A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

National Geographic goes Metn

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on April 14, 2008

My afternoon with H had been advertised as a “hike”, but in the end I think we spent far more time driving than walking. (Of course, said my friend C when I told him about it yesterday. It was a Lebanese hike. What did you expect?) But that was fine – it was a beautiful day for a drive as well, and I loved seeing the hills (and sheep, and goats, and cows – and all the roadside garbage) roll past us.

We did get out in the end, though, and parked at a beautiful spot looking up at a copse of trees and a small stream:

I tried to take a close-up of the stream, but H said: its beautiful, but the water has carved the rocks so perfectly that they look like a Disney World reproduction. When I zoomed in, I realized that he was right: they did look like Disney World – or maybe like the cascading stream at the Dead Sea Movenpick, to go a bit more local.

Our stroll took us down from the other side of the road, into what we decided must have been designed as roughly terraced pasture. No crops were being grown, and the land was filled with large chunks of rock, but many had been arranged into terrace supports.

What convinced us that it was, or had been, pasture were the “drinking troughs” carved out on the flat surfaces of some of the truly massive boulders:

The water was less than fresh, and rocks had been piled up in the troughs, but we got the general idea (or at least, we think that we got the general idea – but if not, someone please enlighten us!).

Some of the boulders were truly amazing, like this one, whose sliced-away surface must have been the result of centuries of narrow but steady water flow:

All in all, it was a lovely stroll, until we discovered a dead cow in the lower end of the stream (don’t worry: there are no photos! And even better: there is no smell. In situ, I can assure you that the smell was vile.) and a number of suspiciously large prints on the dirt path we found:

Smaller than a lion print … larger than the average Golden Lab. I was less than thrilled; H, who has been trying to sell me on Lebanon, took it as a point of pride.

You know, he said, Lebanon has had lions and tigers, as well as the coyotes and hyenas we have now.

Hmm. Not the information I wanted to hear – or the pitch I needed. But since it was still mid-afternoon, I reasoned that the print must have come from a … large … errr … sheep-dog … and we continued our stroll.

More bucolic images tomorrow – with apologies to F*** Lebanon, who kindly added me to his blogroll and now must be wondering what kind of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm changeling has appeared here 🙂 .

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4 Responses to “National Geographic goes Metn”

  1. Tantalus said

    Actually, I wanted to comment on the boulder. The erosion you see is the result of centuries of snow-related erosion, which produces the sharp pointed edges and the heavy jointing (the thick fractures in the rock), as opposed to water erosion which rounds and smooths rocks 🙂

    It’s always piquing to read someone who’s as interested in Lebanon’s rural realities as she is with the ugly urban setting.

    Keep ’em coming.

  2. Hi Tantalus, and thank you for the correction! This brings back vague memories of my fifth grade social studies unit on glaciers and their geologic effects.

    Snow erosion makes much more sense than water – and isn’t the result beautiful?

  3. […] diamond? H said when we passed this mosaic. I told you Lebanon had lions and tigers back in ancient […]

  4. Michel said

    Diamond and other nature lovers,
    Did you know about this…(cut and pasted from an e.mail I rxed)
    SPORT ET NATURE

    Ce dimanche 4 Mai Sport & Nature organise sa randonnée de lancement à Barouk à travers la forêt féerique des Cèdres et passage par le fameux col du radar, vue panoramique inégalée sur la Békaa et le Chouf.
    Durée de marche effective: 5 heures à cadence moyenne entre 1700 et 2050 mètres d’altitude.
    Programme :
    – Rassemblement face BNPI Tabaris : 7.30
    – Démarrage du bus : 8.00
    – Arrêt en route pour petit déjeuner
    – Début de la marche: 10.30
    – Déjeuner d’une heure en plein air: 14.00
    – Retour au bus: 17.00

    Prix: LL 25,000 par personne inclut
    – Randonnée guidée
    – Entrée à la réserve
    – Bus luxueux

    Réservations et informations : 03 746 967 (Semaan Maalouf)
    Prière de réserver avant 14 heures, Samedi 3 Mai.

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