Friday, May 15, 2009

On Top of the World

I have written in previous entries about the beautiful Afghan landscape. With its towering mountains and lush valleys, it has to be one of the most visually appealing nations on earth. Today I had the opportunity to see this wonderful view up close while hiking on a famous mountain on the outskirts of Kabul. Friends from Germany, Canada, Finland and the United States all joined me for the half-day event.

The mountain is on the grounds of the Kabul Military Training Center, a campus used by the Afghan National Army, and reaches a peak of nearly 9,000 feet. Luckily, we only had to climb 3,000 feet, since Kabul sits at nearly 6,000. It was still a challenging climb.

As we approached the mountain, we began to see rusted Soviet tanks on either side of us, memories of the horrific wars that the people of the nation have endured through the years. But as we began to climb, the poverty and wreckage faded into the landscape and we saw only pure beauty. From the summit, we could see the holes in the ground below where the Soviets dug in their tanks, though they looked more like interesting patterns reaching across a prairie.

Once we reached the peak, we had some snacks, took pictures (which I am showing you here) and caught our breath before the long hike down. Today was a nice escape from the stresses of working in a war zone.

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