Archive for April, 2009

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 25 We had an exciting ride to the trailhead today, on a pickup truck. The beginning of the hike was up the Azzibe valley. The beautiful stream had many pools of crystal clear water and smooth rock beds. After hiking in knee deep grass and flowers, we were back in the rugged highlands. We take a much needed morning stop to pace ourselves. Solitary,  wind swept oaks looked striking against the sun bleached rocks. By mid afternoon we reached the ridge that ...

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 23 We had 2 local guides today. Marwan Khoder from Baakline and Nazih Baz from Baadarane. Both were very knowledgeable in plants and herbal medicines. Marwan took breaks to point out or explain flora and fauna. Here's the team chillin' with some purple orchids. Cos that's how we roll ;-) These Asphodel are much more delicate and stunning in real life. Norbert's photography does much better justice to things like this. The hills are rounder now. You can see some sandstone ...

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 ...

23
Apr

On the 11th of April, I mentioned that video journalist Dana Smilie join us for a day to cover the thru-walk. This is the day we were also joined by more people as it was the weekend. You can see Tannourine waterfall in the beginning of the clip. Very cool! It almost does it justice.  Dana is great, and it didnt take her very long to finish the piece. You can see interviews with Norbert and I as well as some amazing footage from that day. I working on getting the video embedded into the site, but for ...

Day 21 We were joined last night by two Italian photo journalists, Maurizio and Marco. They will be doing an article on the thru-walk for an Italian magazine. All 21 km of our hike today was in the Chouf Cedar Reserve. A good part of today's hike was on a high ridge (1800 m. Elev.). It was amazing because we could see the plain of the Bekaa and Mt. Sheikh to the left and the Chouf landscape all the way to the Mediterranean with the tip of Beirut to the right.

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