31 km of Tannourine

An overnight venture this past weekend near Tannourine.

Saturday: 13km, beginning at 1610m and ending near 2151m after 5.5 hours of hiking.

Sunday: 18km, beginning at 2152m and ending near 1550m after 6.5 hours of hiking.

A grand, somewhat demanding, hike spent in the company of friends and the stark landscape of Lebanon’s mountains. Natural springs, tent camping (and the reminder to invest in a good camping mat), campfire and marshmallows, whiskey, stars, ridge lines, apple orchards, roast potatoes, politics, full moon, life shared.

Gatsby, ink, and Roman ruins (29B28 Update)

A 29 item list, I’m finding out, can be a bit daunting.  I’m looking forward to what I’ve penned as goals for this year, but progress is incremental.  An update…

Done and done.

13/ Moonlight Hike

15/ Take at least one Arabic class at Saifi (I completed two)

22/ Visit Baalbek

24/ Officially become a client of Monica Lauritsen Photography.  {I’m lucky to have such a talented friend! even luckier to now own a few of her pieces! Check out her work at: monicalauritsen.com}

In process:

4/ Add to my tattoo: in keeping with ink wisdom, several ideas are now posted the the ‘fridge. If I still love ‘em in a few months time, I’ll be adding ink over the summer.

10/ Traveling with Jamie and Landon last fall got me half way on this one (Bucket List: to travel internationally with each of my siblings is a must). Now to sort the other half…

17/ I suppose at least having a copy of The Great Gatsby has me a little closer to this goal.

19/ The photo projects are sorted! Stay tuned for more details and initial shots.

And those that wouldn’t be…

So far only one goal slots into this category… Oregon had no snow when I was home at Christmas so #26 (to snowboard with Travis, which I haven’t done in far too long) has gone the way of the bin, …unless Hood has a good glacier pack this summer, which might mean resuscitation could be in order…

Cedars of Lebanon

The Chouf Cedar Reserve makes up 7% of Lebanon; it’s an oasis with regard to the careful stewarding and adherence, more or less, to regulations (no campfires, etc), and a respite for those who grow tired of the cement and bustle of the city.  A relatively short drive allows for the shedding of the noise, mess, and monotonous building-scape, giving way to the Lebanon of lore.  A variety of cedars tower above meadows of lush grasses and wild flowers.  Higher elevations result in lower ground cover, stumbling across remnants of Israeli invasion, and, if the Bekkah’s haze isn’t too bad, a clear view to Mt. Hermon.  This particular trip was made in the company of Wade and Megan, colleagues and, as of late, road trip companions (check out wadeandmeg.blogspot.com).  A highlight was seeing wild boar, not just one but rather four adults and several litters of piglets; our cameras were not as quick as their pace. The original thought was to camp near the Reserve and a caretaker offered us use of his orchard as a site but consensus led to making our way back towards the city, stopping off near Dmit and braving a bone jarring ride down the cat-crafted track, likely murder in the rain, to stay at the EcoVillage, complete with tree dwellings, idyllic Lebanese hospitality, and the combination of wholeness and detail I have come to love in Lebanese cuisine.  That welcome phenomenon of twenty-four hours feeling more like several days…

The Qadisha Valley

The Qadisha Valley lies to the north of Beirut and is truly a sight to behold.  Monasteries and a hermitage or two cling to the mountainsides, mummies have been found in hidden crevices, monks have sought refuge in this hallowed space throughout the centuries.  To be among the pine and cedar on a blue bird day was a welcome reprieve from the city noise and bustle…