Summer is a good season for trekking in the Alborz mountain range overlooking northern Tehran, allowing you to escape the heat from the arid plateaus of central Iran to reach the temperate Caspian Sea.


The circuit of 3000 valleys


Summer is a good season for trekking in the Alborz mountain range overlooking northern Tehran, allowing you to escape the heat from the arid plateaus of central Iran to reach the temperate Caspian Sea. taking advantage of the magnificent landscapes and untouched nature that are offered to the eye.

Starting from Tehran on a summer evening by minibus with a small group of walkers, we reach the small town of Taleghan, starting point of our trek north-east of Tehran at 1800 meters altitude.

A wedding reception is in full swing in a village square. We can only see men, some dancing and playing music. The women dance and sing under a reception cloth, sheltered from foreign eyes. As an exception, the bride, whose face is partly hidden by a large white cap, leaves his guests a moment to come and offer us some fruits as a sign of welcome. After this little festive interlude, we take our minibus to install our camp near a stream, starting point of our hike the next day. Some choose to sleep under the tent, others, the bravest, under the stars. The choice of the tent will prove to be the best because in the middle of the night, a storm breaks out and tents have to be rushed. Before dawn, however, we are awake, bathing in the water, the tents not being the proof of this strong and improbable summer rain.

In the morning, the rain finally subsides. We take breakfast a few steps from our camp, at one of the muleteers who will accompany us in our circuit. A succulent date omelet is prepared by Ali Reza, our guide. After a few moments of hesitation during which we scan the sky, we end up embarking on the long walk that will take us from 2200 to 3300 meters above sea level, on the beautiful peaks of the Alam Kouh region. Alam), between streams, snowfields and herds. In the evening, when the tents come up, the rain starts to fall again but, to our great relief, it will not last.

 

Walk in the waters of the Vashi gorge (Tang-e Vashi), known as Alexander's Pass, on the trail of the Qajar tribes


At the foot of a mineral mass, formed of a large block of rocks, several kilometers long and 50 to 60 meters high, devoid of any vegetation, a large torrent emerges violently by a narrow fault. This fissure, eight to twelve meters wide and fifty meters high, looks like a sword blow in a large branch of softwood. It is the Alexander Pass, a beautiful resort, located 120 kilometers east of Tehran.

Historians tell us that this site is of the Caspian Gates, mentioned in the chronicles of Alexander the Great: after the destruction of Persepolis, Alexander sued Darius III, the Persian king, to defeat him definitively and seize his entire empire . He was informed that Darius has taken this route to flee to the east. It is after having left these gorges that Alexander and his companions will discover along the way the dead body of Darius, murdered and abandoned by his companions.

No path to follow this torrent whose waters arrive directly from the melting glaciers that descend from about 5 600 meters of Mount Damavand. The only way to progress is to walk directly into the torrent bed. In spite of the coldness of the water, coming directly from the glaciers upstream, and the slowness of the progression, because of the pebbles that line the bottom of the torrent, this walk is very pleasant during the hot days of summer. The site is magical. The pure water, illuminated by a subdued light that reaches the back of the gorge after a descent of 60 meters through the rocky fault, flows between two walls of blond rock.

 

 

 

After 10 minutes of walking, a surprise awaits the hiker. An immense bas-relief, cut in the rock, represents a scene of hunting in which King Qajar Fath Ali Shah, who ruled from 1797 to 1834, and his Court. It is one of nine rock reliefs representing mythical scenes, hunting or coronation, engraved at the time of this king of Qajar. The names of the different characters are indicated, as well as the information, on the bottom right, that this bas-relief was made by order of the governor of Firouzkouh, the nearest town. The text around the bas-relief tells the mythical story of the Qajar, descendants of Genghis Khan.

The gorge of Vashi was taken by the Qajari tribes from Turkmenistan, towards the plain and Tehran. In the 19th century, the pastures that followed this first parade belonged to them. It was also one of the mouflon hunting grounds, reserved for dignitaries. The bas-relief indicated, as it were, the gateway to the monarch's "mountain palace".

After fifteen minutes of walking, a wide green valley appears, with its cows, pastures and hedges of poplars. Once at the end of this valley about a kilometer long, we must walk again in the torrent at the bottom of a second fault. After a pleasant walk of twenty minutes, a beautiful waterfall closes the bottom of the canyon. And there, in the heat of summer, little resist the pleasure of passing under this stream of beneficial water.

We decide to go beyond this waterfall, usually the ultimate point of the local walkers. We must therefore leave the bed of the torrent and climb a small path along the cliff to pass upstream of the waterfall. The path is steep but quite short, and after the passage of large rocks, the valley widens, the stream becomes a brook and we arrive in a marsh pasture with reeds. The return to Tehran will be made by the same way.