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Vamos Todos Hiking for February 2017

Sat 04 - Dhour Choueir
Sun 05 - Falougha SS
Thu 09 - Smar Jbeil - Jrabta - Sghar
Sat 11 - Wadi Set
Sun 12 - Hadath Jebbeh SS
Tue 14 - Bziza Barbechtar
Sat 18 - Zeaitre
Sun 19 - Arz To Bkaakafra SS
Sat 25 - Bentael Reserve Hike
Sun 26 - Zarzour SS

Sat 04 - Dhour Choueir

Dhour Choueir is one of Mount Lebanon's most favored summer resorts. At an altitude of 1200 m and with the presence of vast pine forests, it offers the best climate for everyone seeking cool fresh air.

It is a town with many landmarks, some dating hundreds of years. You can see old caves, old mills, ancient bridges, natural water reservoirs, water springs, an old souk with stone paved passages, beautiful houses with old traditional arches…and much more.

It is the birthplace of Antoun Saadeh who founded the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party and of Tanios Bou Nader Khneisser, the father of the Sword & Shield Folkloric Dance.

Dhour El-Choueir is important for its August yearly carnival, honoring Lebanon's emigrants.

Our hike will be divided into three levels. All levels will start from the main square of Dhour Choueir and end in Ain Assis.

LEVEL 2: (2.7 km) It is an easy hike starting from the main square of the village and passing through a dirt road leading to Ghwab and Tallet Ameid. You will see old caves on the way. The bus will then take you to the old souk of the village where you can have a stroll in the narrow passageways and contemplate the old houses and ancient arches. You will pass by three water springs. Then you will meet the others in Ain Assis.

LEVEL 4: (8 km) It is a moderate hike with some uphill. Starting from the village square, passing through Ghwab and Tallet Ameid, you will then continue further along a picturesque trail where you will cross three water springs. You will then reach the old souk to discover the narrow passageways and ancient houses. From there, you will climb a long staircase to get to Ain Assis. In this trail, you will see the biggest Atlab tree which is the symbol of Dhour Choueir.

LEVEL 6: (10 km) It is a hard hike with lots of uphill. After starting from the village square and passing by Ghwab and Tallet Ameid, you will take a track that takes you to Ain el Sindyani, the Baydar and Tallet el Zaeem where you will see the monument that is built in memory of Antoun Saadeh. The hike will end in Ain Assis. Along this trail you will discover interesting landmarks such as an old bridge and water source.

WHERE: Dhour Choueir
Metn – Mount Lebanon
1200 m altitude
30 km from Beirut

WHEN: Saturday, Feb 04
MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden.
PRICE: 50,000 LL per person including transport, guides, insurance. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process).

WHAT TO GET: Get some light snacks that will boost up your energy such as dried fruits. Pack your backpacks with water, lunch, a cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. VT members get a 25% discount on sports equipment and apparel found in all branches of Maison du Ski.

RESERVATION: For reservation call 03-917190 or 79-115001. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to join in.

Sun 05 - Falougha SS

Discover a new snowshoeing trail from Falougha to Jabal el Kneiseh.
At more than 1650 meters altitude, you’ll have wonderful views of the whole region.

The trail passes by 
1-Falougha Cedar Forest where the first Lebanese flag was erected.
2-Lamartine Rock where the famous French poet, Lamartine, used to sit and get inspired. 
The group will be divided into two levels. 
The hard level will start from Sohat factory in Falougha and continue uphill until they reach Jabal Kneiseh. From there they will go to the Cedar forest and then to Lamartine Rock for lunch.
The easier level will start from Sohat factory in Falougha and continue to Sohat Village then to the Cedar forest and then to Lamartine Rock for lunch.
After lunch, both groups will go back together to Falougha where the trail will end.

WHERE: Jabal el Kneiseh - Falougha
Metn – Mount Lebanon
1650m above sea level
46 km from Beirut

WHEN: Sunday, Feb 05
WHAT TO GET: Get a snowsuit or anything waterproof to prevent your clothes from getting wet. Wear waterproof boots (preferably after-ski boots), or get thick nylon bags to cover your walking shoes. Don’t forget the woolen hat and gloves. Pack your backpack with water, lunch, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Energy snacks will be a good idea too!

MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden.
There will be a breakfast stop along the way.

