Today was nothing I expected and better than anything I could have imagined!
I feel rather stupid saying that I had no idea what to expect when coming to the desert. I didn’t even account for the fact that there would be sand everywhere. It didn’t cross my mind! I was so focussed on having an adventure that I never really considered what it would entail. Kind of a good thing though as my best efforts of planning would never have prepared me for today! (I mean this is the best way possible)
We spent our first night in our tent, which actually turned out to be our last as we grew confident enough to sleep under the stars quickly. We woke up refreshed and started early on our first proper day into the desert. The day grew hot quickly and our guides kitted us all out with head scarves to keep the heat off our heads, which worked amazingly!
This was probably our longest day of walking, it felt as though it kept on going forever. We covered some seriously varied terrain throughout the whole day. When someone says desert to you, you’d immediately picture this barren yellow expanse of sand dunes, inhospitable to anything and everything. This is probably what I should have pictured as well, if I had stopped to imagine what we would be doing. However, this was so not the case! There was sand. But not much of it. And it was hardly sand really, more like dried dirt in amongst the rubble that we walked on. There was also signs of life everywhere. Small plants scattered the ground and trees grew. This makes sense when you think about the nomadic people, Bedouins, who spend their lives roaming these lands with herds of goats. They must have plenty to live off.
After a few hours of walking across the undulating terrain we reached the foot of some hills. Between these lay a deep canyon, also known as a wadi. This is where the terrain became slightly odd.
As we entered the canyon we were relieved from the strength of the sun. The air was still warm but we were protected by the high sides. As we walked further into the wadi a small trickle of water began to show. It must have also been protected by the cooler temperatures. As we walked this trickle of water slowly became a shallow stream tracking along the path with us. As it grew deeper we eventually had to cross over it.
We enjoyed some scrambling over large rocks around oasis-like areas in the wadi. That was great fun, and yet another surprising activity for a desert!
One of the key pieces of information that had been bestowed upon me in regards to trekking is to make sure you’re boots are good and feet are happy. Apparently getting your boots wet is a BIG no-no for this sort of thing, so I was being extra cautious to keep my feet dry.
As we walked further, the stream grew wider and deeper until we reached a point where the path just stopped. A large boulder blocked off our path, and the other side of it the small trickling stream had become a rather large stream, bordering on a river! At this point we hooked up a rope to slide our bags down to safety and were instructed to jump in. We had needlessly worried about keeping our boots dry!
The water was a beautiful colour and actually rather cool. After jumping in we waded along to grab our bags as they came down, and continued along this “stream”.
At this point I was rather cold, and very wet. I had expected an average day trekking in the desert, but instead I was shivering cold and soaking wet!! Please note that there isn’t an ounce of moaning about this, however. It was super fun and so unexpected!
And on we waded, through the desert!
We were soon out of the water, and the wadi twisted and turned for miles so we quickly dried off. We continued walking for quite a few hours longer. I had been running along, jumping from rock to rock and began to grow very tired. I often wondered how far we had left, and was certain I could see camp many times. We came back out into the open and walked for around another hour, as the sun was setting before catching a glimpse of our camp. A very welcome sight for everyone!
I was absolutely shattered!! But Jordan had certainly won my heart. That night I spent my first night under the stars.