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near Māâsser ech Choûf, Mont-Liban (Lebanon)
The hike started from the middle of Maaser Chouf town square and climbed up through a steep hill for about three km. The trail then went through the snowed cedar forest where the snow turned the forest into a divine artistic scene of black and white. The damp sky helped create a wonderful setting. After going through the cedar forest, the trail took us to Lamartine’s cedar tree (the hermitage) which is a millennial tree with an approximate age of 1500+ years. The trail was supposed to take us to Ain Zhalta (town in the Chouf Mountains) cedar forest but the snow hindered our effort and we ended up going to Barouk cedar forest; from Barouk we took a downhill side trail to the lower (snowless) bank of the Barouk mountain and completed the loop by going through a dirt road. The dirt road took us through a collage of pine, poplar, and oak trees and manmade ponds.
The weather was foggy, rainy, and snowy at high altitudes. I ranked this train as a difficult trail because of the snow, which made it harder to navigate. The temperature were subzero and the wind was a bit strong.
The hike is highly recommended especially the section through the Maaser cedar forest; the scenes will forever make you fall in love with nature.
P.S. I ranked it as difficult because of the snow and we were not wearing snowshoes.
Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, Knight of Pratz (French: [alfɔ̃s maʁi lwi dəpʁa də lamaʁtin]; 21 October 1790 – 28 February 1869), was a French writer, poet and politician who was instrumental in the foundation of the Second Republic and the continuation of the Tricouleur as the flag of France.
Alphonse de Lamartine was also an Orientalist with a particular interest in Lebanon and the Middle East. He travelled to Lebanon, Syria and the Holy Land in 1832–33.
A valley in Lebanon is still called the Valley of Lamartine as a commemoration of that visit, and the Lebanon cedar forest still harbors the "Lamartine Cedar", which is said to be the cedar under which Lamartine had sat 200 years ago. Lamartine was so influenced by his trip that he staged his 1838 epic poem La Chute d'un ange (The Fall of an Angel) in Lebanon.
This is part of the Barouk cedar forest where millennial cedar trees flourish. The grand trees surround a huge square area where some benches are placed and acts as a hikers rest area.
It is a field bordering the Barouk cedar forest where Qaaq (Spur) grows.
We took this trail at the lower banks of the Barouk Mountain to get back to our starting point due to snow fall at higher grounds. A trail intercepted with Oak, Pine, and poplar trees.