PRICE: 65,000LL per person including transport, guides, insurance, reserve and snowshoes. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process). VT members get a 25% discount on sports equipment and apparel found in all branches of Maison du Ski!

RESERVATION: For reservation call 79-115001 or 03-917190 from 9 00 am till 5 pm. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to join in.

Thu 09 - Smar Jbeil - Jrabta - Sghar

A trail linking Smar Jbeil, Jrabta and Sghar is our plan for this Thursday.

You will see the historical citadel of Smar Jbeil, the Monastery of St. Rafqa, LBC’s premises where ‘El Wadi’ was filmed, and the remains of the ancient Al Qattine Monastery.

The trail passes through bushes and dirt roads. 
The hike will be divided into three levels: LEVEL 2 (4 km), LEVEL 3 (6 km) & LEVEL 5 (10.5 km).

The three levels will start together from Smar Jbeil. The town’s name is derived from the Phoenician language, meaning “the guardian of Jbeil.” You will visit the Citadel dating back to the Phoenician era. The citadel was later occupied by the Romans, who left various inscriptions on its northern wall, followed by the Crusaders, who have built cellars next to its towers and a church to the east of the citadel. The citadel is also characterized by its wells, carved into the rocks and its deep tunnels connecting the castle to the neighboring valleys.

After this cultural start, all levels will hike together passing through Ghouma and Mrah el Ziyyat. The trail at this stage will be mostly flat and downhill. You will pass by the location where LBC filmed “El Wadi’. Lunch will be in a shady place among the trees.
Here, LEVEL 2 will take the bus to the village of Jrabta strolling in its streets until they meet the rest of the group at St. Rafqa. LEVEL 3 and LEVEL 5 will take the trail along a dirt road until they reach the Monastery of St. Rafqa in Jrabta.

After visiting the monastery, LEVEL 2 and LEVEL 3 will take the bus to Saydet el Qattine in Sghar, while LEVEL 5 will go there taking an uphill track, ending in a short tricky downhill stretch. The remains of Saydet el Qattine, also known as Saydet el Bzaz, stand inside three caves, with an altar, arcades, arches, and the ruins of a Byzantine Church. 

The town of Sghar derives its name from the Phoenician language, meaning "small." Sghar is home to some Phoenician stone sarcophagi, as well as many historical churches and monasteries. It is a great place to end the hike.

WHERE: Smar Jbeil – Jrabta - Sghar
In Batroun district
400 m above sea level
53 km from Beirut

WHEN: Thursday, Feb 09

MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden.

PRICE: 50,000 LL per person including transport, guides, insurance. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process).

WHAT TO GET: Get some light snacks that will boost up your energy such as dried fruits. Pack your backpacks with water, lunch, a cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. Don’t forget to get a jacket. VT members get a 25% discount on sports equipment and apparel found in all branches of Maison du Ski!

RESERVATION: For reservation call 79-115001 or 03-917190 from 9 00 am till 5 pm. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to join in.

Sat 11 - Wadi Set

A new hiking trail in the Chouf is awaiting you this Sunday. It starts from Al-Bireh. The mountain chain upon which Al-Bireh is located is rich with history. Caves dating back to 5000BC can be found all over the mountain. Al-Bireh was the site where the French/Lebanese movie Le Cerf-Volant (The Kite) (Tayyara min waraq) was filmed.

The trail is diversified with lots of scenic views. It passes through forests, beside a river bank, and at the peak of the mountain. You can see from afar, Mdeirej Bridge, Deir el Kamar and Bhamdoun.

The hike will be one level:
LEVEL 4+ (13 km) starts from the far end of Al-Bireh village. The trail goes uphill to reach the peak of the mountain where you can see views of the whole region. From there, you descend to reach Al-Bireh village and then to Barouk River. The trail continues along a dirt road to Wadi el Sit then to Richmaya. Lunch will be at the river bank, among the trees.

WHERE: Al-Bireh Wadi Set 
Chouf – Mount Lebanon
40 km from Beirut
1000 m above sea level

WHEN: Saturday Feb 11 

MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden.

PRICE: 50,000 LL per person including transport, guides, and insurance. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process).

WHAT TO GET: Get some light snacks that will boost up your energy such as dried fruits. Pack your backpacks with, water, lunch, cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. Wear hiking shoes or comfortable walking shoes. 

RESERVATION: For reservation call 03-917190 or 79-115001. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to join in.

