Nandal village hiking is exciting and uplifting. Nandal village is close to Mount Damavand in Mazandaran Province, Iran.
Desperate for a Trip
My heart was beating for a long trek. Twenty days without an even short trip to a small hill around Pardis country, especially in Ramadan, is a real drag. I felt a little under the weather. However, I was desperate for a trip. My brother in law, Ishmael, called me on Wednesday evening and said; “we are heading to Nandal village. Are you coming with us?” My answer was positive.
Nandal Village Road
You have to drive a zig-zag narrow road from Haraz Road upward to get to Nandal village. It takes nearly 40 minutes to get to Nandal village from the very beginning of the road at the bottom. It was cloudy, but there was no wind.
Getting Ready for Nandal Hiking
We started out hiking trip at around 9:00 in the morning with my brother-in-law, Ishmael, and my cousin’s husband, Muhammad. It was cloudy and misty. Hiking in a misty weather could be dangerous and interesting at the same time. You might get disoriented when the cloud is close to mountain. But we were in safe hands. I packed my stuff and put my backpack on my shoulders and hit the mountain trail.
Hiking in the Mist
The trail was not easy to hike. The trail was steep and stony. The stones were slippery. I fell down nearly twice. We occasionally stopped to rest. Since it was misty, I had no idea how high we were on mountain. After a while, we heard barking. Barking means a flock of sheep. The sound was getting closer and closer, but nothing could be seen farther than two meters away. The mist got weakened and three dogs in different colors appeared on the left side. Barking dogs never bite. Two shepherds waved for us and we waved back. So, we stopped on a first peak and had some fruits and refreshments. It boosted me up.
After a while, we heard barking. Barking means a flock of sheep. The sound was getting closer and closer, but nothing could be seen farther than two meters away. The mist got weakened and three dogs in different colors appeared on the left side. Barking dogs never bite. Two shepherds waved for us and we waved back. So, we stopped on a first peak and had some fruits and refreshments. It boosted me up.
Climbing Up to the Shepherd Shelter
We resumed our track fresh. The mist was ebbing and flowing. We could hear the thunderbolt ahead of us. We were heading toward it. The volcanic stones on our path suddenly changed the scenery. They were covered with orange and white lichens. The dew and the lichens on the stones increased the chance of losing our footings. Nevertheless, we managed it. We came across a large group of Barberry Shrubs. I picked up some of leaves and tasted them. It was sour, but not sour yuck. It was tasty and worth trying.
Hidden Gems up on the Mountain
Grazing sheep high up on Alborz mountain range is quite common. One can spot the flocks of sheep on the mountain far away. Shepherds put up a tent and take the sheep out in the morning and return before sunset. But they leave something precious behind: lambs. Sheep should gaze out on the steep mountain which is literally impossible for little lambs. Therefore, shepherds put little lambs in a covered dry-stone shelter to protect them from potential danger. Quite interesting, isn’t it?
Dry-Stone Shelter Stock
The rain began beat against us harder and harder. We continued the mountain trail until we reached the big round dry-stone shelter wall. It was around one o’clock in the afternoon. At the left corner, it was covered with waterproof fabric supported by wooden poles. It was smelly to rest there. So, we stayed out side. The blizzard struck while we were trying to build a fire. I rummaged through my backpack and found ground sheet. Ishmael got the wooden poles and Muhammad got the stone. We put up a so-called tent and made an herbal tea.
Two local shepherds joined us for a drink after the blizzard stopped. They were out looking for mushrooms. Hills round the Nandal village are filled mushrooms in late April and May. We offered them some snacks and hot tea.
As they decided to leave, it started to rain. It was time to eat something delicious. Yes, grilled corn. We barbecued sweet corns on charcoals and ate them voraciously as a lunch!
Hiking Down through the Mist
It was raining cats and dogs. It was 15:00 P.M. and it was time to climb down to Nandal village. The mist got thicker and thicker on our way back down.
We descended the mountains and reached a valley. A flock of sheep were gazing there. We had a small chat with the shepherds. They were Afghans, not locals.
And then we trekked slowly down the slopes until we get to the pathway. Although the mist disappeared, Mount Damavand was stilled encircled with thick clouds.
Nandal village is perfect for hiking and trekking. In my following trips, I will let you know about the hiking trails and trekking routes in the area. I will announce the upcoming trip on my Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/bahram_gur/