Just stretch those legs wide and…

…take big strides, is what I kept telling myself as I was hiking up Jabal el Sheikh (Mount Hermon bil Inglizé) last weekend. I spent two days hiking and camping with a small group of people led by Lebanese Adventure. Though Deedee’s not into group stuff (at least when it comes to hikes), she knows the owners and they promised this was a small and pleasant bunch, so she said, “Tayyeb, OK”.

Glad Deedee’s legs are strong, cuz it was a pretty tough hike, yaani I’d say 8.5 on a scale of 10, but totally worth it. The landscape is arid this time of year but the shades of yellow, pink, orange, and gray were a soothing combination. We climbed 11 km’s in about 5 1/2 hours until we were literally over the clouds!

We camped in a spot that was slightly dipped so as to protect us from the strong wind. After the tents were set up, it looked like aliens had landed a bunch of UFO’s in that spot. Dinner was being prepared as we watched the awesome sunset.

We had a black lentil mjadra/soup’ish dish and a crunchy mixed organic veggie salad that the wife of one of the guides had prepared. Deedee had a bottle of bordeaux with her, akeed, that everyone was happy to share: Château La Mauberte 2006 (Vintage in Saifi Village), well rounded and full bodied, this melange had a deep red berry nose and the palate was blackberry with red plum.

In the morning the view was crystal clear and one could see all the way to the Cedars! We took a different route back down and it was just as breathtaking as the way up. Tough on the knees though, so one may want to have sticks for support. Landing back in ‘human-ia/hu-mania’ was bitter-sweet.

When Deedee got back home, first thing she had in mind was a cold bottle of 961 Witbier, which definitely hit the spot. Madame Mrad took one look at Deedee and said, “habibti baddik téklé?!!” Looking inside the fridge, they found a packet of smoked Magret de Canard which got tossed in a frying pan to sizzle. They threw in some chopped garlic, sage (fresh if you have it), onions and sliced fresh chili on top. When slightly wilted, add chopped fresh tomatoes, crack pepper and cook for a bit. Serve with penne drizzled with olive oil and mix everything together… Garnish: parmesan shavings! Sage is just the right herb with the smoked duck… simple and Deedeelicious!

The bottle of Bodega Norton‘s Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Mendoza, Argentina (Vintage in Saifi Village) went hand in glove with the  Penne and Magret de Canard. A young wine and smells that way at first, it took about 15 minutes to breath and develop it’s character. Naturally as a Cab, this deep full bodied red wine has a peppery nose but with red current and even cranberries! A sharp mouthful of red plums… surprisingly, it’s not as fruity as South American cabs usually are.

Merci Lebanese Adventure mecs pour ce weekend incroyable. Not only did Deedee enjoy the hike, she also got to practice her French! Mount Hermon’s got to be a whole different kind of beauty during the spring with wild flowers and leftover snow, so definitely doing that hike again.


4 Responses to Just stretch those legs wide and…

  1. raskal says:

    I like how you combined place and food. An arid surroundings with its various shades of color and light in parallel with the limited choices of food and beverage as one would expect in a camping trip.

    reading your blogs makes me hungry… yum

  2. Ed says:

    Fabulous. Let’s do it when there’s 3 m of snow down.

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