Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Trekking

Trekking to Sadd Shabrouh: A dam in Keserwan Lebanon

Note 1: Re-edit of “Trekking about Sadd Shabrouh”. Written in July, 2007 and posted in August 2009

Note 2: I opened a special category on my blog “Travel/Excursion” to collect all my trips stories.

Note 3: We have conducted an excursion in the the valley before it was inundated a couple of years before this trekking. We had enjoyed our excursion and ate at a “restaurant” there.

I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and the weather was sunny and hot.

I read the daily “Al Balad” that we received for free for an entire year as a promotion campaign. I performed my exercises and fed the chicken.

Joanna was busy calling: she was programming a walking trip to “Sadd Shabrou7” around Faraya.  Joanna was also planning to end the day at Cherries’ for karaoke night in honor of her sister Ashley’s birthday.  She asked me to join the trekking expedition and I agreed.

I packed a spare of undershirt and socks and a light rain jacket and some biscuit and peanuts and I waited for everybody to be ready.

We waited for Ashley to come back from mass because she was not aware of this “surprise” excursion.  Cedric could not go because he hurt his fingers and the skin of his feet while playing wild basketball yesterday.

We drove off in two cars. Joanna took Ashley and retrieved Tony at St. Elie Movie Theater in Antelias. William took Adrea, Chelsea, David and I.

We met at Aoun supermarket in Zouk and they purchase a few items to eat.

Adrea waited in the car in the underground parking lot because she is pretty lazy.  We resumed our travel around 2 p.m. and William picked up Hanane at her home at Ballouni and we met at Yuhanna’s house in Ajaltoun.  From there, Yuhanna drove his car and carried Joanna, Ashley, Tony and Chelsea.

We arrived and parked our cars in the monastery parking lot and started our walk after getting some information and references from a passerby.

I wore a small towel under my cap and took the lead, hunched in a comfortable stature, and distanced the straggling group for 5 minutes and stopped and took off my top clothes and dried in the sun until they joined me.

I again advanced the group because I felt that keeping a fast and steady pace is relaxing for me, otherwise I will slacken off and my back might ache from slow walking.

I tried to investigate a promising path off the beaten road which was starting to bore me. Ashley asked me to backtrack.  I figured it was a good path that ultimately would merge with the beaten road.

We waited for the rest to join us and it seems that Adrea had trouble with her shoes that she didn’t wear for quite a time.

I took the lead again and decided for another off path and William came after me, looking very frustrated and said that we should stick together as a group and keep to the road. 

William and I took shortcuts to rejoin the group and then Joanna asked a driver for the best place to sit down near fresh running water and he gave her the direction of the path that I had already climbed before William came after me.

Thus, we retraced our walk; I suggested a path among the apple groves but they decided to take short cuts and climb a hill which took my breath out and had to sit down for a couple of minutes to recover.

We reached an area with a small waterfall “shalal” and a flat rock with no trees around.

Yuhanna and Joanna decided to go down among the apple trees to investigate the area.  It was the same apple grove that I intended to cross before I was desisted from in order “to stick to plan”.

Meanwhile, William climbed the rock opposite the road to check if there is a nice area and I removed my tops and my shoes and washed my face and dipped my feet in the icy trickle of water running across the flat rock.

David stored in the icy stream the amassed small apples and pears that he gathered from the trees and we also let our water bottles cool in the water. I had a pear and enjoyed it.

While the remaining group was anxious to go down to the apple grove where Yuhanna located a “nice place” to have lunch, I felt as happy as a clam tanning in the sun, walking bare feet and cooling my feet and rubbing lavender flowers on my hands and having a smoke.

William was pounding on a stone and it turned out to be of silex and he wanted to transform it into a stone knife; he had seen a big silex stone, but when he climbed to retrieve it he could not find it again to bring it back.

Within 15 minutes, Yuhanna asked us to join and we went down to another stream of running water among the apple grove and Yuhanna was frustrated with Chelsea because she was venturing far off the group.

We had lunch. The chips were first to go and Joanna prepared us cheese sandwiches and then we ended up with the Oriole biscuits and other kinds of chocolate covered biscuits; I had also raw peanuts and kept belching for the rest of the trip.

Joanna tried her hands with the kite that she had sent to Yuhanna from London. She failed to make it fly.  David and William drenched Hanane with icy water. I had a comfortable nap while people were chatting away.

Chelsea was a pain for the group in her wandering off, climbing and jumping off walls and rocks and being “har2a”. Obviously, she was a close second to my pain in the ass behavior for discovering new paths. We stayed and rested until 6:30 p.m.

The return path among the apple groves coincided with the path that I had suggested before we climbed the hill.  I took the lead again with Tony who was anxious to terminate the trip. And I never stopped for an hour and a half.

