Trekking in Jordan - Day by Day Account - Wadi IBN Hamad, Jordan
We awoke the next morning to the prayer call. Islamic chants echoed through the city for the first of five prayer sessions each day. We quickly packed up and met in the lobby. Ray claimed each day would be better than the next. I really had no expectations, so the page was a tabula rasa.
It took us a little while to get out of the city. Once free of the congestion, we made good time. At first it was like a bus site seeing tour. We stopped to see the Wadi Mujib dam and Jordan’s “Grand Canyon.”
I am always dubious when one place refers to itself by another’s name. From the viewpoint it was certainly interesting, but lacked the color of America’s Grand Canyon. To be fair, you really need to hike down into a canyon to get a good feel for it and hiking it was not part of our itinerary. Instead we headed to a small canyon Wadi IBN hamad.
Getting out of the cars we were unsure of how to wrap the shmagh (a Arabic headdress we were all given by Discover Jordan). Not to worry, Ray and his staff were more than happy to help us look a little less like tourists (or perhaps we looked more like tourists?)
While not billed as a taxing trek, we were very unsure of what to wear on our feet. I couldn’t quite get a straight answer on how deep the water would be and how uneven the footing was. In the end, we all went with reasonable sturdy water shoes and it paid off. For a good portion of the hike our feet were submerged in a few inches of pleasantly warm water. Compared to the frigid stream crossing of Iceland, this was a delight.
Unlike most treks I’ve been on, each portion of the trek was guided by a different local. While it’s great to have one guide throughout your trip, it’s better to have someone that really knows the area. The terrain was modest with a continuous, gentle downhill slope. With blue skies above and the sun shining down upon us, we casually stepped, splashed, and worked our way downstream. Slowly, stone walls grew on either side. Life emerged from the cracks, fed by the blessing of the stream. Small trees erupted from cracks in the rock, lichen and moss covered rocks, and there were even schools of tadpoles in the calm waters. We continued along until we were completely enveloped in the canyon.
Small waterfalls flanked on either side and there was one place we had to traverse a ladder to safely navigate below.
The canyon walls were magnificent. Their composition was like nothing I have seen before. Curved streaks of red created intricate patterns in otherwise ordinary beige rock.
Once through the canyon, the stream widened and the land opened up. Our guide was very proud to say that this was his land (pointing above). Goats roamed freely, pink flowers were in bloom and we just enjoyed the simplicity of an easy hike to bust the rust.
Throughout the hike long, flexible pipes lined the edge of the stream bringing life sustaining water to the surrounding people.
When we reached the end we piled back into the vehicles and pit stopped at a watermelon farm. Ray informed us almost everything grown in Jordan was organic. It makes you wonder who the more advanced society is and why we are so dependent on toxins? The watermelon was a refreshing break, but we still had ground to cover.
We rode to the Al-Nawatef campsite, which blew me away. It was a series of stone rooms and “luxury”, permanent tents. We watched the sun drop over the horizon and then settled in for a great meal of Mediterranean salads, rice, and chicken.
For a few hours they ran a generator and the room’s had lights and a chance to recharge a device or two. A few of us brought out our bottles of wine and Ben cracked his bottle of whiskey. Unfortunately, one in the group (Michael S), decided he wanted to hit on a pair of Belgian women and since his charm wasn’t strong enough he would offer them our limited alcohol.
Jennifer and I didn’t waste much time after dinner and headed to bed.
This trip was organized by Discover Jordan. We can not praise them enough. If you are considering a trip to Jordan, please reach out to them. They were wonderful to work with an exceeded all of our expecations!