Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Laqluq and `Aqura
My friend Philippe and I hiked around the region of Laqluq yesterday, in the Qada of Jubayl. We walked the summit zone, which, at 2.200m, overlooks the jurd (wilderness) of Aqura as well as the `Aqura plain. There are very few signs that other people walk these lands: the empty cartridge shells of the hunters stop way before the point where we started the walk. There were goat droppings though, because these lands are grazed by the goat herds of the Bedouins who, I was told, have been in the region for 300 years. They are transhumant and overwinter in Chekka, near the coast. The region is breathtakingly beautiful, way above the tree line, except for the occasional Juniper, the only tree that can survive at these altitudes. The photo above shows a general view, with the Bedouin encampment and the circular goats pen several hundred meters below.
The geology of the area is tormented: like most of Lebanon, it is sedimentary and mostly made out of various types of limestone. But the tectonic forces have squeezed the sedimentary layers into mountains several tens of millions of years ago, creating fantastically striated scenery.
The `Aqura plain is in fact a circular depression lying to the west-across the summit- of the Yammouneh depression, another elevated fertile plain created by the Yammouneh fault that runs from the border between Asia and Africa all the way into Turkey. `Aqura is where what are probably the best apples of Lebanon are grown, along with late summer vegetables irrigated from snow melt stored into large earthen ponds. This method of water storage is extremely effective but I haven't seen it implemented on a large scale except in `Aqura and in the High Metn, in the region of Kfarselwan.