Jun 25, 2013

Climbing to the Moon - Evening with the NC

This is the first time I sit cross-legged in the bus, I'm absolutely exhausted as I go back home 7 in the morning, after what I call a once a year event. I can even still feel the weight of the enormous bags I had as we climbed that magnificent mountain, Jabal Moussa.

It was yet another unforgettable event with the Night Collective, lovers of the night, with whom I went to a night in Nahr Ibrahim. My group was set to meet at Adma, at around 8:30 to move up to our landing point, where we'd park the cars and start the hike. Due to some mishaps, the appointment was delayed and we had to spend a bit more time on the famous Casino highway. It's been a dream to me to be standing there on the side that overlooks the Jounyeh bay, and simply be taking pictures for a whole night. There it was, right in front of me, but the unbelievable traffic restrained me on the other side, leaving me to car trail photos and some compositions of the moon.

Oh, the moon :) the event last night was held on the occasion of the super moon, an event that's said to happen once every few years. That's why the organizers chose one of the highest points that overlook Beirut and Jounyeh, and at the same time maintain the adventurous aspect to it, in terms of climbing the mountain and camping on top, by the side of the famous lit-up cross.

I don't know about the first group, but I can tell you this. Our hike was purely awesome. When I first saw the mountain I felt exhilarated, I couldn't believe I'd actually be on top of THAT mountain in a matter of time. It eventually took us more than 1:30h of sweat, slips and breaks on the cliff before we could reach the top. At first I was number 6 in line, a while later found out I was sharing leadership with a wonderful guy called Nareg, with everybody left behind. One thing I liked though was calling out for numbers all along the path. I was 6 so I'd scream 6 when needed for others to know I'm okay. Neat!

Eventually I found in Nareg a good companion for the rest of the trip, and I was personally impressed by my endurance. We eventually made it to the "big cross" I kept hearing about, and there they were, the first group of the Night Collective.

They were scattered all over, feeling tired and ready for the next step. It was time for everybody over there to take care of our shiny guest for the night, our mighty moon was waiting right above us.

It wasn't long before everybody greeted everybody, hugged and kissed, took their place, had a few bites and instantly put their gear to work. Honestly, I don't hide that I tried taking a few shots here and there, found out eventually I just wasn't at my best. It was obviously because of the exhausting hike, although I had been constantly visually capturing pictures with my bare eyes, imagining them on my camera LCD in a few, something that hadn't happened as expected.

Super Moon
It was not until Sabine, the NC newbie and my companion along the road, came and asked for the help I promised her earlier. She wanted to do some HDR at that time, trying to get all the exposures available in order to have the perfect photo, something like what you see with your eyes. Music was everywhere around the place, mouths were somewhat silent expect for a few chatter voices around the dark corners lit by the enormous cross in the middle.

I personally think of photography as a religious ritual. If that wasn't prayer, with all its respect and discipline, with all its perfectionism and skill, then prayer will remain a collection of irrelevant actions. It was pitch dark where I had stepped foot later on, right below that cross, trying to find the perfect angle that would make my pictures unforgettable. Little did I know that I was already where I needed to be, it was the tranquility that I needed, the seclusion, the silence and the perspective that was right there in front of me. I truly needed that, and that was more than enough.

Driving to the church by the edge of Jabal Moussa, with Khalil and Sabine

I still remember the laughs we had while climbing, the ruined cake that made it all the way to the top and crashed right there ^_^ , the moment we all froze on that cliff looking at that meteor elegantly travelling the open sky in front of us, the moment we met the guide for the first time, the thyme shrubs all over and of course, the glorious moon that accompanied us throughout the night. I still remember the fireplace, the burnt mellows and the grilled hotdogs. I still remember the time I jumped in the middle of the group photo to take off my burning shirt by the fire.

King of the night, my majestic super moon.
The overwhelming trip made it too hard for me to resist the coziness of the sleeping bag I got. It was time for me to rest my eyes for an hour, at least that's what I thought. It wasn't until 5:00 AM till I felt Rabih waking me up and telling me it's time to leave. Usually those first few minutes from when I wake up seem to always vanish usually in the middle of my morning's traffic and unbearable repetitive car horns, but that morning was different. I can never forget the path we took, the little time I took to literally pack 4 bags altogether, and of course my friends' faces, those who were still awake at least.

Climbing down the Jabal Moussa mountain
40 minutes later, we found ourselves on the asphalt again, church is all lit and it was marvelous. Said goodbye to everybody and headed back to the highway. Rabih dropped me off on the highway to Tripoli, took the other way back to Beirut, grabbed my stuff, and drove back again to Tripoli in one of those mini-buses. Here I am, cross-legged and sleepy, a feeling I would never forget. Thank you Night Collective!


  1. Replies
    1. I was reading it again and I'm loving it too ^_^

  2. I just love the way u think and write...the way ur eyes revive beauty ...
    And mostly the way you feel...

  3. This is nice post and wonderful,I like it nature's beauty.........

    Climb Kilimanjaro

  4. Beautiful pictures loved them and also your writing is awesome .a nice and perfect post.