01-Jun-2017 -- We named this confluence point the “Only five kilometers to go and nothing is impossible”-confluence-point and it is the highest in Iran and the entire Middle-East. Due to different reasons it took us four days to finally reach the point.
After a day of sightseeing in Tehran, we had a briefing at 07:00 in Hotel Hafez with our Iranian guides/confluence hunters from www.adventureiran.com, Masha and Alireza. They already did some hiking in Lār National Park and they were positive about a quick visit and later maybe go to Mount Damāwand (5610 m). This turned out to be a bit too positive.
On Monday morning 06:00 we had to leave Tehran. We were not allowed to use the Landrover in Tehran after 06:30 because of an air pollution regulation. We reached Polūr early in the morning and bought provisions for our trip. This day our goal was to reach a place in Lār National Park for camping. The next day we could attempt to reach the confluence point. Actually we hoped to reach the point already on the same day and we felt really positive about it.
Actually Lār National Park was not yet open for public at this time of year but Masha and Alireza were organizing a skyrunning contest through Lār National Park this year and therefore we were allowed to access the park.
On this Monday we tried two roads to reach the spot where we intended to set up our camp, but in the end both roads turned out to be blocked by snow. This was a major setback. We went to Polūr and slept in Basecamp 1. This mountain refuge is normally used by hikers who want to climb Mount Damāwand.
The next day we took the route Masha and Alireza went before, walking along river Lār. This turned out to be a great adventure, with climbing and some adrenalin moments in a great and beautiful mountain landscape. The river made a lot of noise and was always present. Unfortunately it took us too much time. At 16:00 we reached the spot, where we intended to camp. The spot where “the yellow and red roads” meet, with a bridge and a nomad settlement that’s only used in summer. The confluence point was only 5 km away, “as the bird flies”.
Now we had another challenge. How to get back to Basecamp 1 in Polūr? By road it was a 25 km hike to get out of Lār National Park. This would mean walking till midnight.
Then there was “the miracle of Damāvand”, a white pickup truck came slowly down the mountain. We could not believe our eyes. It was impossible but yet again nothing is impossible. We began to whistle and the pickup truck turned and drove towards us. The driver told us he wanted to have a picnic with his wife and son. What about the snow on the road? Just give gas! His car was smaller than ours and the snow had been melting, so this car had managed to get past the patches of snow that had stopped us 2 days ago.
So the sun was shining again for us. We probably also could use the road again. After the picnic the driver took us in his car, speeding down the mountain roads and stopped one time to use a huge searchlight and let us see a rabbit hopping on the mountain in the night. We arrived at 22:00 in Basecamp 1 in Polūr.
On Wednesday we had a problem at the gate of the park, probably because of our late adventure the day before. After two hours we were allowed to enter but we had to promise to get out of the park before 20:30 PM. Alireza and Masha made it possible to enter the park again.
This time we brought 2 shovels to remove snow from the road and after a lot of shoveling we could continue till we reached the spot where we went the day before. From there it was just 5 km from the confluence point. We started to walk at 13:30 and we said to ourselves “yet another day in paradise!” To reach the point we had to cross a river. This was impossible but yet again nothing is impossible because a snow bridge was not yet melted and was strong enough to carry us over the river. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to reach the point. At 16:15 we decided to go back, approx. 650 meters from the confluence point “as the bird flies”.
This was again a major setback because it was not certain we could enter the park again. On our way out, at the gate of the park Alireza and Masha asked for permission to enter the park the next day. This was difficult. They had to talk to the senior officer. He did not immediately give us permission and asked Alireza to call him in the evening. This did not look good. Alireza could not reach the senior officer in the evening, so we had to wait till next morning: last day sightseeing in Tehran, or one last attempt?
On Thursday at 09:30 we got the permission to go into the park again. Nothing is impossible! We began walking at 11:00. Time enough to reach the confluence point. Another day in paradise! We did take a slightly different route to the point by walking on the left side of the river a bit longer and took a second snow bridge to cross the river. At around 15:15 we reached the confluence point during our last day in Iran! Ton found some hail bullets, so someone had been in the area before. After taking pictures we began to descend and we returned to the Landrover.
This has been a great visit. Many thanks to Alireza, Masha, Ton, and Farhad for their spirit of “Nothing is impossible”. On Friday 03:20 AM we took a KLM plane back to the Netherlands.