The forest and I was all there was. In the deep still silence I could feel the Earth’s beating heart. The call of the wind breaks through as we all fall in line. Lost among the footfalls, the mountains are our shrines. As the rocks hold the beat, while nature sings her song and the sun brings its heat as the wind pushes us along, I think to myself how picturesque is this land, how beautiful is Lebanon.
The pure elation of Lebanon’s beauty can never be understood, until a walk is done in its unspoiled heart, where civilization is left to its own devices and where the wild things live to the rhythm of the wind.
The Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT) is the first long-distance hiking trail in Lebanon, extending from Andqet in the north of Lebanon to Marjaayoun in the south, a 470-km path that transects more than 75 towns and villages at altitude ranging from 670 meters to 2,011 meters above sea level.
The LMT showcases the natural beauty and cultural wealth of Lebanon’s mountains and demonstrates the determination of its people to conserve their unique heritage. The trail brings communities closer together and expands economic opportunities in rural areas through environmentally and socially responsible tourism.
The Lebanon Mountain Trail Association was established on 31 October 2007. The objectives of the LMT Association are to Develop, maintain and conserve the Lebanon Mountain Trail by establish side trails on the Lebanon Mountain Trail and to Protect the natural, cultural and architectural heritage and landmarks near the trail while enhancing economic opportunities by promoting responsible tourism. Having divided the trail into 26 sections, the LMTA has trained hired guides in each village in order to take trekkers along each stage.
ECODIT, a company providing environmental and development consulting services, conceived, designed and implemented the LMT project with grant funding from the United States, under a two-year (2005-2007) Cooperative Agreement with USAID Lebanon. As part of the LMT project, ECODIT helped establish the Lebanon Mountain Trail Association to ensure the long-term sustainability of the trail.
The LMT joins together in peace, villages and communities that were once divided by religion and distances, protecting precious, vulnerable mountains, forests and valleys. It is a walk through cloud forests and deep valleys, through holy shrines, lonely orchards and 6,000 years of human history. It is a walk through the real Lebanon, the one we love.
The LMT offers charm, spirit and beauty in a country that has someone forgotten how valuable its nature is. Walking this trail gives one a precious insight into Lebanese village life, renewed respect for the indomitable Lebanese spirit, and the feeling of being alive amongst the heart of this historic land.
In silence and peace, on this loud earth, where the water falls and the mountains reach up to the sky, there is a trail that just like in life, that will teach you that sometimes it is not the destination but the road we take that changes our lives.
To my Lebanon and all its hidden treasures…
A book called A Million Steps highlights the beauty of the LMT
For more info on the LMT: http://www.lebanontrail.org/home.jhtm