William joined Yuhanna and Joanna to check on a camping area and Chelsea joined them.  After a while we saw Chelsea coming alone grim faced and clutching her right hand and not stopping to talk to us: she had hurt her hand and was furious with Yuhanna.

Ashley decided to walk with Chelsea for the remaining walking trip.  Ashley was even jogging in order to advance me. I kept my fast steady pace and even jogged for a short distance but could not catch up with Chelsea and Ashley. Thus, I arrived third to the parked cars.

William gave us a summary of the statistics of this trip, collected on his cellular. He said that he walked 17,000 steps and the round trip was 11 kilometers and it took us 5 hours and a half, including the resting period, and the average speed was 5 kilometers per hour as a group.

At the suggestion of Yuhanna we had dinner at “Istira7at Al 3erzal” in downtown Farayat.

I refilled many cups of hot tea. We had labheh, baked potatoes, hummus and cucumbers.  I lent Hanane my light jacket to warm up.  Chelsea would not relent and never gave the gang peace or any quietude.  Tony brought up his dish to where we were sitting William and me, at the other end of the table.

Tony said that he usually sit in front of a wall at home to enjoy what he is eating and that when in groups, people eat a lot without noticing; William agreed with Tony and I sat next to Tony and we had a cigarette (the only two smokers).

By the time we paid the bill of 40,000 LL ($25) around 10 p.m. (I didn’t pay a dime: I had none) most of the gang members were exhausted and sleepy.

They decided to drop the karaoke part and go home.  I sat in the back seat: David needs to feel entirely comfortable; William was driving.

Chelsea made herself comfortable and slept on my lap while Adrea was sleeping in the other corner, all crumpled up. David was sleeping in the front.

I was feeling good and full of energy. We arrived at 11:30 and the public electricity was still out since noon.

Mother was awake because she watched the interview with General and Deputy Michel Aoun along with Raymonde and Victor till 11:30.

I watched TV till 12:30 a.m. David slept at Ashley’s. Ashley and Joanna gave Tony ride home.

Note: In that period, Ashley and Tony were sort of boyfriend/girlfriend. They are now married with a girl.

Trekking to the “Promised Paradise”. This “Trekking syndrome”

Note 1:  Re-edited version of the previous post “Promised Paradise way on Nahr Ibrahim (Lebanon), April 2010”

Note 2: I opened a special category on my blog “Travel/Excursion” to collect all my trips stories.

My body is aching from yesterday horrendous adventure.

In the last three weeks, my nephew William has been trekking sections of Nahr Ibrahim (Abraham River, in the district of Byblos) in company of the wonderful and non complaining dog Misha.

Last Friday, my nephew blundered in my earshot that he is going trekking on Saturday.

I invited myself to be part of the trekking party.  My nephew didn’t respond: he was hoping that probably I am jesting. The next day I got my tiny backpack ready for the adventure; my nephew was pretty much lukewarm confronted with this readiness on my part.

(He might have had serious reservations (you might read my post on trekking in Sad Shabrouh for preliminary reasons.)

Obviously, I am wearing my swimming trunk: It is a matter of trekking by a river bed, but my nephew warned me that we will have to “wade” in sections of the river.

In my mind, wading means being submerged to the waist at best; I didn’t take into account reasonable factors such as slipping or falling into deep holes.

We left around 12:30 pm and quickly the mobiles brought news of a jammed highway which means most of the members will be late a couple of hours to the meeting place.

The Armenians in Lebanon were demonstrating/“celebrating” the holocaust they suffered by the Turks around 1915 and on.

William, Hanane, Misha, and I parked on the road of Nahr Ibrahim and ventured to the river shores.

William, Hanane, and Misha decided to push forward in the jungle; I opted to dip my feet in the cool water.  Half an hour later a group of five showed up; among them Clown Me Sabine and her Mexican assistant Gabie.

I told Gabie: “Ahora, me lise Jorge Amado, el Brazilian de Bahia”:  I am currently reading the French version of “Navigation de cabotage” (navigating along the coastal ports of seas or rivers.)

The newcomers promptly clowned lizards on the river rocks for 20 minutes (sunbathing). Then, feeling degraded by lizard behavior, they raised their adventurous spirit by one notch: They started to move from one rock to another very cautiously.

The mobiles brought news that the larger body of the trekking party is heading toward destination, to the lonely small village of Chowan in the bottom of the river valley.

Thus, William, Hanane, Misha showed up and we got on the move.  We met two men carrying towels where we parked: they are to simply descend a few stairs, reach the river, take a swim and leave.

The party was of around 20 members in 5 cars.

