Trying to arrest tyrants like Robert Mugabe is a tiring, stressful business. Even I need a break. So I headed for Palm Springs, California, to indulge my passion for mountain hiking.
Palm Springs is no ordinary desert resort. A mere half a mile from the main street, mountains rise steeply to nearly 11,000 feet. During winter, while the town basks in 28?C sunshine, the peaks are sub-zero and snow-capped.
The morning after my arrival, I set off for the summit of Mount San Jacinto (10,804 feet). Surprisingly, I was the only hiker. But that was fine by me. Like Greta Garbo, sometimes I love to be alone. From 8,000 feet upwards, the air was a chilly 2?C and the trail was dotted with snowdrifts. With the sun blazing fiercely through the cloudless, thin atmosphere, I soon worked up a sweat.