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I have a confession. I love hiking this one mountain called Camelback. ALONE. I do it every week.

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So there is this beautiful mountain. And all i get asked about it is “How many miles ?” or “How long does it take to climb it?” or “isn’t it too hot to hike?”. Mark Twain could write a 10,000 page books without discussing weather and i get asked about weather ! I believe travel and exploration requires the right company. I dont want to share my precious mountain time with the ones who don’t get it. Its the Camelback. Not a stairmaster or inclined treadmill in the gym.

“But in the wake of ‘Bullet,’ all the guys wanted to know was, ‘How’s it doing? How’s it selling?’ How to tell them I didn’t give a flying fuck how it was doing in the marketplace, that what I cared about was how it was doing in the reader’s heart?”
― Stephen King, Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales

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My rewards: I can walk off the trail. Watch the insects and the bees. Look for snakes. Climb random rocks. Admire the cactus when i please. Just sit out there and day dream. I have gotten lost on it and its exhilarating. My niece Neela once famously said, “I don’t want to go to Mt Bonnell because it’s just steps and real hiking has rocks and discovering new things”. Thats a rule to live by.

I have been talked about as the loner who goes to Camelback often. It bothers me. Should i go along with people so that i can chat with along the way ? But i dont know anyone who appreciates it the way a mountain should be.

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One person who understands this feeling is Harsha. And hence i dream of travelling with him. We talk about having our own mountain. Not in a way we buy it or own it. But because we know it intimately. All its secrets, its seasons, its nooks and crannies, …

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My hiking kit. I have been lost before. And i am a women who travels alone. I go prepared. Advantages of travelling alone:

1. On paths that are not set in stone, you need to figure out the way. And its adrenaline rush.

2. Your whims above everyone else.

3. Make friends with fellow mountain climbers.

4. When tired, you can lean on a rock for support. When you get to the top, hug another rock to celebrate.

5. The excitement of danger.

6. Planning and going through with it. Carrying the required backpack and being self sufficient.

7. For photographers, the luxury of picking times that align with sunsets and sunrises. And waiting for the right moments without keeping anyone waiting.

8. Solitude ( its very underrated ).