Getting lost in Alamut, mountain picnics and high altitude hiking

After reading my 2008 LP it mentioned a hike possible during summer from Alamut valley over a mountain pass towards the Caspian but didn’t really give too much information. Didn’t look to difficult and there were enough villages along the way to keep me living. So after checking out the old Musili castle in Gazor Khan I made a plan to hike from Garmarud to Yuj in 3 days. Can I just say the hike is possible without a guide over 3 days, I just fucked it up.

A taxi to Garmarud set me back 200,000IR (after a little haggling). Garmarud has 2 shops, about 3 people, just enough to get you started. It’s easy enough to bum a lift up to Pichebon (which has 2 shops and some lovely fields to camp in) from passing villagers or the guys constructing the new road. I opted for walking as I didn’t want to miss anything. Using the road, the walk should take about 4hrs (was pretty fucked after this considering I was carrying near 30kgs in pack. Near the town I was picked up by a passing villager, taken to a field of yellow flowers and fed a picnic, tops! What I should have done was set up camp there and continued over the ice cold mountain pass the next day. But taking the opportunity, I stayed on with the villagers as they were driving over to the other side. I figured I wasn’t going to miss anything as it was all just dense fog and a little snow.

The half dozen paragraphs and shitty map in the LP mentioned something about taking a right hand turn 1hr walk after the pass, but it’s hard to pick exactly when the pass is over. So of course, we drove right past it and I didn’t even notice, cunt! By now an hour had past and I had no idea where I was, the driver didn’t speak English, none of the town’s we past we on my map and it was wayyy to cold and wet to think about getting off and camping. The next 2 hours standing in the back of the pickup were exactly the same, wet. I figured he was driving somewhere, and when he stopped i’d get off and sleep there.

Well we stopped on the outskirts of a town near the Caspian Sea. I actually planned to get a 2hr bus from the end of the hike to this town, so I’d gone the right direction, just cheated, and miss out on a lot; will be attempting this hike again on my next visit to Iran.

In this town there were no hotels and I’m sure not many foreign tourists are seen here too often. Because it’s Iran, and everyone is super awesome, it wasn’t long before a local found me that spoke a little English. The local spoke to the town’s mosque and asked if I could spend the night there. Instead of sleeping at the mosque, one of the locals offered to take me home and sleep there. He introduced me to his home and family, very nice people who fed me and took me up to a cafe on the mountain which over looked the town, beautiful. So ended up being a pretty good hike.

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