12th Sep 2020
Photo of TREKKING IN THE TIMES OF COVID-19 #PandemicTravel by TheHimalayanGypsy

The spring months are an exciting time if you’re an avid hiker or backpacker.

As the snows melt, the spring flowers bloom and the countryside begins to wake up after long winter sleep, April and May are the perfect months to get out into the great outdoors and on to the trail.

However, this year the story was a little different. At the start of the hiking season, the world found itself in the grip of a deadly pandemic, with more than a third of the global population in some form of lock down.

Photo of TREKKING IN THE TIMES OF COVID-19 #PandemicTravel 1/1 by TheHimalayanGypsy

Social Distancing Everywhere

Social distancing was the new buzzword, face coverings became the new normal, and millions of people were confined to their homes in an unprecedented attempt to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In August, as restrictions lifted and Uttarakhand began to open up, we headed out onto the trail for a much-needed taste of the great outdoors, but what would it be like to go hiking and backpacking in the age of coronavirus?

Rishikesh, by the banks of river Ganga, is studded with temples, yoga ashrams, meditation centers, and wonderful campsites by the river. Apart from offering the magnificent nature views, these camps organize wonderful treks in and around Rishikesh.

Some of the finest treks in Rishikesh lie under the thick cover of the jungles in Rajaji National Park. It is the perfect example of jungle trekking in Rishikesh. These forests have exciting trails that lead travelers to the hidden waterfalls. If you are someone who loves to go on a trek more often, then a waterfall trekking in Rishikesh is just the perfect example to go out and explore nature.

Some of the treks that we did were:

Neer Garh Waterfall Trek

Garud Chatti & Phool Chatti Waterfall Trek

There is another trek which is Neelkanth Mahadev Trek but We couldn’t do it as there were some issues there regarding the Covid restrictions. So, I guess it was still closed.

Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by TheHimalayanGypsy

New Etiquette On The Hiking Trail

In many ways, a hiking trip to one of the Uttarakhand’s incredible national parks is the perfect way to leave behind the stresses and anxieties of the pandemic and find a moment of peace and calm. However, jungle hiking and backpacking haven’t been left untouched by the pandemic.

Out on the trail, we found that new forms of hiking etiquette have developed in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Since the locals were already out there and exploring the park everyday, social distancing applies even when you’re out in the wild, and although the Rajaji National Park is vast, there are some narrow paths where it’s very difficult to keep the regulations from fellow hikers.

Photo of Rajaji National Park, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India by TheHimalayanGypsy

Turning Away on the Trail

It’s now common practice to cover your mouth or turn your face away as you pass other hikers on trails where you can’t keep a sufficient distance from other hikers. It is also important to carry a proper face covering for situations where you may be in close contact with others. For example, you may require a mask at camps sites, in bathrooms, or at viewpoints that may be cramped and crowded.

Photo of TREKKING IN THE TIMES OF COVID-19 #PandemicTravel by TheHimalayanGypsy

Trekking In The Time Of Coronavirus

Our trip to the Rajaji National Park gave us plenty to think about, especially in relation to the recent pandemic. There’s no question that this has been a very difficult time for millions of people across the country, who have lost their jobs, been ill, and in some cases even lost loved ones. The prolonged confinement and uncertainty associated with the pandemic has also taken its toll, increasing stress, anxiety, and worry.

Trekking in nature is one of the best ways to combat these problems. Studies have demonstrated that just a short walk in a natural setting can help to lower blood pressure, boost your mood, and even reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. There’s never been a better time to get out into the great outdoors and enjoy everything that nature has to offer.

But just remember one thing, cases are still on the rise so you need to be very careful.