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near Mâr Boutros, Mont-Liban (Lebanon)
Blue Moon - Sunrise hike in Jurd Akoura.
The trail started from the Aaqoura town square at 1:00 AM; we made our way queitlt through sleepy homes towards St. Simeon shrine on the outskirts of Aakoura. The trail then started an easy uphill slope on a dirt road (the first section of the trail is a secondary LMT trail) for about 2 km and then took the primary LMT trail towards Saidet El Qarn church (Lady of Horn). We started to encounter running brooks above the road (in one case we had to cross a three-meter-wide and 5 cm high water brook) and as we got into higher elevation we started to deal with frozen snow. One section of the train was a steep uphill in “north face” snow conditions which slowed us down; especially some of the hikers were not as fit. We reached the Saidet El Qarn at 5:00 AM right in time to witness sunrise. On our way to Saidet El qarn we came across the man-made ponds of the Laqlouq town which was a sight as it changed colors as the sun rose. We had our food break at the Piazza of the church and enjoyed the sunrise. After that the trail started a dowdhill winding paved road to the town of Laqlouq and onto the bus by 6:49 AM.
The temperatures started at 13 degrees Celsius and dropped to 7 degrees at the church only to warm up to 10 degrees in the town of Laqlouq; during this time (spring and due to extra snowfall, this year) you need your base layer, fleece, and Gortex-compatible jacket to stay warm. Even though it was a night hike, the full moon light made it look like a day hike; I did not use my headlight at all.
The moon was what we call it: a Blue Moon where a blue haze surrounded it and added to its magnificence.
I am rating this hike as difficult because of the frozen snow that hindered our progress. This rating would change to moderate if the hike was at the end of June.
waterfalls formed by melting snow
From this point, you could see: Tannourine, Batroun, and Triploi.