The Author: Hana El-Hibri
Hana El-Hibri began her mountaineering career with a 30-day expedition in Wyoming, and her writing career on a 30-day trek in Lebanon. In the 30 years in between, she has had three children, lived in four countries, and hiked in five different mountain ranges in the US, France, Switzerland, and of course, Lebanon. She occasionally dreams of chocolate, and is suspected of harboring a secret.
The Photographer: Norbert Schiller
Norbert Schiller, an American-born Austrian, has been one of the most prolific news photographers in Middle East for the last three decades. His main work has been with AP, AFP, EPA, UPI, Getty Images, Der Spiegel and the New York Times (although he did work briefly as a goatherd in Greece). His books include Arak and Mezze: The Taste of Lebanon, Wines of Lebanon – which won the Gourmand Award for best New World Wine Book 2005 – Spectacular Egypt, and Be Thou There, The Holy Family’s Journey in Egypt. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his Lebanese wife and two children.
The Story: Why Write the Book?
Since her first hiking experience in the Rockies of Wyoming, Hana El-Hibri has always felt the lure of the mountains. Having lived abroad for most of her life, it was only natural that when she and her family moved back to Lebanon in 2003, Hana set out to discover the Lebanese mountains. Upon hearing of the Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT), her idea for the book was born.
Being a first time author, the prospect of publishing a book that would do justice to something as special as the LMT was, to say the least, daunting and intimidating. But Hana felt there was a compelling story to be told, creating awareness about a side of Lebanon that few people know exists. The Lebanon that is accessible only by foot. Its fragile ecology that is continuously under threat and pressing environmental issues. There is a dire need for conservation, not only of nature but the history, culture and heritage of the mountains.
Hana approached ECODIT and the LMTA with her book concept. They were very enthusiastic and supportive. When the plan to have the first thru-walk came up, they invited Norbert and Hana to be on the core team of six who would be the privileged first to hike the entire 440 km. trail.