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Cloud  Forest
Travel

Cloud Forest

A few hours before sunset, when temperatures fall, clouds rush in so thick that the hikers seem to cut through them. It is Jangal-Abr or Cloud Forest they are trekking through - famous for the passionate embrace of fog and clouds settling on the mountain saddles.
The Cloud Forest is 45 km northeast of Shahrud city in Semnan Province, off the road of Shahrud-Azadshahr.
The highest point of the forest is about 3,000 meters, making the forest accessible for both clouds and casual hikers.
When gardens of Bastam, Shahrud county, are left behind, visitors often see the clouds accumulated over the Cloud Forest, as if they are trapped between the higher mountains. The scene is heartening, as it is a sign of getting closer to the dreamy destination.

  What It Feels Like
Inside the thick woods, it is hard to imagine that the forest is located in the semi-arid province of Semnan, close to the Central Desert and Khar-Turan National Park southeast of Shahrud city. Maybe this is why Shahrud is called ‘a small continent’.
Junipers, fog and clouds are the most common scene in the forest. The clouds brushing against the rich vegetation produce a fresh aroma which is the unique signature of the region.
The forest has cool weather even in hot seasons. Hikers should not forget to bring waterproof clothes. The forest can be veiled by clouds in a minute or two. And when in soaked clothes, slightest breeze can blow away the pleasure of being there. At first, the fog or cloud is a moist pleasant touch, especially when one is climbing up and sweating; but the moist will turn to a wet blanket in no time, dripping from eyelashes and everywhere.
Clouds always come and go fast, filling and leaving the valleys in their path. Vapors and clouds make white dots against the dark green shades. The whole forest seems to be undergoing an experiment by a wacky alchemist. Up there, atop a mountain, the ancient fort of Maran seems to be floating on the sea of clouds. After a while into the night, the clouds usually scatter away, letting a clear view of the surrounding valleys, if the moon is up.
  Trees
To a large number of eco-tourists, Cloud Forest is among the most beautiful natural scenery in Iran and the entire world. On the northern slope of Abr mountain the famous waterfall of Shorshor cascades over the rocks between the dense trees. Numerous abundant springs the waterfall. They flow through the mountains and hills, making a suitable home to diverse vegetations including old woody plants such as beech, oak, alder, elm, cherry tree, checker tree, English yew, tilia, etc.

  An Ancient Remnant
Sprawling on an area of 35,000 hectares, the Cloud Forest is a remnant of the ancient Caspian and Hyrcanian forests, encircling the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains like a belt, covering the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea. The Hyrcanian forests used to cover 3.7 million hectares, but the figure has now dropped to 1.8 million, according to an article by Young Journalists Club, translated by Iran Front Page.

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