sábado, 17 de marzo de 2018

A trek into the unknown-Final part

When C enters he is shaken and in pain, I examine his calf muscle. The bite is obvious but it is not too bad. I sterilize the wound and cover it up with some gauze. We spend a rough night with the shepherds. Dogs barking and little room. After breakfast we ask for directions and the head shepherd puts us on the right track. We start our trek into the unknown. The landscape is amazing and the weather is mild and serene, the sky is blue and the forest is a fresh green colour of Spring. After a few hours we are on the highest ridge. We have the mighty mount Siyalan at 4250m to our left still covered in snow, the dense oak forest of Beleskooh protected area in front of us and in the horizon the blue line of the Caspian sea, the largest body of inland water on earth. Lady S is overwhelmed with emotion and goes to a corner crying. We rest for a good while on this ridge contemplating the beauty and the eternal wilderness of this valley. Now I know exactly where we are. I did a loop in this valley in 2016 with an Italian couple from Venice. It was a wonderful trek. One of the veteran hikers from Tonekabon told me once that he planned to go exploring this valley and he had spent quite some time looking at it in Google Earth and there seemed to be no sign of civilization there! He was surprised to hear that there were shepherds deep in this valley who still roamed their goats and sheep in the summer despite the ever presence of leopards. Every year there is an attack by a leopard on their flock. We reach Lashm in mid afternoon where I have been to and taken many hikers before. From the Sehezar road it is a 4 hour hike up and another 3 hours down. We are now approaching it from the south. When we cross under the summit the other smaller settlement called Lo Sarey becomes visible. Once , many years back an elderly woman gave me a glass of water there. Another year practicing on the small glacier with ice axes and crampons we were surprised by a sudden change of weather and took shelter in one of the huts with a few young shepherds. Almost everyone knows me there now as "Malakitourist" !! Manu is the first guy we bump into as we make our way through dense plum tress that encircle the settlement. He is riding his horse going for a rendezvous. As soon as he sets his eyes on Al he tells me "now this man is a veteran hunter, am I right or am I right?" Al grins, I tell Manu we are heading off to see Hussein on the other side not knowing that the two have fallen out over water supplies in the dry summer. We reach Hussein's hut and Al crashes out due to exhaustion. When he wakes up we have dinner and all sleep soundly after a rough previous night. C is suffering from blisters and the dog bite has not helped. I ask Hussein to get his strong stallion ready, C is mounted and we take advantage by placing our backpacks on another mule. We are off again but this time into territories I have walked many times before. The forest is serene and we are all happy although tired. Al is complaining of the humidity and how Alborz is better! I am so elated could not care less, I have managed to do a trek I have dreamed of for many years. We are all very fortunate. When we reach the road good old Farhad is there waiting for us in the mighty F2 Land Cruiser. The day after I would be taking C for his Rabies vaccination. The health worker is from Maran but has never been to where we have just come from. He is a city dweller now hoping to retire one day and go and build a holiday home in his native village. I think of the famous Paolo Cuello book....