KINTAMANI, Bali — On the road to Mount Batur, our driver snaked past jade rice terraces that descended into palm-filled valleys. Men worked in front of shops and homes, bending penjors — long, decorative bamboo poles that dangle festive offerings over the asphalt, a tribute to the gods and a symbol of the mountain.
When we reached Batur, an active volcano, I asked him to drive past the guide station. Every hike my wife and I had taken in Southeast Asia required a guide. I was tired of being chaperoned.