Among Islamabad's young out-goers "Trail 3" has already reached stratospheric popularity. The trail situated on the Margalla Hills starts from F-6/3. The track looks nondescript at first, but as one hikes uphill, he starts moving away from civilization and enjoys the serenity of nature. The lush green trees and sweet aroma of the wilderness bespeak the quintessential form of nature. The cool early morning breeze freshens up any nightmares from yesterday. But beware of the ephemeral cool air and mild temperature, as the sun shines at noon, the summer heat becomes unbearable. Throughout the hike one will come across a menagerie of people, from retired officers to foreigners to a group of university students. A few of the ardent hikers have been going up to these hills for twenty years now, three to four times a week. Many however have found the trail to their liking after the CDA made improvements to the tracks. There are small huts along the way with stools and benches to rest upon. Many hikers allow themselves a break to enjoy the picturesque view of our dear city. Don't be surprised if you see people running on the tracks, with music blaring from their I-pod headphones and a bamboo-stick in their hands. This is because there is always a chance to come across a naughty monkey, so it is better to be prepared. Mainly there are two tracks, one is paved and smoothed out for an easy walk, and the other is a rocky steep hike. Other than that there are many alternate routes and shortcuts which can be taken to hike up the hill. The altitude of the Margalla Hills ranges from 640 to 1580m. The length of the trails range from 1.5 km to 15 km and further on. The time it takes to go uphill depends on the type of track and the speed of the hiker, but it will take approximately an hour and a half to go uphill for an average man. In all, these tracks cater to the needs of a zealous as well as a casual hiker. The trails on Margalla Hills will eventually lead up to Mount Happiness also known as Garani in the local language. This spot can also be reached if you start from Trail 1 or Trail 2. Usually hikers start from Daman-e-Koh, to Pir Suhawa and follow the tracks going upwards from there. There are several sign boards installed by the CDA for convenience. As for the bookworms, there are small resting places or huts along the trail with little stools with pillars to lean against or benches with a view of the lush green vegetation around. With a slight breeze often blowing, it is a good reading spot. The ubiquitous little ants do at times like to have their share of fun by climbing on you if you are too still, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. It is easy to immerse oneself in the serene and rustic environment while strolling under the green canopy of the branches with golden sunlight giving everything a dreamy touch. But it is not hard to find traces of 'civilization' along the way. Such as the trash strewn all along the trail. Being the Pakistani qaum that we are, trash is littered right next to the bright green dustbin proclaiming "USE ME". Plastic bottles and chewing gum rappers are quite common. One may even come across a bright red (albeit empty) packet of KFC fries. This can make one hungry, if not altogether revolted. Parents are often seen going to the trail after dropping their kids at school, such as a mother in her kola-pooris (traditional slippers). So hiking boots or even sneakers are not rigor for a walk on the trail. You can be casually dressed in your Sunday morning clothes. Just make sure you have put on some sunscreen for the day and mosquito repellant for late evenings. Hiker's paraphernalia is required for those planning to make it all the way up. Pakistan is not a great tourist destination, therefore there are not many travel books for Islamabad-newbies. There are only two guidebooks in one of the largest bookstores here, and even those books are in a dire strait to be updated, as these trails are not mentioned. Any good travel guide would not want you to miss out on such a charmingly simple hike under the green canopy. So if you are bored with the monotony of your remaining summer holidays, put on your sneakers and go for a hike in the mountains. It is sure to jazz you up.