I was enjoying a day of hiking on the Serra de Segària near Dénia, Spain. As I made my ascent, I began to see more and more of the rugged and mountainous landscape which gives this area its unique beauty. Off in the distance I saw what looked like a large rock jutting up out of the earth. I recognised the shape of the mountain I had climbed just the week before…and my photographers mind came online.

As my gaze rested for a moment on Él Montgó, I considered how amazing this view was. Climbing Él Montgó had been a pleasurable experience. I felt a sort of intimate connection. I always think of mountains as living beings, albeit beings with a different relationship to time than we humans. But, being just as much part and parcel of life as we are, I imagine them as having a personality of sorts. My experience of mountains is that they are strong and supportive, like a good and dear friend.

Climbing a mountain is an experience in intimacy. The mountain is big, I am small. The mountain has been there for thousands, possibly millions of years. I have just managed 51. I wind my way along small pathways, always seeing only a part of the mountain, never really grasping the immensity of it. Just caught up in the immediate details of the experience. When I reach the top, I am greeted by the vastness of the surrounding landscape.

While hiking on the south side of Serra de Segària, I was constantly greeted with the sight of Él Montgó in the distance. This was another type of intimacy. To view Él Montgó from this vantage point was to see the mountain in its entirety. It was as if it were saying: “Yes, you climbed me. You saw a part of me. But look at me now in all my magnificence!”