.
– Watch high grasses through your hike, some are harmful to the skin, and some may have spines that can cause some injuries.
– Take the first 15 to 20 minutes of the hike as slowly as you can and practice deep rhythmic breathing until your breath starts picking up, this shall warm you up and raise your endurance.
– Do some stretching exercises for at least 5 minutes before you start your hike.
– Pay a strict attention to breakfast, morning meal is your first and most needed source of energy through the hike.
– Devote at least 5 minutes every two hours during your hike for stretching your muscles while they’re warm.
– Drink enough water to keep your body well hydrated. By the end of your day-long hike, you should have consumed between from 1.5 to 2 liters of water.
iii) Environmental Tips:
In order to help preserve the ecosystem and natural cleanness in the mountains you’re hiking through; please bear the following in mind.
– Don’t pollute water with food wastes of any sorts even if liquid leftovers.
– Try to use eco-toilettes, some spots are assigned for that particular purpose, if you missed the chance to use them, then natural toilette spots of your choice should be at least 100 meters away from water resources.
– Burn your toilette papers after burying them along with your bodily wastes. (Be careful while doing so and make sure fire doesn’t reach plants)
– Empty tins and water bottles can be squeezed to facilitate carrying them in your a trash bag.
– Leave no wastes or food leftovers behind.
– Don’t mess with plants, birds, or animals that happen to exist in the protectorate, this includes any attempt to uproot plants, disturb animals, or hunting (Law 102 of 1983 prohibits any of these acts).
– Don’t attempt to eat fruits planted in Bedouins’ Orchards, such trees are considered private property, the sanctity of which shouldn’t be traversed.
– Don’t draw on stone boulders.
– As a show of appreciation for the Bedouin community, please bear the following in mind:
1. Do not attempt to photograph local Bedouins without asking their permission, especially women.
2. Bedouin women are shy by nature, so men should thankfully stay away from attempting to chat with them.
3. Buying Bedouin crafts stands as an essential support to their incomes.
iv) Hiking terrains in Sinai are usually:
– Flat terrains
– Slippery slopes
– Steep ramps
– And sometimes the Trail is not clearly engraved (especially when its not very popular and doesn’t get regular visits), and that’s why you have to stick to the leader and your group so as to not risk losing your way.
– Over and above all beautiful and exotic sceneries.
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”
By Maha Youssuf
First published on Sahara Safaris Website