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.