January 16, 2010

Nahr Ibrahim Hike

Where are we?
The Nahr Ibrahim Valley (river runs down)

It reminds me of the Rocky Mountains. It reminded Joke (say ‘Jo-kah’) of France, and Marijke of Austria. When it gets beautiful, it’s sometimes hard to imagine it’s in Lebanon. But it is, less than 40 km north of Beirut. I think.
Getting there

Last Sunday some friends and I decided to go for a hike in the Nahr Ibrahim Valley. It is one of the most beautiful valleys in Lebanon.
The Nahr Ibrahim Valley (Valley of the Abraham River). Probably because it doesn’t have any real roads going in and out of it. It does have one very narrow steep road going in, wide enough for one car, and another sand path going out, but that’s it.
Because it is not so easy to reach, it is still pristine and clean. We got lost a couple of times, because my GPS was not quite sure. Or actually I thought my GPS was not quite sure. I’ve been there before, and remembered it being somewhere else, but in the end, we got there, in Janna, at the bottom of the valley floor.
Ibrahim River
We were the only once in the valley, except for some local inhabitants, 12 in all, maybe, and 3 charcoal makers, who passed by us with a mule stacked with bags and bags of charcoal which they then transport to a little van which moves it to Beirut. I wouldn’t mind a house here.
This river isn’t that long. It starts, 1,800 meters above sea level, in Afqa, where it comes tumbling down out of a cave, and runs through a gorge all the way to the coast which is some 20 kilometers away. From here (Janna) you can walk all the way to Afqa. With ease.
"Hello"? Are we off the network here? We have no network, and therefore we do not exist.
But when you are with ‘ladies with children over 18’, or with ‘ladies with little children’, it may be a little complicated to negotiate (yes, that’s a word, Marijke!). So this epic hike, which I had planned, was not to be. But they promised that next time, when wouldn’t have their daughters with them, then they would really hike. I mean, like hike hike. Hmmmm. We’ll see.
Hiker Girls
The river seems to be subject to many legends, Google claims, but I don’t know any of them. Well, maybe the Adonis legend. In mythological terms, Nahr-Ibrahim is known as the river of the god Adonis, (the god of fertility). Adonis was said to be gravely injured as a result of his falling prey to a wild hog and when his beloved, the goddess Astrate, ran to save his life, his blood mixed with the waters of the river and brought about his fatal death.Broken-Hearted, Astrate fell down to her knees by the riverside where she died imprinting, thus, her love story with Adonis forever on the sand. As such "Nahr-Ibrahim" gained a third appellation, the River of Immortal Love. (Source)
Playing Survival
The children were into poking holes in monster houses, catching bugs and building fires so they could roast tomatoes. Sorry girls, next time we bring marsh mellows.
So yeah, what happened to this hike of epic heights? Hmmmm, next time.

The inhabitants of Lasaa see so very few visitors that they have set up their coffee house in the middle of the road.
And when I got to work on Monday, a colleague of mine had to rub it in that he had hiked all the way from Marjayoun over some mountain range into the Beqaa Valley, past Hezbollah check points on isolated mountain tops, through forests that were empty and clean, an epic hike of some 6 hours through unexplored territory. Enough already. Next weekend ladies, we're really going to HIKE!


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Anonymous said...

Kijk zussie, ik ben dan de 50 gepasseerd maar eindelijk heb ik dan ook mijn stukkie in de krant...



Francine said...

@ grote broer Y

En een leuke ook :)