Fall is right around the corner, and the weather will be cooling down; a bit. This weather calls for long walks, picnics, and hikes. I happen to know the perfect place for a beautiful scenic hike area, right up towards the North of Lebanon; a beautiful old town called Chouwen, a one hour drive from Beirut.
Like any old Lebanese town, Chouwen has its culture, its traditional houses, its shops, and its food. However, there is one thing that makes Chouwen a special marvel in its own right, and earned it the nickname Jannat Chouwen, or the "Chouwen Eden."
It goes beyond the beauty of a traditional Lebanese village. It is the dream place for hikers and nature lovers, and also for those who want to get to admire something unique.
If you hike down the hill and look between the trees, you’ll see a striking turquoise blue lake; something out of a dream. The lake actually looks like a painted picture, detailed and absolutely flawless.
This gorgeous lake, which is at 600 m above sea level, is only 40 Km away from Beirut. It's crazy knowing that such a splendor, that seems worlds' far, is of such a short ride ...away from the dust and noise of the urban life.
I am not a hiker. I actually look at hiking as a form of punishment to hike upwards and downwards in the blistering heat. However, I can promise you, that the 1.5-hour hike to the Chouwen lake is something worth the effort, and shouldn't be missed.
The trip itself is fun, inspiring, envigorating whilst being with your friends, enjoying the majestic nature of forests of oaks and pines mixed with a variety of other plants around and in between.
There is a particular thrill to that hike, bathed by fresh weather and the scents of nature filling your nostrils as you go on anticipating the marvel of that lake you so heard about from your friends.
You make your way down the guided path and stop regularly trying to glimpse between the trees at what seems to be suddenly surreal. Because it is, that lake is marvelous!
Upon your arrival (in between the avoidable huffs and puffs), you’ll get to catch your breath, and relax under the trees' shade by the lake as the sound of the water soothes you, and all the tiredness from the walk will vanish.
Let me tell you, the surroundings of that jewel of a lake look as if no one has ever been there before you; untouched, natural, like an Eden. The cleanliness of the lake and the surroundings will also take you by surprise.
Where there, one can also enjoy the comfort of disconnecting; like really disconnecting. All you could do with your cell phone is taking selfies and photos. It is just you, and nature, and your friends. You can consider it as a mini-vacation from the storm of worries and social commitments of your daily life.
On some trees right by the water edge, there are swings you may use to swing your way into that natural pool of refreshingly exquisite water. Thus, making it the perfect way to cool down after your hefty hike and, most importantly, enjoy the pleasure to swim in the heart of nature.
That Eden of Chouwen is a must to know up close. Don't miss the experience. The trip and the hike are worth your while, just so you can see another natural beauty that our spectacular Lebanon has to offer.