miércoles, 13 de junio de 2018

Professional Mountain Bike / MTB hire in Iran

For enquiries please email info@caspiantrek.com

martes, 5 de junio de 2018

What can I wear and not wear whilst trekking in Iran

This is a common question from trekkers wishing to undertake a trek in Iranian nature.
Basically, it depends on where you are, who your guide is and how likely it is that you come across locals.
Shorts are not allowed for men or women alike. Short sleeves are OK if you are a man and also OK if you are a woman provided women have a long sleeve handy to put over their T shirt and a hat or a head scarf  which they put over their head when passing villages or coming into contact with locals. The minimum dress code for women in the urban areas i.e the long  overcoat is not compulsory in nature. If you are in very remote areas where coming into contact with locals is highly unlikely then you may wear shorts which cover the knee but remember the exposed parts o your legs will be more prone to bites ans sunburn. Asking your guide is a good option but you need also to consider that some guides are more conservative than others.

lunes, 4 de junio de 2018

The Zagros trek Part 2

And we crossed that bridge!
We then had to negotiate our way through some steep rocky trail to get to the "flat" part of the trail grabbing whatever piece of rock we could. For the next time we decided to have fixed ropes installed although we doubt there will be a next time as this area is so pristine and the nomads so authentic and their culture so untouched that we would hate to contaminate that. Beautiful oak forest of the southern Zagros with lush green meadows, interesting looking limestone carved out by the forces of nature are is our vista, there is one that must be 25 m high in the shape of a mushroom, amazing!. We climb up a very steep scree only for Mehdi to tell us that we have taken the wrong path ! It is getting dark. We wait and he goes continues to see if he can find the trail leading to the first nomadic settlement, they call these Maal. Last time he came to this area was over 5 years back so he could be forgiven for mistaking the path. Soon he comes back telling us he had heard the bells of some goats. The young shepherd greets us with surprise, he has never ever seen a European in flesh. He immediately invites us to his home. The family consisting of a few younger and one older brother are there. The mother soon arrives carrying a bunch of wood fire she has collected. It looks heavy. We sit down to chit chat, they have many questions and we answer them patiently. The rain starts and it is heavy, the decision to camp next to their Maal is abandoned without much sorrow and they make room for the 4 of us in their only habitable room together with a goat and themselves probably up to 8 in that room. We sleep well although the baby goat had to be taken out in the middle of the night for this to happen! For dinner we are served rice, lentils and a stew made from pomegranate and of course the indispensable goat milk yogurt and thin oak bread. The Bakhtiyari food is simple and not very tasty.
In the morning with the sun shining we decide to leave our heavy backpacks and go for a visit to another settlement an hours walk away to see the famous stone lions in their cemetery when we are nicely surprised to see, from the distance that the very Maal where we had spent the previous night had several beautifully carved stone lions dating back over 60 year. We change our plans and instead head towards the house of a village elder who Mehdi had met 5 years ago. On the way we come across a nomadic school. The kids around 13 of them ranging from 7-11 are all sitting under the roof of an abandoned Maal. A few meters away is a small metallic shelter supposed to act as their classroom. They have books but no notebooks to write on. Their shoes torn they clothes dirty their faces wild dirty and nomadic. Some have green and blue eyes. The teacher is from Aligoodarz and spends 25 days on the row in the Maal and then goes home to rest. The children do not know where Europe is, neither have they even heard of or seen an orange fruit! I am shaken, saddened and mesmerized. I take a few portraits. I am having difficulty believing that this is also Iran.


miércoles, 30 de mayo de 2018

A family trek in the Alborz mountains

http://nielsbogerd.com/worldtrip/2018/05/28/the-albroz-mountains/http://nielsbogerd.com/worldtrip/2018/05/28/the-albroz-mountains/

martes, 29 de mayo de 2018

The Zagros and the Bakhtiyaris Part 1

Mehdi and I had talked about this trek for some months. He had been to this area twice before, the last being 5 years back. It is by far the remotest part of Iran, some 8 hours between the beginning of the trail from the city of Isfahan a grand part of which a terrible dirt road recently constructed for the stuy of another damn dam on one of the great rivers of southern Iran the Bazoft.

Then the email came in. A Dutch/ Belgian couple ;looking for a 10 day trek in the Alamut Valley in April. To cover 10 continuous days this time of the year would be very difficult if not impossible because of snow and risk of avalanches.

A few emails later I put forward the idea of doing a 4 day trek from Ovan to the Caspian hinterland plus a week in the Zagros. Lady T who had been in touch with me on behalf of the couple accepted my offer, all she had found on the internet was very touristy for their taste. They were real adventurers who had taken 2 years sabbatical to travel the world's most famous and unknown mountains. Iran was one destination out of may that included the Rockies in the USA , off the beaten track Nepal etc. They were looking for something authentic.

I personally never have any particular expectations and try not to foment an image of the places I am going to visit for the first time. I was in for a real surprise. And so were they.

We met in Isfahan in their hotel. The Bakhtiyari driver in his old 4x4 Toyota was there when I arrived, Mehdi arrived a few minutes later and we were off, first to Shahre Kord where we stopped for a moka that would put shame to almost all if not all baristas in Tehran and Isfahan alike. Inside a humble shack we had the best espresso I have had since I visited Rome 4 years ago. You cannot beat the Romans on coffee but this came close. And it it cost a 5th of what you would have to cough up in the IKA.
From here we went towards Kuhrang deep in the heart of the Bakhriyari territory. All in all we were in that Toyota for 8 hours the more we drove the further we went back in history. In late afternoon we departed with our excellent driver, heavy backpacks containing food and logistics for 6 days on our shoulders and then the great surprise. A long narrow rickety looking bridge hanging over the river some 100 m below. Holy S.... do we really have to walk over this Mehdi? The answer was obvious.
It was going to be an adventurous trek and I was so far true to my words to the couple who took everything in their stride and were great company.


miércoles, 11 de abril de 2018

Haj Ali Gholi

This is said to be the most beautiful salt lake in Iran. I have been wanting to cross it on foot from East to West for a couple of years now but because of the narrow window in which one could do this before it is waterlogged or due to intense summer heat other commitments have meant it has not happened yet. Last Autumn together with a few friends, old and new we decided we wanted to cross it by 4WD. We had a professional off-roader Hossein Delfan with us as the leading pilot. Below, you can see the outcome of this unsuccessful attempt. Hossein reckons that by mapping the area carefully it should be possible to do this crossing. It would be the first time in history if this happens. The locals I talked to said it was impossible because even in the height of the summer large parts of the dried lake remains wet just under the crust and you could only walk it. The walk would be approximately 52 kilometers and done in 2 days. In the old days camel herders and other locals used to walk the length of this to get from village to village.
The man playing the accordion is Omid Kamali a friend and a composer from Gorgan. We had a lot fun fun digging out Hussein's car after having to camp on the spot because of darkness. We had with us food, water and something stronger to keep the cold at bay.
Enjoy the images and if you feel like trekking this wonderland get in touch here, info@alamuttrek.com

martes, 10 de abril de 2018

Latif and Yakhab Mountain range

If you are in Isfahan or Kashan and want to get away from the noise and pollution of the cities then you might wish to consider a piece of paradise just 2 hours away. Latif and Yakhab mountain range. You can hike the sand dunes, see an ancient fortress and taste the Salt from one of Iran's biggest salt lakes, all and all in 3 days. Besides you will have the opportunity to sleep in a million star dwelling!