Snow in Summer

I was on my way to Hauraman, some villages high up in the kurdish mountains, and famous for the extreme serpents leading there. It was end of May and the beginning of the iranian summer. The sun was burning and the road going mostly uphill, so when i saw a water place at the side of the road, i was gratefully stopping my bike. I stood under a tree, trying to figure out where to put my bike in order to get water (my bike, when loaded, can hardly stand by itself and usually needs something to lean on, which at times really drives me crazy!), when a man approached me and handed me a piece of bread. He asked me if i need help and i asked him if i may lean my bike on his car. He agreed and i pushed it over to his pickup, when he got on the back and started to open the cargo area. Apparently he thought i asked him for a ride 😀 I told him it’s fine, i just wanted to wash my face, but he said “No problem!” Well, it turned out he would also go to Hauraman and since i already expected to hitchhike sooner or later, it actually came in quite handy. Also, i had a really nice feeling with him, so we decided we would visit Hauraman together.

After picking me up at the water place he drove me to his family and friends, who were already waiting by the river to have a piknik together.
It was going higher and higher, and like so many times, i was happy to be picked up and not to have to climb this ascent with the bike. And on the back of the pickup i had the best view and the wind blowing in my face as a contrast to the burning afternoon sun.
As we went higher and higher, there was also more and more snow visible.
But i wouldn’t have think that we would be riding right through it! The roadsides were full of slowly melting patches of snow.
And while people were having snowballfights, it was still 30°C! So everyone dug some snow (preferably not from the brown surface) and put it in their water containers to have some ice cold water later.
This contrast of summer heat and snow was so great! Everyone enjoyed this unique opportunity and people started to slide down the hills on plastic bags or just on their pants…
Everywhere in the snow, there were some caves, where people would scratch out the fresh snow for their containers of all sizes. Once, i even spotted a guy shoveling the snow right on the back of his pickup! I have no idea what he had in mind with it 😀
We found a beautiful place to camp, in front of this oversized pomegranate and with a great view over the valley of Hauraman.
The village in the front is right at the border with Iraq. These border areas are were the so called “ghachaghchi” are active, smuggler who bring all kind of things into Iran. My new friend surprisingly was one of them, specialized in refrigerators. Due to the sanctions on Iran, many things are hard to get a hand on here. New fridges seem to be one of them, although i never saw such a high standard of fridges anywhere else, with many fridges having a built in water dispenser and ice cube maker. Sometimes these smuggler get into trouble with the border police and some fridges end up with bullet holes in their walls. These fridges are the bargains for people who want a state-of-the-art-fridge and don’t mind the additional decoration.
The crowds around Hauraman were big. It was the end of Ramazan, followed by the mourning days (the days around Ayatollah Khomeinis death), so everyone had several free days and who could went out of the polluted cities in the mountains. Most of the people were from nearby, but i met groups from Kashan or Tehran as well. But after the highest point, it suddenly became really quiet…
I hardly met anyone afterwards, and the roads were almost empty.
The path, leading up to the road, is one of the many footpaths smugglers used for long times.
For hours it was basically just going down, often in serpents like these. I have no idea how high the peak was, but it must have been quite high.
One of the few poeple i met in this part of the journey, after seing that i took photos of the landscapes asked me if he should take a photo of me. So you, my dear reader, has the rare chance to see a photo OF me, not just shot by me 😉
Actually, instead of humans, i met plenty of other animals on these roads. For some while, these grasshoppers, long as my indexfinger, were everywhere. They would just sit on the road and hardly move. Many of them were smashed by cars, which didn’t impress their fellows at all, they rather started to eat each other. Which made me wonder: Are they kind of playing a game, where they all stand on the road, and lucky ones, who didn’t get smashed under tires, may eat their congener as a reward? Anyway, it was quite nasty to look at, and in addition, whenever i stopped, they would actually start to walk up my legs, waaah!
Another species: This guy was alone and actually seemed like close to death. He could hardly walk and i helped him over the street. But he was huge! It’s hard to see, but it’s as big as my hand. I think one of the biggest insects i saw in live so far.
But i also met some not so creepy creatures on my way 😉

Finally, after hours of continuously going down (my brakes already started to make noises, the brakepads literally crying and pleading to be replaced), i finally made it to a river. I was happy and thought now it would go flat along the river. But i was only happy for so long, as the descent from before just turned into a just another just as steep ascent. And imagine my shock when the town i set as my goal for the day, and thought to be just around the corner, turned out to be still 80 km away! Up the hill!

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