Sun 12 - Hadath Jebbeh SS

Hadath El Jebbeh is a beautiful northern village overlooking Annoubine Valley and the Cedars of Tannourine. 
There is a wonderful cedar forest in this village, and so it would be a great place for snowshoeing.

The walk will start from the main piazza.
There will be two levels of difficulty. 
*The easy level will walk through a pine forest and take a short path until they reach the cedar trees. The length of the trip is around 4 km.

*The harder level will walk through the same pine forest, but take a longer path to the cedars. The length of the trip is around 8 km.
The two levels will meet for lunch in a beautiful setting among the cedars of Hadath El Jebbeh.

WHERE: Hadath el Jebbeh
In the north
107 km from Beirut 
1500 m above sea level

WHEN: Sunday, Feb 12

WHAT TO GET: Wear a snowsuit or anything waterproof to prevent your clothes from getting wet. Wear waterproof boots (preferably after-ski boots), or get thick nylon bags to cover your walking shoes. Don’t forget the woolen hat and gloves. Get an extra pair of socks. Pack your backpack with water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and lunch. Energy snacks will be a good idea too!

MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden.
There will be a breakfast stop along the way.

PRICE: 65,000 LL per person including transport, guides, insurance, and snowshoe rental. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process). VT members get a 25% discount on sports equipment and apparel found in all branches of Maison du Ski!

RESERVATION: For reservation call 79-115001 or 03-917190 from 9 00 am till 5 pm. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to join in.

Tue 14 - Bziza Barbechtar

Our villages are very beautiful and each Lebanese rural location can be considered, on its' own, as a project for ecotourism, due to the natural beauty and cultural wealth they contain.

Once again, Vamos Todos has prepared a new hiking event, in the region of Bziza-Darbechtar, which is rich with wonderful trails, old Lebanese houses, ruins, caves, old churches, in addition to a roman well sculpted in rocks. 

Bziza stands over a former village that was destroyed by earthquakes. One can still see the ruins of a Roman temple standing over fifteen meters high, with fragments of pottery and oil lamps. Something also remains of an ancient mill and there are some sarcophagi. The Roman temple at Bziza is quite well preserved. The western façade is embellished by an elegant portico of three limestone columns, the remainder of an original four, supporting architecture of the ionic order.

As for Darbechtar, the name of the village is a derivative of the Aramaic words, Dar and Ishtar, meaning the House of Astarte. It is believed that the village was the site of an ancient Phoenician shrine for the Goddess of Fertility.

Our hike will be divided to two levels that will begin walking altogether from the temple of Bziza.

Level 6 (13 KMs) will start their walk from the temple of Bziza and continue to Wata Fares, where they will reach a hill with panoramic view. Then, they will continue to the historic Mar Shallita monastery, before heading uphill on a trail that leads to inside the village. In the village, many sites will be seen, including the Mar Elias cave, which is unique because of the seven layers that constitute it. After the cave, the hikers will walk on a beautiful trail till the end of Darbechtar. 

Level 3 (9 KMs) will follow the same trail as Level 6, but end their hike inside Darbechtar. 

The two levels will have lunch inside the village. 
WHERE: Bziza- Darbechtar (around 60 KMs from Beirut) North, Caza of Koura. 400 meters above sea level. 
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb 14th.

MEETING PLACE: Jdeideh Public Garden, facing Sagesse School @ 7:30 there will be a breakfast stop along the way.

PRICE: 50000 LBP per person the prices include transport, guides and insurance. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process). 

WHAT TO GET: Get some light snacks that will boost up your energy such as dried fruits. Pack your backpacks with water, cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. Wear any comfortable clothes and shoes that would make you feel comfortable and that will be suitable to work in a field, in the countryside.

RESERVATION: For reservation call 03-917190 or 79-115001. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name and the event you wish to join in.

Sat 18 - Zeaitre

We will be visiting this time a special location in Lebanon, a small but unexpectedly interesting village… & this village is the hometown of Vamos Todos founder. Welcome to Zeaitre!

The new municipal body would like to welcome and introduce you to the eco-tourism opportunities available in Zeaitre. The hike organized by the Municipality aims at introducing the archeological sites in the village. It will run along old oak trees that are between 300 and 900 years old, ancient churches, Roman ruins and old Ottoman trails that used to link villages.

