Mountain Trail

September 6th, 2010

I had the opportunity to go on a half-day’s hiking along the Lebanese Mountain Trail.

The Trail is an extraordinary endeavour which was established in just a two-year period between 2006 and 2008 by ECODIT, with funding from USAID. It starts at Qbaiyat in the North of Lebanon and winds its 440km-way through the mountains to end at Marjaayoun in the South. You can read more on the Trail here.

I only walked a short part of the 18th section of the Trail, between Ain Zhalta and Barouk, namely through a portion of the very beautiful Shouf Cedar Reserve. You can find out more about the reserve here.

Below are a few pictures from that day.

Above, a Lebanon Cedar‘s branches, from which arise a number of immature seed cones. I very much enjoy the unusual way in which the cones rise vertically from the branches, unlike other coniferous trees.

It has only recently been brought to my attention just how beautiful these cedar seed cones (and conifer seed cones in general) are. And a whole new world has opened to me as a result.

Interestingly, it seems Lebanon Cedars produce seed cones generally every second year and those mature in 12 months from pollination. I understand that mature cones typically measure 8 to 12 cm long and 4 to 6 cm wide.

Above, the view onto Mount Lebanon in the late afternoon.

The first section of the hike took us through the cedar forest and then the trail we followed branched out onto the drier mountain top.

Above, sunset over the mountains.

Above, a fir tree at dusk. The reserve is home to some 24 species of trees, including Lebanon Cedar and a number of species of oak, pine and juniper.

More coming soon!


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Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (5)

5 Responses to “Mountain Trail”

  1. Zooey Says:

    You creature of the outdoors! Why didn’t you finish the trail old man? joints won’t let you walk too far, is it? These are gorgeous scenes! Wish I could see them for myself 🙂

  2. Z! Says:

    Zooey! Welcome back! How was the trip? When do we get to see pictures? 😀

    Yeah, I’m aging disgracefully. My joints are failing me. My back is killing me. *sigh* I’m well on the road to decrepitude. 😛

    Well, until I can convince you to swing out to Lebanon to check out the country for yourself, I guess each time I’m there I’m just going to have to keep doing short day trips into the mountains to return with pictures which I’ll use to entice you into doing so. 😉

  3. Zooey Says:

    Hey! You’re not that old Z! You’ve managed to finish the 900km End of the World walk recently. That’s something! Wooohooo!

    Yea you were right about the looong flight. I totally forgot about it the moment I stepped out the airport. Everything was smashing! From the blazin sun, the weather, the water, the people… it was just fab! I wish I could stay longer. *sob sob sneeze Quite few shots are up now on fb.

    Anyways, I’m thinkin of changing itinerary for my next trip. I know I’m happiest when I’m in the water but think I want to see other stuff now like cliffs, ruins, old villages other ravages of time… But I heard Greece is not safe now. Will definitely let my “tour guide/not-so-old-Z” know if I plan to visit the temples in Afqa and Mashnaqa. 😀

    Take care

  4. Z! Says:

    Hey Zooey! 🙂

    I saw the shots (and dolphin vid – that is certainly one massive set of lungs on that lady, hehe) – Awesome! I’m so glad you had such a blast! Paul the Bird was kinda cool too. 🙂

    Tell you what, check out this fantastic book on Lebanon:


  5. Zooey Says:

    Brilliant! I’ve actually seen this book sometime back on The author did the trail for 30 days. Unfortunately ,I can only be away from office for 5 days max – minus flights, that would leave me with 3 days (this is starting to depress me now). Do you think I can climb up Afqa and Mashnaqa temples within 3 days? Pls say yes, pls. pls. 🙂

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