Vista 100 veces, descargada 3 veces
preto de Hamūrak, Māzandarān (Iran)
(1) Garmarud to Pichebon: https://nl.wikiloc.com/routes-wandelen/d12-garmarud-piceh-bon-20848738
(2) Pichebon to the Se-Hezar valley: https://nl.wikiloc.com/routes-wandelen/2015-08-11-piche-bon-sern-11144143
(3) up the Se-Hezar valley, over Mishchal pass (4000m), to Parajan village: https://nl.wikiloc.com/routes-wandelen/prchn-bh-drjn-tlqn-bh-3000-parachan-to-darjan-from-alborz-5359855.
This report is mainly meant to provide some extra information in English, learnt from first-hand experience and aimed at those who would like to spend a few days in the Central Alborz region but don't quite know how to plan it. Apologies for not having provided our own tracks.
OVERVIEW PER DAY
(1) Garmarud to Pichebon:
Easy and straightforward climb taking about 4-5 hours. There are plenty of camping options in the grasslands around Pichebon village, although you might have to share the space with herds of sheep and their (invariably hospitable) herdsmen.
(2) Pichebon to the hot springs of the Se-Hezar valley:
Splendid ridge hike - once you get up the ridge, that is. There is almost no established path from the grasslands around Pichebon to the crest of the mountains: try to pick your way over the steep stones, with an eye on the general direction of the track. It's a bit frustrating at times, but totally safe. Once you've reached the crest at about 3300m, enjoy! The highlight of the whole hike, in my opinion, and you're moreover likely to be all alone - no shepherds, no fellow hikers. Bliss. You pass over a small peak at 3500m and then skirt the next one, following a more or less clear path. The descent into the valley of Se-Hezar is straightforward. We didn't go to the village of Darjan, like in the original track, but followed the Se-Hezar upstream to the hot springs which are also waypointed on the track. We camped just before them - it looks like a quite popular spot, with several permanent tents, a mini-shop, a reliable water source, and of course the hot springs, hidden in a corner behind an ugly blue plastic curtain and only accessible for men (one of us was not amused). From Pichebon to this spot is easily done in one day, if you don't loiter excessively.
(3) Se-Hezar valley over Mishchal pass to Parajan:
We didn't have any information at all about this stretch, but it appears to be a very popular route (especially the other way round), with multiple herds of sheep and goats, and quite a few of hikers (even a European group, which looks so out of place as to make one disconcertingly aware of the blatant ugliness and ridicule of contemporary high-quality branded "hiking gear" - our own included, of course - the neon colours, the layers, the bits and bobs and straps! - sorry, irrelevant to the purpose). It's a surprisingly easy hike, in fact; the 1500m climb is very gradual and the last push to the pass really short. It's possibly a little bit more strenuous from the other side. The path is clear-cut; it's a pleasant hike, crossing quite different landscapes (a grassy valley to the north of the pass, much more rocky scenery on its south side).
We camped some 5km before Parajan, close to the river (not many camping spots there), although it would have been perfectly doable to push to the village in one day. Alternatively there are wide grasslands with shepherd encampments, called Domcheh, a good hour and a half below the pass (on the Parajan side) - 3-4 hours from the village, I'd say.
- To Garmarud, at the end of Alamut valley: private taxi without stops from the bus terminal in Qazvin, charging 1 500 000 rials.
- From Parajan: we hiked some km more, to the main road, and were lucky enough to be able to hitch-hike all the way back to Qazvin (a big mersi to the four willing drivers!).
If you want to start from Parajan, it is probably possible to take a shared taxi from Karaj to Taleghan, and a private one on to Parajan. The roads are all excellent.
FOOD & WATER
We brought our own (meagre) provisions. There appeared to be a small shop in Pichebon (certainly also in Garmarud) and even at the hot springs. As for water, there are probably enough clean springs (as there are quite a few shepherd encampments), but you might have to have to look around a bit. There is one waypointed on track (2), in the descent; another one at the hot springs. A water filter might be advisable but not strictly indispensable.
You might not think of it when making your luggage for Iran, but do bring a fleece sweater, a waterproof jacket and a serious sleeping bag - this is high altitude after all. At the beginning of August we had cloudy weather, quite warm but with several periods of rain. I imagine the path over the pass is only snow-free in high summer.
Alternatively, you could start out from Parajan (we didn't because we didn't quite know how to reach it from Qazvin), do hikes (3) and (2), and, instead of going to Garmarud, end up in Maran via the Pichebon caravanserai (see https://nl.wikiloc.com/routes-wandelen/pichebon-maran-24781073 or https://nl.wikiloc.com/routes-wandelen/pichebon-maran-24781073). From Maran, it should be possible to hitch a ride towards the coast.