September 18, 2010

On Cedar Trees and the Outdoors

Some will probably admire me for my constant outdoor activities. You probably think I love adventure, nature, the outdoors, physical activities such as hiking and rappelling and mountain climbing, and that I am constantly thinking about how I can enlighten my children on the beauty of this country.
I’m afraid I have to disappoint you. I do not enjoy physical activities. I’m not a big fan of the outdoors. I hate spiders, for instance. Nature is not really my thing either. And as far as enlightening my children, well, they can look it up on the Internet. I do like adventure though.
But the problem is, I live in an apartment. In Beirut. A city with some 1 million souls, all with honking cars, and busted exhaust pipes, and big fat diesel trucks that barrel themselves through the narrow streets, and sirens of car alarms, ambulances, fire engines and police cars. And weather that just does not want to get cooler. It’s just too hot, noisy, dusty and stinky right now.
During the week I work, so that’s not a problem. But over the weekend I am home. And it takes me about 30 minutes to develop cabin fever. In order to keep my sanity, I’ve got to get out. Sorry to disappoint you, but if I had a garden, I’d be wallowing in a hammock 24/7. And never get out.
With that obsessive compulsive ‘needing to be on the road’ disorder, you’d think I would have seen the entire country. Well, there’s parts of this country I’ve never been to. Such as this forest, the Shouf Cedar Reserve. Until now, of course.

Actually, I had been here, but in another part (the Ain Zhalta part). It is one of the largest cedar reserves in Lebanon (some 500 ha, although not all of it has trees on it, it seems), and it’s got 4 entrances. It was the first time I went in from the Barouk side. There were some very big trees there; some say they’re close to 2,000 years old.
The Lebanese cedar - Cedrus libani - is a cedar species of native to the mountains of the Mediterranean region, and it only grows above 1,300 meter. The most striking characters of the Lebanon Cedar are the numerous large and wide-spreading horizontal branches and the broad and flattened summit of the full-grown tree. (Source)

Cedars in Barouk have been infected with what is presumed to be a fungal disease. Stagheading and crown defoliation are the main symptoms. (Stagheading could be a physiological reaction to stress, and not necessarily a symptom of a fungus disease or infection.). (Source)
Don’t think you’re going to be able to walk in between these staggering trees in silence, allowing you to contemplate. These forests are popular, and thus you got to push your way through throngs of ladies in high heels. Which is fine with me, I don’t do any contemplating. I’m just glad to get out of the city. Having said that, I think next week I'm going on a real adventure again. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Sietske , I really enjoy your blog , I'm lebanese , I live abroad , and I honestly never ever traveled inside lebanon as much as you did !!!
Your posts are fascinating !
kisses from Nice , FR

angie nader said...

i agree with Jimmy above...
i think you may know my country better than i do :)

Danielle said...

"These forests are popular, and thus you got to push your way through throngs of ladies in high heels"

You've got to be kidding me!

You're more outdoorsy than you think!