This small village includes more than 12 km of trails and the Municipality will be working on the restoration and preparation of more trails. Some are already set and there will be an inauguration for the eco-tourism project in Zeaitre. Indeed, you will be quite surprised to see so many Ecotourism sites and nature beauty in such a small village.

It is important to mention that Zeaitre is the hometown of Jean and Andre Saade who were Wrestling World Champions as well as numerous historians and notable professors.

Next, we will be having a breakfast prepared by local people.

The hike will be of two levels (L3 & L6), it is about 12 km L6 with about 200m uphill and downhill. We will start altogether in an interesting trail, checking out an old cave (Mgharet Wardieh). Afterwards, you will be hosted by VT founder, Mark Aoun, in his own house for fresh fruits and coffee break. In his place, you will get to see an old vaulted basement that is 150 years old & a restored typical old Lebanese house, VT house! With traditional wooden ceiling.

For Level 6, the trail will comprise more uphill then the hikers will meet the L3 group on the Roman Stairs. Both levels will join again at the old church which is more than 300 years old.

WHERE: Zeaitre / Ftouh Keserwan
42 km from Beirut
750m above sea level

WHEN: Saturday Feb 18
MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden.

PRICE: 55000 LBP per person including transport, guides, reserve and insurance. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process).

WHAT TO GET: Get some light snacks that will boost up your energy such as dried fruits. Pack your backpacks with water, lunch, a cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. Don’t forget to get your jacket. VT members get a 25% discount on sports equipment and apparel found in all branches of Maison du Ski.

RESERVATION: For reservation, call 79-115001 or 03-917190 every day between 8AM and 5 PM. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to attend.

NB: Sometimes, due to reasons beyond our control, slight modifications to the program may occur. Ecotourism rules must be followed, otherwise personal accidents will not be accounted for by the insurance.

Reminders:
1- Levels 1, 2 and 3 are easy.
2- Levels 4 and 5 are moderate.
3- Levels 6, 7 and 8 are hard.
4- Difficulty is not about how many kilometers you are walking. It is more about the trail itself and how steep it is and how many uphill and downhill it is included.

Sun 19 - Arz To Bkaakafra SS

This week we will go from The Cedars to Bekaa Kafra.

Arz Bcharre is one of the most beautiful places in Lebanon. It was nominated, along with the cave of Jeita, to become one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The cedar forests of Lebanon are the oldest documented forests in history. There are 31 cedar forests in Lebanon, most significantly the forest of the Cedars of God in Bcharre. It is an ancient grove of cedars, the oldest in Lebanon. It makes a beautiful site, especially in winter, when snow covers it all and gives it a feeling of peace and quiet.

You will also see the sculptures of Rudy Rahmeh done with such talent, adding to the beauty of the forest.

The group will be divided into two.
Group 1 will discover the Cedars. You will make a tour in the forest, among the majestic trees, taking photos and contemplating a real Lebanese treasure. The cedars have a totally different appeal when wearing their white coat! Then you will take the bus to Bekaa Kafra and visit all the places of interest.

Group 2 will have a longer walk. You will not be able to spend time in the Cedar forest, but you will walk from the Cedars to Bekaa Kafra, with some uphill crossings, needing some effort and competent physical ability. The views are beautiful and there will be some stops for picture taking. You will pass by a pond, most probably frozen at this time of year.

Bekaa Kafra is the home town of St. Charbel. It is the highest village in Lebanon, situated at 1850 m altitude. Unesco classified it as a typical traditional Lebanese village. It is a must to see. You will visit St. Charbel’s house, the cave where he used to pray, and many landmarks of the village.
Both levels will meet for lunch in the village of Bekaa Kafra.

WHERE: Arz-Bekaa Kafra
123 km from Beirut 
2000 to 1800 m above sea level
WHEN: Sunday, Feb 19

WHAT TO GET: Wear a snowsuit or anything waterproof to prevent your clothes from getting wet. Wear waterproof boots (preferably after-ski boots), or get thick nylon bags to cover your walking shoes. Don’t forget the woolen hat and gloves. Pack your backpack with water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and lunch. Energy snacks will be a good idea too!

MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden.
There will be a breakfast stop along the way.

PRICE: 70,000LL per person including transport, guides, insurance, and snowshoes. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process).
VT members get a 25% discount on sports equipment and apparel found in all branches of Maison du Ski!

