- Ali Tarraf
I set out alone, having neither fellow-traveler in whose companionship I might find cheer, nor caravan whose part I might join, but swayed by an overmastering impulse within me and a desire long-cherished in my bosom to visit these illustrious sanctuaries.
— Ibn Battuta, who travelled 117,000 km in the 13th century
I felt a sense of urgency because life is moving super fast.
I felt that the trail is alone, since because of Covid19 the fall thru-hike trek was cancelled.
I needed to do something good for this country in my small own way.
I needed to do something that scares me.
The story of Warren Singh Bartlett was super inspiring and triggered me into action. Read it online on his website.
Initially the plan was to take the month of November off, but taking work into considerations the plan changed to taking Fridays off and hike 3 days a week on average.
With 27 sections, and 1 section a day, that amounts to 3 sections a week, which translates to about 9 weeks. If the weather is nice this means that you get to see my adventure updates all the way to January 2021 at the least.
Fundraise to maintain the trail
Through this hike I hope to fundraise for the Lebanese Mountain Trail Association (LMTA). You get to watch my hike progress pictures, and read my adventure, and best of all you get the opportunity to help preserve the thousands of years old trails of Lebanon.
The LMTA has done a wonderful job in the past 10 years to create, maintain and raise awareness around the trail. Check out more details about the fundraise on Mighty Cause.
Day 1 Marjaayoun to Hasbaya
Nov 5 2020,
19 Km, 601 m ascents, 626 m descent.
Planning to be there 6am and start walking with the sun rise. There is a 50% chance of rain, which is worrying. I have a rain poncho and a bag cover, just in case.
- Got to Marjaayoun 6am with a cab
- Welcomed by a dancing doggy
- Very foggy morning
- Figuring out how to shoot video with tripod and camera without wasting too much time.
- Met Mir Mounir at Chehab Serail
- Met Wael from Hasbaya Guesthouse
- Met Christian from LMT finally face to face.
- Gave feedback to LMT folks on where i got lost and which trail blaze are confusing.
- Had the best apple of my life on a cliff overlooking the hasbaya valley.
- Bird hunters can get really close to your walking path.
- Hasbaya falls water is super cold.
- In Hasbaya, houses have water tank footballs
- Chmais family are growing their food off the land, i respect that.
- Tasted ma2loubet batenjan, delicious.
Day 2 Hasbaya to Rashaya
Nov 6 2020,
26 Km, 1311 m ascents, 829 m descent.
This was the toughest hike of my life.
In order of occurance, i got lost, i fell, I got sratched and bruises on my tibia, then i was out of water, and it started raining. I was this close to quitting midway to my destination. My mental dialogue was becoming negative.
I waited a bit under an oak tree for the rain to pass. I started again with thoughts of just finding water.
Then I saw a big ant carrying a straw, navigating rocks and water. This scene immediately boosted my morale. It put everything into perspective, and showed me where a true hiker belong. On the trail, in his element, no matter what, with a positive mindsets to solve the toughest challenges. With that in mind, i treaded on to Rashaya.
After 15min I came about a house and Samer and Khaldoun happily supplied me with water. Things got better from there on.
This incident highlighted to me the importance of your mental dialogue in tough situations. After all it was the same me who was about to quit. Seeing an ant doing a tough job with unflinching focus, triggered me to evaluate the way i am conversing with myself. The only thing limiting me from achieving my goal was my mental toughness. My body, although in pain and exhausted was an instrument of my mind. The moment my inner dialogue shifted, i got an energy boost and found a way out of a tricky situation.
Big mountains are magical. They are just there, everywhere you look around. You walk for hours, and when you look up, the big mountain is there. They emanate such a sense of power, that you feel humbled, insignificant in their presence. Now, I understand why most of the human spiritual movements have a mountain. They are an everlasting majestic anchor, no matter where you are look up and the mountain will be your guide.
Human resilience of mountain folks is impressive. You find farms, and small cabins in the middle of no where.
Day 3 Rashaya to Qaraoun lake
Nov 7 2020,
18 Km, 533 m ascents, 622 m descent.
- Dealing with pain, achille heal. Suck it up and move on, you can make it. I was about to quit from the pain. However I trusted my mind that I can do it, even through pain. Indeed, an hour after walking again, the achille heel pain was gone.
- How to behave with fear against enemies? I had a confrontation with two shepherd dogs. They were few meters in front of me, barking and showing their teeth. Instinctively, I used my hiking sticks, waving them from side to side, making myself look bigger, and more threatening. It seems it was working, they did not advance further, but kept barking aggressively. This stand off continued for two very long minutes. My mind was racing calculating what should I do next to avoid a bite. I tried to move away, as soon as I turned my back, the two dogs advanced closer threateningly. Then, I shouted higher than their barking, they got scared and ran away couple of feet. But as soon I turned my back they tried getting closer. I learned not to turn my back from enemies. I looked them in the eyes, and while still waving with my sticks, stepped slowly backward to the valley. The barking continued for a while, but they seem to like that I was out of their territory. For the remainder of my trip, as soon as I heard dogs barking, I picked up couple of small stones, this is a trick I learned by observing shepherds. Be prepared to face your fears heads on.
- Missing humans not because they are good, but because it is better to be with people. Survival.
- Zeinab from kfarsir, the life of normal people everywhere. Imagine all the possibilities of human life. Being stuck in the city we forget that there are other way of living.
- Obstacles, a rock, letting go and going back to a natural state.
GPS map of the LMT trail
I ended up doing 4 sections out of the 26 sections of the LMT, before I had to prepare for an international move. LMT, I will come back one day.
Decathlon Le Mall -Dbayeh items as of 11 May, 2018
Everything you need to know is on on the Lebanon Mountain Trail website.