We parked in the lowest valley village I know.  It was a road to damnation, fit for barely one car but you had to backtrack for miles to let the opposite cars pass you by.

To my surprise, we were not to head straight to the river but along a long detour of 45 minutes walk: This is called “trekking syndrome” to first base.

We reached a section on the river to cross; it is about only ten meters wide; it is not a roaring Amazon by any stretch of the imagination.

Big George hopped leisurely to the other side; he is wearing just a swimming trunk and a tiny backpack.  I was encouraged to be among the first strong hearten members of the trekking party, as is usually the case.  I tied my old pair of khaki sneaker around my neck and raised my jeans to the knees; that should do the trick.

The first few steps got me face down; I am all wet and thus nothing mattered anymore.  I hurried my “wading” exercise and fell down several times before I reached destination.  I am bruised, physically and emotionally.

The few cigarettes I had in my shirt pocket are ruined; I decided to remove the cigarettes from the wet box to dry out the cigarettes. I gently picked one cigarette from the box; the filter part did easily separate from the body of the cigarette; it was the same case for the other cigarettes one by one. I had the pleasure of a discovery: the process of manufacturing local made cigarettes is basically gluing the filter part to the finished cigarette.

I undressed completely save my swimming trunk.

A few members were aligning a tree trunk to permit female members to cross the river safely.  Someone said to wait for my nephew since usually he brings a rope for that purpose. I cursed my hastiness, only to realize that my nephew wanted to emulate this adventure as Seal or Marine exercise: “you have got to feel the pain!”

George was in the middle of the river playing the school or scout guard in case of emergencies.

Suddenly, George exclaimed “I feel cold.” George remedy to warming up was to run like Tarzan to the promised paradise.

It goes without saying that I was the first to follow George.  I was not running at all: my wet sneakers weighted 20 pounds.  Then, I saw George hiding behind a bush up a mount like Tarzan; I was climbing to rejoin him when he pre-empted me: “Don’t climb. I lost my way” (Or maybe he was pissing?

Now George climbed a high rock in the river watching for any arriving company.  I ended “wading” my way by the river side to paradise land..

I am glad to report that “bodily navigation of cabbotage” by river side made much sense to me.  A few members of the party advanced me by using a secret path to a meeting location.  I said: “Better not stop. Let us move on to the Promised Land.”  Karim said: We have reached destination!”

That was a major letdown.  Apparently, the goal was to reach a puny and sickly waterfall.

George hopped behind the Nahr Ibrahim “Water fall”, climbed a rock and sat like a Buddha.  I lacked the energy to remove my sneaker and my Jean (weighing 50 pounds), then climb a slippery stupid rock and emulate Buddha.

I was the first to vacate Nahr Ibrahim Paradise and got lost on my way back; I got entangled by lichen and other sorts of nasty prickly branches.

Here, I am back to “wading” by the river side. I realized that both my sneakers’ soles are floating free; held miserably by the tip of the shoes.  I was no longer fooling myself: a military helicopter should land and take me home.

I reached first “base” wetter than a disgruntled cat.

One of the soles had vanished in the river. I didn’t wait and immediately re-crossed the Rubicon wading using my favorite technique known around the world as “Adonis super efficient wading technique”, to be emulated by Marines and Seals.

I reached second base and harangued the dozen members who smartly refused to cross the ridiculous ten-meter wide section to get going and follow the leader: I wanted to locate a sunny spot to dry my clothes.  A smart girl reminded me that the sun is no longer in vigor and barely could warm an ant.

Nothing could assassinate my plan: I have got to be first back to the parked car.

On second base there was a dying bonfire left by two dozens of foreign youths we met previously.  A plastic bottle was still sending fumes; someone said: “You are burning toxic materials”.  Oh, I forgot to mention that most members of the party are lovers of ecology and of the strictest kinds; many are by far more vegetarians than cows.

I lost my way again and waited for a member to show me the correct secret path.

My nephew picked up the second sole on his way and volunteered to relieve me of my weightless backpack: any pound less is a great boost to my morale. The last 100 yards to destination was the most voluptuous and rewarding trip stretch ever.

When we arrived home my nephew placed my sole-less sneakers on my room threshold along with one sole.

I asked him: “Why did you do that?”

I thought that I left my useless sneakers where we were parked as a warning to trekkers in the village of Chowan to cancel their project.

Devilish William refused to leave any material evidences that might discourage trekkers in those damned vicinity.

I made the last effort to visit my sister just to tell her “I think it is a miracle that I am back”.  My sleeping sister could not but chuckle and interject: “You are supposed to know better than anyone what a trekking project means to William.”

This trekking was a well planned project to inflict most pains and humiliation, but I turned out to be a leader on my way back; and second to the leaders in most of the adventure.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
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