Saturday March 2, 2013
Tips for volcano trekkers
By Ming Teoh
1. Be aware
Trekkers will be exposed to poisonous vapour and volcanic ash should there be any volcanic activity. Hence, it is best to make your arrangements through a reliable travel operator. Be sure to keep in constant contact with them prior to your travel/trekking dates, to make sure it is a “safe time” for your trek.
2. Follow instructions
This not only means your guide’s instructions. If there are signboards posted up in the trekking area prohibiting trekkers from doing certain things, or going beyond certain areas, there is usually a good reason, such as preventing injuries or even fatalities.
3. Stick together
If you are travelling on your own, then stick to your guide. If you are travelling with a bunch of friends, make sure that you watch out for one another. Keep to the proper path and do not go off on your own because you might lose your way, especially if it gets misty and/or dark.
4 .Be properly attired
Weather conditions are unpredictable and may change drastically within the same day. Hence, it is advisable to layer your clothing so that you can easily take off or add on layers, as required.
5. Have proper shoes
Volcano trekking usually involves not just trekking through a jungle path or volcanic soil, but often, also volcanic rock. Some rock climbing may be involved, so make sure the soles of your shoes have good grip, to prevent slipping.
6. Travel light
The further and higher you trek, your load will seem to get heavier. Carry a small (and light) backpack that will evenly distribute the weight between your shoulders, so that it will be easier for you when trekking/climbing, rather than have all the weight on one shoulder.
7. Travel smart
Pack your belongings, such as your handphone or wallet, in a plastic bag. This is to prevent your valuables from being damaged should it rain. Do not wear expensive jewellery or a watch, unless it is shockproof/waterproof/dustproof. If you are bringing your camera, make sure it is likewise “protected”.
8. What to bring
Some recommended items to bring along: sufficient water, sunblock, natural insect repellent, isotonic drinks to prevent leg cramps, oral rehydrating salts, plaster (in case you get blisters or injuries), raincoat, mask (to protect against inhalation of the toxic sulphur fumes and also volcanic ash/dust), small torchlight.
9. Replenish your energy
Pack light snacks or food such as nuts, fruit, power bars, biscuits, chocolate, in case you get hungry along the way, and also to replenish your energy.
10 . Don’t forget
If you are on any medication, remember to bring it along. If you are asthmatic, the volcanic ash and sulphur fumes might aggravate your condition, so make sure you also bring your inhaler and a mask.
Trekking Indonesia's Mount Ijen