We had to climb all the way to the summit at about 1,800 meters (where there are, by the way, no cedars), and could have seen the Beqaa Valley, if it weren’t for the fact that we seem to have been hit by a cloud of desert dust coming from Egypt. So we didn’t see anything. It took is a good five hours, walking all the way up and back again.
I know Lebanon has the cedar tree as a symbol on the flag, but there really aren’t that many cedar trees to speak off. There are a number of forests left, but when you say ‘forest’, most often it is not more than a small patch of cedar trees together. There are only 12 separate areas left. The Ain Zhalta forest is one of those 12, one of the larger ones, situated on the upper elevations of the western slopes of the Mount Lebanon chain.
And nothing in Lebanon is ever far away from politics. It seems the Israeli army occupied the forst of Ain Zhalta In 1982, which resulted in, among many other things, the spread of the war to the cedar forest, thus shrapnel damage and mortality to some cedars.