Archive for the ‘Places We Stayed’ Category

Day 29 Members of the youth organization SOIL (Save Our Inherited Land) gave us a very warm welcome last night in Hasbaya. They manage the LMT guest house here, and do it with great enthusiasm and energy. A brief walk through the streets of Hasbaya lead us out into the fields and terraced olive groves. We skirted the heavily wooded oak forest of Hasbaya through shoulder high grass, flowers and thistle. There was an abundance of thick trunked olive trees. Many over 1000 yrs. old. In the town of Ibl El Saqi we met ...

Day 28 Both we left this morning, our host took us upon his terrace to look at Rashaya from above. It is a very picturesque town with red roofs and cobblestone roads. The trek today was through the foothills of Mt. Hermon. We hiked through many orchards and olive groves. We encountered farmers tending to their plots. Many times it would be an elderly couple working together. We got in to Hasbaya at 6:30. Most ...

Day 27 A view of Lake Qaroun at 6 AM this morning. We crossed over from Aitanite to the environs of the town of Qaroun via the dam's retaining wall. The fields of wheat and flowers are shoulder high. We came upon a valley, nestled between 2 hills that had many different crops juxtaposed: olives, grapevines, wheat, almonds and potatoes. Joseph Karam told me that the grapes here are the best edible grapes in the country. We stopped briefly at Kawkaba for water ...

Our last rest day of the trip was definitely one to remember. The 4 ajnabis (foreigners) (Norbert, Wim and the 2 Italians) went with Padre to finalize their passes from the army. When they came back, some went to visit a new water treatment plant. The rest of us stayed and relaxed on the sunny terrace. Nada (our host) had prepared a barbecue picnic lunch. We lazed around all afternoon enjoying the view. We piled into a mini-van and drove to the nearby source ...

Day 24 This is the last weekend of the thru-walk. In some ways, it feels like its gone by so quickly but it also feels like we were taking the bus up north years ago. We were joined last night by 15 more hikers. It was a rather steep 300 m of uphill to the shrine of Nabi Ayoub (prophet Job). Here are Marco and Maurizio, the Italian journalists I mentioned yesterday,  with the caretaker of the shrine. The terrace has a panoramic view of the surrounding area. We could see ...

Day 22 Mirna and Ziad Boustani prepared us a wonderful breakfast. I am always amazed by how many ancient cedars there are in this reserve, many over 2000 years old. You can see us forming a ring around a 3000 year old cedar below! At the site of the Lamartine cedar we relaxed and took a lunch break. There was a busy little mouse, totally unphased by us, making a nest in the rocks. Norbert skillfully took this picture and we decided to ...

Day 20 Our host, Abu Tareq, made us a big breakfast of Kishk today. Abu Tareq loves to feed us. Here he is: On our way to the trailhead we spotted a white topped eagle. We reached the Beirut-Damascus highway at around 10 am. We cross at the Dajr El Baydar pass, but this time from north to south. The ISF were curious and seemed quite impressed with what we were doing. They jokingly asked if we needed an escort. Here is

Day 19: Rest Day We woke up to chorus of frogs and birds. It is very quiet for a town this size. Sadly, many mountain villages are inhabited by 20% of their population for most of the year. This was a much needed day of rest for all of us to catch up on wash, work and reorganization. Our host, Abou Tareq told us about his efforts to limit over development. He had also been an experienced bee keeper for many years. The day went by pleasantly with a perfect ...

It was a chilly, cloudy morning, but we still get a beautiful view of the slopes of Mt. Sannine. After an hour, we were able to see Baskinta across the valley. When we reached the Mishmishe area, our guide pointed out the site of the ruins of a Roman city. There were several Sarcophagii. Some of the boulders have ancient Egyptian carvings. On the way to Mtain, we saw the villages of Mrouj, Dhour Shoueir and Bologna all scattered below us. When we arrived ...

One break a week is all we get. Today we rest in Afqa and are able to finally wash off the accumulation of dirt and mud from the past 3 days. There is a group here for a rock climbing course. We meet Henri who used to train the Lebanese army in rock climbing. Break days are the only days we get proper lunches and we aren't used to them anymore. We all fall into our little food comas.This is the view from my cabin.