RESERVATION: For reservation call 79-115001 or 03-917190 from 9 00 am till 5 pm. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to join in.

Sat 25 - Bentael Reserve Hike

Bentael means the daughter of God in the old Syriac language. Bentael is the first protected area which was developed by a non-government organization in 1981. The land in Bentael is a public land reserved for the protection of plants and animals typical of the habitat at 300m up to 850m elevation.

This hike is a combination of culture, art, and hiking. In addition to walking through a beautiful forest and discovering Bentael Natural Reserve where trees meet the sky, you will have the opportunity to get to know a great Lebanese artist, whose talent is beyond compare. We will visit his museum and studio during our hike. 
We are proud to have such ideal Lebanese citizens who lift up the name of our country: Joseph Matar

The hike will be divided into two levels.
LEVEL 5 consists of many upward and downward slopes. You will start from a village called Kfarmasoun. You will walk along nice trails until you reach Meshehlen, another beautiful village with two very old historical churches, Mar Edna and Mar Semaan.
From there you will head to the entrance of Bentael Reserve, and before hiking through it, you will visit the museum and studio of Michel Sacre. It will surely be a memorable visit where you will be astounded by the hidden talents of our dear country.
Once you enter the reserve, you will see old hermitages carved in the rocks, dating more than 1500 years old. Then you will walk along the trails where views are spectacular. The area is full of trees and wonderful views. 
The hike will end in Kfarmas7oun.

LEVEL 3 will start with level 5, but after visiting the old churches of Mar Edna and Mar Semaan, you will take an easier track until you reach the bird watching tower of the reserve. It is a very scenic spot, overlooking breathtaking views. After a short rest there, 
you will continue to meet level 5 at the museum and studio of Michel Sacre. Then the two groups will continue together and hike in the reserve of Bentael, where you will see old hermitages, dense pine forests and great views.

On the way back, we will stop in Edde to visit an old historical church, Mar Geryes, with Roman ruins around it.

WHERE: Kfarmasoun - Bentael
In Jbeil district
700 m above sea level
40 km from Beirut

WHEN: Saturday Feb 25 

MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden. There will be a breakfast stop along the way.

PRICE: 55,000 LL per person including transport, guides, insurance, and entrance to the reserve. (Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process).

WHAT TO GET: Get some light snacks that will boost up your energy such as dried fruits. Pack your backpacks with water, lunch, a cap, sunglasses and sunscreen. Don’t forget to get a jacket.

RESERVATION: For reservation call 79-115001 or 03-917190 every day between 9AM and 5 PM. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to attend.

Sun 26 - Zarzour SS

Zaarour is the closest snow resort to Beirut. 
At 1650 m above sea level, you will enjoy wonderful views. Zaarour overlooks Sannine Mountains and the Valley of the Skulls. 

As usual, we will have two levels.
The easy level is for nature lovers who like to enjoy the scenery and take photos. There will be ascents, but nothing to worry about.
The harder level is for those of you who prefer to have a workout. There won't be much time for rest, photo stops and leisure walks. The route will have uphill slopes.

You will all reach the top where wonderful views of the Bekaa Valley and Zahle can be seen. 
Both levels will meet for lunch in a picturesque setting.

WHERE: Zaarour
43 km from Beirut 
1650 m above sea level
WHEN: Sunday, Feb 26

WHAT TO GET: Get a snowsuit or anything waterproof to prevent your clothes from getting wet. Wear waterproof boots (preferably after-ski boots), or get thick nylon bags to cover your walking shoes. Don’t forget the woolen hat and gloves. Pack your backpack with water, lunch, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Energy snacks will be a good idea too!

MEETING PLACE: 7:30 AM in the parking of Sagesse School in Jdeideh, facing the public garden.

PRICE: 65,000 LL per person including transport, guides, insurance, snowshoes.
(Please get the exact change to facilitate and speed up the registration process).
VT members get a 25% discount on sports equipment and apparel found in all branches of Maison du Ski!

RESERVATION: For reservation call 79-115001 or 03-917190 from 9 00 am till 5 pm. It is preferable to send an SMS from your mobile, giving your name, surname, and the event you wish to join in.

NB: Sometimes, due to reasons beyond our control, slight modifications to the program may occur. Ecotourism rules must be followed, otherwise personal accidents will not be accounted for by the insurance. 

Regards, 
Vamos Todos


 
 
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