Solace in the Arabian Desert

Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fan-tailed Raven soared overhead in the hot dry air of a red sandstone canyon of Wadi Rum, the desert where Lawrence of Arabia found solace in the "vast and echoing" landscape.  The particular side canyon I chose was not vast, but it was echoing with sounds of the raven and Sinai Rosefinches and other birds and women singing and me burping after some dates and flatbread and oranges.  A kestrel hovered nearby.  Lizards skirmished for territory.

Four days in the desert, only a tenth of what the prophets used to do, was calming, serene, beautiful.  There isn't much that I did do, but Wadi Rum was more about what I didn't do than what I did.

Each day, I brought with me some dates, an orange, some bread, and some nuts, along with a liter of water.

On the first day, I arrived at Wadi Rum, surrounded by massive sentinels of red sandstone emerging from a wide sandy desert valley.  Here, I decided to stay at the park campsite just outside of Rum Village.  A few bikers and rock climbers were also there.  We talked about climbing and biking, because that's what climbers and bikers like to do when they're not climbing and biking.  In town, a Bedouin cafe was the perfect spot for dinner, with local kids playing in the streets.

On the second day, I walked around the massive Um Ishrin to large pink sand dunes and stayed there for the day, finding a good overhang to sit on and boulder around.  Since I had no climbing gear, bouldering was what I did when not doing nothing.  In the late afternoon, when the sun's power was lower, I scrambled to the top of a small rocky summit for long views of Wadi Rum.

On the third day, I walked to the side canyon with the raven and burping echoes.  I bouldered here, venturing a little higher.  For my last move, too high for comfort without ropes, my shoe was untied and my pants split, but I made it to the top.

On the fourth day, I stayed at Lawrence's spring for the day, with figs ripening on the trees as the sound of trickling water permeated the desert air.

In sum, Wadi Rum was good nuts and oranges for my burping soul.
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