1915 (local time)
I am Stuffed! Firstly Happy Birthday Dad! Hope you had an amazing time!
Secondly yesterday we caught a bus from Beirut to Bcharre which is a small town in the mountains where a majority of the people are Lebanese-Australian, and they are absolute legends and very inviting!
OK... we woke up at 600 this morning so we left just after 700... Today was the day we were going to trek up to the highest peak in Lebanon it is called Qornet as-Sawda (3090m)... Which I think is the highest mountain in the Lebanon (and possibly the Middle East) and I also think the highest I have ever been! Apparently you are able to see Cyprus and possibly Syria from the peak!
So we were told its about a 8-9 hour trek so about 30 kilometres to the peak so we got food and plenty of water and heaps of apples! OH OH and by the way... At the moment this place has the BEST apples ever! Green and Red so crunchy! (Mum you would love them) They were so good... that I had 6... that’s right 6 different apples on my journey up to Qornet as-Sawda! To get to the peak we had to walk up through the ski fields. Never really been to the ski fields I didn’t know what to expect but there were lifts and things everywhere! Apparently Bcharre is a pretty good ski resort in winter, which explains all the lodges and expensive hotels in Cedars the local ski town.
OK so we ventured up the epic mountain... sweating, panting and blistering (but luckily I wasn’t chafing) from the constant step after step. Every time we looked up it was as if we hadn’t made any progress! Preston and myself (Preston is a bearded American bloke we met) powered up the mountain! I was getting worn out! We made it to the lodge, and let rip with a war cry! “WE MADE IT” but its not the peak! This is what I called “BASE CAMP” so we sat and waited for Greg and Anna to make their way up.
After about 10-20 minutes, they arrived huffing and puffing. So we got out some food and had some nice ham and cheese rolls, a nice little picnic lunch!
We packed everything up, wacked some new tunes on Prestons I-Pod and ventured on our way again. The tune of choice was “Men at Work-Land Down Under” so off we went skipping, dancing and carrying on. The landscape was flat desert but there were scattered crater holes in the ground, which we could only think to be caused by bombs or an explosion of some sort. But we ended up finding out that these holes were used to collect snow which then helps supply the town with the coolest and most refreshing water on this trip... Water so good that it rivals with Melbourne’s!
In the distance, maybe 1 kilometre away we see a small car, possibly a Ford Focus, Dark Blue. We saw a man leaning out of the sun roof, holding an object in his hand. We see a puff of smoke coming out of the object, then we then hear the sound echo through the desert, we all knew exactly what sound this was... a gunshot! He wasn’t aiming at us, we think we was just shooting rocks in the desert. But we called a “team wolf pack meeting”. As this is happening, the guy gets out of his car looks at us whilst holding the gun at his hip. The group decides, it’s not really worth ‘getting in any type of trouble’ so we turned around and started walk backing the way we came. We never made the peak! But it was definitely a good call. I'm sure the guys meant no harm at all, but it’s not worth the risk.
We get back to the lodge and the car drives off into the distance. It was a bit of a weird/worrying experience. I honestly could not be farked walking down the hill and I'm pretty sure my knees wont appreciate it either, the thing was that the single seated ski lifts were currently active as the soldiers were using them to transport cement up to the top. The decision was, go down the ski lift and save my good ol’ knees but at risk of the lift stopping at some random point and just hanging out to it gets moving again, OR walk down the massive rocky dangerous slope with risk of rolling ankles and jarring knees. The lift was stopping and starting which could be a sign from the Army guys controlling the lift or it could be just a malfunction! Anyway, I decided it probably wasn’t the smartest idea that 21 year old Steve Flack would take! So I started the long painful walk down the mountain and too our hotel.
We played a few games and had some good chats on the way down. One of the games we played was called ‘Uh Uh Uh Uh’ that involved throwing a almost empty water bottle down the sloping road and counting how many steps you threw the bottle! The person that threw it the furthest won. Pretty stupid game, but it kept 3 tired boys amused for hours.
After 9:39.52 (Nine Hours, Thirty-Nine Minutes and Fifty-Two Seconds) we were back at the hostel called Tiger House and getting dinner!
It will be a good sleep tonight!
A tired and sore Figjam Out!
PS: After speaking to all the locals! The people would have been harmless as there are loads of guys that go up to the mountains to shoot! But I think its more the fact that we could be in the firing line if we had walked past. So don't stress Mum!
The Start of our epic Journey!