Trekking Culture in France

CAM01104Hello.. How are you readers? Have you been traveling lately? What is your favorite destination for family traveling? Is it mountain or beach or mybe just hang around in the city to feel the ambiance of city life? If you ask me, my answer would be mountain, mountain and then beach. Haha! Yes, we (my husb and i) are so much in love with mountain. Each country we have traveled we tried to explore its nature through trekking in mountains. This gave us different experience  in trekking because each place has their own culture.

Talking about culture, France is a country that amazes me with their trekking culture. I don’t know if this term is common or not but i concluded so based on my observation during trekking here. I highlighted some points that we (most of trekkers) barely have this back in my country

  1. Availability / Accessibility of map contour

I used to deal with maps in Indonesia back in 2006-2011, i knew how difficult the access was, especially for amateurs (non-professional). I never understand why, BAKORSURTANAL (board who survey and map all region in Indonesia) are over protective for these maps even for public. It is obligatory to write a purchase letter with head letter of company where you work. This is silly.. because not all trekker who want to buy the map work in a fancy mining/oil/geo company. It means if i were a ‘warung vendor’ there is no way i can buy their contour map, there is no way i can have geographic information of area i want to visit. So, don’t be surprise if you see young/student trekker in a big group without even a piece of ma

2. Orienting before and during trekking

Orienting is a skill. Even though now smartphones are completed with GPS, you will have to read the map, at least to plan your trip, breakdown the itinerary, orienting as often as needed and this what i saw during trekking in France. Everybody have map in their hands and they orient from time to time. I love this atmosphere, the atmosphere of knowing where you are going and where you are exactly. Therefore, you know what to prepare in your backpack because from the map you can estimate how long you will walk (even in a day trip), how the terrain would be (then you choose your equipment wisely)

3. Clear Path and Signs

Well, this matter is back again to policy from whoever authorize. From my point of view, the safety and security hold important role to have these facilities available in a country. Again, if trekking becomes one of culture that growth in society, of course the authorize would do better regard either maintain the current footpaths or develop footpath possibilities that may be accessible by the trekkers. One example, i did light trekking in Cantal when i was 5 months pregnant. Crazy? NO! not at all, because we had so many options of footpath we could take. It really depends on your fitness level, either beginner, intermediate or advance and it was informed on the sign time estimation of each footpath. So, no wonder i often saw old couple or maybe a small family with kids (4-10 years old) who were doing trekking, it was very convenient to have information also clear and wide path.

4. Independent Trekker is NORMAL

First, i don’t against guide neither the trekker who use it. For me, guide is someone who lead the expedition (untouchable jungle for example) or someone who can explain to you in the museum. It’s okay i think if some of National Parks have their own guide to lead the group during trekking but at least also give freedom for the trekker doing trekking without guide. That is why the importance of point number 3. In France almost all National Park are free, no entrance ticket and no guide for trekking. And i still remember that weird look, when we were in Rinjani. We were four and without guide. Along the path we met numbers of people in a big groups where each group was lead by a guide. That weird look from (i presume) the guides and porters were so intimidating because we had either guide neither porter to go to base camp. No offence, it was just.. come on guys! It’s normal right to choose to walk our path without guide? We were well equipped and you know the path in Rinjani?? there was always a bit of trash here, there and everywhere, you wouldn’t get lost unless the weather is terribly bad.

5. Trekking is NOT ALWAYS in Mountain

This is what i think most of people mislead. Trekking is not always going to highest mountain or summit in a mountain. Trekking could be in mountainous but doesn’t always like that, i enjoy bush walking as well, or in the wild savanna. Of course, if it’s in mountain the atmosphere would be super fantastic but hey, we knew that the footpath to go to summit is not always easy for most of people therefore let’s not make it as an obstacle not to do trekking. I am more on the side that trekking is for everybody who loves being close to the nature and connected to the earth, so it doesn’t have to be tough like Everest just to do trekking, right? Unfortunately, this is not the idea that everybody agree, back in my country so no wonder that most of young people thought trekking in a mountain is so bloody cool that they will do it just for existent then forgot to aware on safety and security matters.

Alright, that’s all my review this time. Again, i knew i don’t have capacity (it’s not my purpose neither) to compare like apple to an apple, it’s just my opinion that we can always learn from whoever and whenever. Trekking is not just ‘mode’ for me (for us), it’s a when we can do it differently in one place than other places, of course it’s a pleasure to take note and learn. If you love trekking as well, i’d love to hear some of different culture relates to trekking that you have been experienced, it’d be fun!



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