This question bothers me a lot. As I look at all the other trekkers around me and think about myself, I realise that a good trekker comes with good qualities. There are better ways to tell if you've learned these things than the number of years spent trekking. Sometimes, these traits are evident right from the start. What are these good qualities?
Humility is Godliness
Humility is the first quality of a good trekker. They wonder about the magnificence of the mountains, rivers, forests, and meadows.
They spend much time in silence and reflection while on a trek. These moments help them understand themselves better.
"I love big mountains" or "I love trekking in Himachal" are not things you'll hear from a good trekker. They just have a real passion for exploring the outdoors. Whatever comes with it, whether rain or sunshine, they are okay with it. Similarly, good trekkers rarely talk about conquering a summit or a pass! They rarely feel disappointed if they are unable to complete a trek. For them, the journey is the reward.
Good team players
Good trekkers know that trekking is more of a team sport than an individual achievement. They'll stay with the group until even the weakest member has crossed a difficult section. Good trekkers like to celebrate a trek’s success with everyone. They are seldom the first on the summit, even if they are fit enough to be there.
Giving is better than receiving
Good trekkers never ask for things but are always ready to give. Sharing their lunch, water, and gear doesn’t have to be taught to them. They don’t differentiate between young and old or between their friends. They don’t distinguish between the time of day and the moment when it comes to sharing.
A Helping Hand
In the same vein, they always help. They often lend a hand at a cost to themselves but rarely ask for help. They’ll rarely tell you what to do or how to do things.
A good trekker is always up for helping others through the tricky sections, like crossing a cold, Himalayan stream on the Miyar Valley trek. Photo by Jothiranjan.
Efficient and Independent
They always pack light. They never pack for “if” moments. Their backpacks rarely cross 8-9 kg on a six-day Himalayan trek. It includes their woollens. They are not superhuman or extra immune to the cold; they pack sensibly. Also, they almost always carry their backpacks.
Fitness Comes First
They are fit. It helps them walk smartly and end the trek comfortably. They rarely tire. They have an energy reserve to wander around campsites or deviate from known trails. They love doing this.
Frugal with food and mindful of Impact
They eat frugally on treks. On a long trekking day, they bite into a fruit or munch on some nuts. They prefer to eat at camps. They don’t need to eat chocolate or toffee to feel energised. They seem to draw their energy from the task at hand.
Good trekkers are also mindful of the impact of what they eat on the ecosystem around them. They refrain from eating Maggi at dhabas or carrying packaged snacks.
Good trekkers are sensitive and mindful about where they are. They are mindful of their behaviour in a village or with the locals. They are sensitive to the flora and fauna when on the trail. They refrain from yelling or making loud noises, even in the open. They know this can disturb animals, birds, and even fellow trekkers.
There are other virtues that I could add to these. However, they would be extensions of the core values I have listed here.
I am curious to know your views on what makes a good trekker. Do share in the comments box below.