After the last two treks, here is what I learned (which I hope to use by the next one):

  1. My current bag needs to be retired. It’s no longer rigid and does not distribute load properly, which leads to the straps painfully digging into my shoulders (in spite of the padding). Might still use it, but just to carry a smaller day pack and a change of clothes.
  2. Hydration packs help. Definitely will reduce the need to stop just to take a sip of water, once I get one
  3. I also need a new camera bag, preferably one with an all weather cover (like the splendid Lowepro AW series). My current shoulder bag is brilliant for sight-seeing trips etc. but tends to put me off balance while trekking (not to mention the constant swinging of the bag). Also given that I generally take along just the 18-55mm lens while trekking, for now I think taking along a top loading “V-style” bag would do the trick. Should get one.
  4. A trekking pole will definitely help. Need to get one to take the pressure off the knees while climbing down steep sections.
  5. While trekking down in the dark, realised the utility of a head lamp. A head lamp definitely helps keep the hands free while climbing down.
  6. A leech bite ain’t the worse thing, it’s the aftermath that is. The bite keeps oozing blood for hours thanks to anti-coagulant in the leech saliva. Messes up clothes, socks and everything. Need to figure out someway to counteract this.
  7. And the bite itches like crazy while healing. Calamine lotion helps.
  8. “Moov” spray (heat rub spray) is surprisingly effective in getting rid of climbing leeches. Must be the eucalyptus oil and other herbs in it, or the propellant used in the spray. Spraying shoes with “Moov” before trekking into leech infested areas (and re-spraying frequently) seems to deter leeches from climbing onto the shoes.
  9. Need to figure out an effective way to pull out an attached leech. Read a lot of contradicting advice on the net, so still not sure if popping the leech’s sucker is a good idea or just using salt/ “Moov”.
  10. Need to find me a pair of Anti-Leech Socks. (If anyone knows where I can find one in Bangalore, please let me know)
  11. It’s possible to wash away blood stains almost completely with just a detergent soak and a hand wash.
  12. Action Trekkers are by far the most brilliant (and need I say cheapest) trekking shoes I’ve used to date. Excellent grip on all surfaces and not too heavy and relatively leech proof to boot as well (hardly any leeches got into my shoes).
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