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ANOTHER TREK INTO THE UNKNOWN, THIS TIME A SALT FLAT

I will keep the place a secret,  I will not name it. The reason is so that it is saved from mass tourism and an inevitable destruction. This place is out of this world and deserves to stay this way. 
I had been thinking of trekking the entire length of this salt lake for some years. Due to several factors it had not been possible to pull it off. Firstly, very few people had trekked it. Secondly, the window period in which it could be safely undertaken is short, from the intense heat to the extreme cold and the fact that in winter it is flooded. 
From the moment the decision to trek the salt flat was taken to the day we started the trek only 2 weeks lapsed.We had to be quick.  Three of us met in a city somewhere in northern Iran and we set off one early morning to what we had decided would be the starting point.
The old Iranian assembled 4WD got as far as it could. We get off only to discover that the front tire was ruptured. The driver, an old friend of one of the participants is alone and has to drive back to the city to get the tire repaired. We are a little apprehensive leaving him behind. What if the spare tire which we have put under one of the wheels also meets with the same fate on his way back to civilization? 
He is a man in his late 50s, a prisoner of war for 8 years. When you ask his date of birth he tells you the year he was released from Iraqi camp, he was then 27 years old. He was taken prisoner when him and his fellow conscripts came under fire one night driving to spend a few days holiday with family. The driver was hit in the head and died on the spot. He escaped from the vehicle and hid in the bushes but had to give himself up when the guerrilla fighters went for him. He was only 19 at the time. Later they sold him to the Iraqi army.
He phones his nephew and arranges to meet him explaining the situation. We say good buy and hand him one of the talkie walkies. We have arranged a meeting point over the other side of the lake if we can cross it. There is no mobile coverage, no nothing, just a salt flat the whole way, so we know looking at satellite images of the area. 
We are each carrying a backpack of some 20-25 KG, we need everything for the next 2-3 days but mostly water. We have downloaded a track onto our GPS which is some 42 KMs, theoretically we could walk this in 2 days. 
We are now almost 10 Kms into the trek and feel the mud underneath our feet become soft and sticky, last week there were heavy rains in the area. We know we are a little late in season and what we cannot know is whether the flat is flooded further on or not. We prepare ourselves for a rough night, perhaps having to walk back, perhaps having to walk continuously forward or even perhaps having just to sit on salted water the whole night to get some rest. We are getting a little anxious. The landscape is breathtaking. I suggest we return, no-one listens. One of us who is in front speeds up and there is now a good couple of hundred meters between him and I, the third guy is far behind. It is now mid afternoon. A few hundred meters and the mud slowly begins to be covered with salt which is taking hexagonal shape. We become a little excited and within another half a kilometer we are on hard salt, amazing shapes and forms. We gain speed and try and cover as much ground as we can, our legs are beginning to ache. We are thinking of our loyal driver friend. 
The ground is wet and after covering 20 kms just after sunset and before it gets dark we find  a spot, a large polygon to set up camp. The ground is wet but not flooded. We spend a cold night under a trillion stars cramped into just one small tent.
The next day we get up before sunrise. The silence and the vast open landscape defies belief. And there is nothing, no-one, just salt and the sky..... 
Enjoy the photos and if you ever decide to come to Iran for any trek consider doing this trek. You will need 5 days from Tehran. Please leave your GPS at home. Some places are best kept the way they have always been. This is one of them.
We meet our driver friend on the other side for a memorable night together, sitting round fire drinking tea and seeing the sun go down over the hills in the far distance. We have made it and we are content. One of us suggests hiking the lengh of Rig-e-Jenn, the most feared desert in Iran ! Some 170km of sand dunes and flats inaccessible by any vehicle except for a few spots in between. This would be much tougher. Perhaps one day we will give it a try.












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Entradas populares de este blog

I have 4 days for trekking in the Alamut Valley, what can I do?

Option 1

It would be possible to do 4 days from Lake Ovan to the Caspian hinterland via Khashechal summit( 4120 m). However, if you are to walk from the lake itself you really need 5 days of trekking plus the day to get there and to get to Tehran ie 7 days in total. If you wish to walk it in 4 days ie 6 days in total then you need to leave out the summit.


Option 2

Another option would be to start from Garmarood, where the ridge is lower and the summit you can do is off the path and is 3600m. There is a dirt road that you will have to cross 3 times on foot and there will be some cars passing from May until October but this will be a short stretch.

You may end either in Maran or in Yuj.


The main differences between the two are the crossing of a road which is absent from the first trek, and the fact that the first trek goes through some of the most pristine Hyrcanian forests terminating at 900m ASL but in option 2 the trek ends above the forest line at about 2200mASL and the rest is in …

Ski and Snowboarding in Iran

Leave your prejudices where you live and come skiing in Iran !

Yes, we have ski resorts and when people are busy skiing in Iran,   many European resorts  are waiting for their first snowfall ! 
Besides, you pay embarrassingly little to ski in Iran.
Here you have a list of all the ski resorts close to Tehran:
1. Tochal Ski resort, this is the highest ski resort in Iran. It starts close to the summit at 3850m and is some 1200m long. It is skiable for almost 8 months of the year! It is a short car drive from central Tehran.
http://tochal.org/en
2. Dizin, arguably the best ski resort in Iran,  it is situated deep in the central Alborz range with spectacular views of the Alborz summits such as Alam Kooh and Mount Damavand. It is a 3 hour drive from the capital. There are 7500m of ski pistes from 3600 m down to 2650m of altitude.
3. Darband Sar is 50KM north of Tehran. It is a good resort for experienced skiers.
4. Abali Ski resort is on the eastern part of the city and is one of the oldest …

Off-Road trips Iran

If you are looking to go off road in Iran and have your own vehicle or want to hire a four wheel drive 4WD vehicle in Iran with or without a driver then please write to
info@khoonegeli.com or send a message to +989371501993