Growing up in Dubai, I didn’t really understand what hiking was, what people got out of it, and what joy you could possibly get from walking through luscious green forests. As amazing of a city as Dubai was (and still is), and as much as I love it, there’s no denying that you can’t really enjoy a good hike in Dubai – let alone even have the opportunity to go for one. Even with my brief stint living in India while pursuing my undergraduate degree, I still didn’t have that opportunity and for the most part, didn’t really think I was missing out on anything. India though was nothing like Dubai. There’s a lot of greenery and tons of mountains to scale with the biggest and only downside being that those forests and mountains aren’t so welcoming to someone hiking for the first time. You don’t get pre-defined trails, markings, maps, or even cellphone coverage in places you’d generally go hiking which made it a really difficult endeavor to pursue in India.
Everything changed when I moved to the States. I still remember hiking a small part of the mighty Appalachian trail for the first time and realizing how rewarding and satisfying hiking really is.
Lucky for me, I was surrounded by people who shared the same interest and love for hiking as I did, which made things a whole lot easier for me.
2019 was the first year in my life that I hiked more than 100 miles. The best of those hikes was in Colorado. My girlfriend and I were there for 7 days and we hiked 8-12 miles every day for 5 days. Most of these hikes had elevation changes between 800-2000 feet which might not seem like much, but for an amateur like myself, turned out to be quiet exhausting. But that was the best part though. To me, the difficulty and/or challenge of a hike is directly proportional to the satisfaction I get from it. So those tiring hikes are still the best hikes of my life and I still remember how rewarding it felt.
My goal for 2020 was to try and hike more than 200 miles but we all know how difficult that became due to Covid-19. It’s not like any of the parks were closed for an extended period of time – that’s not what stopped me – it was because I had to promise my really paranoid mother (whom I love very much) that I wouldn’t go out much. I did start hiking again at the beginning of July though. I don’t have an idea of how I lived without it for a couple of months but I’m so happy to be back at it again.
I’d feel a lot more comfortable to go hiking in India now that I’ve had all that exposure and would really love to hike the Himalayas someday, hopefully. As John Muir would say, “Going to the mountains is like going home.”
Aditya Revankar joined Clark Nexsen in 2018 as a fire protection engineer graduate. He holds a Master of Engineering degree in fire protection engineering from University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from PES Institute of Technology in Bangalore, India. Aditya works in our Virginia Beach office.