Simply.Just.Walking

peace is every step

Date: September 23, 2017

Between Petra and Wadi Rum

 It would take 6 days of hiking from Petra to Wadi Rum. Anna-Sophie and I hiked part of the trek for one day. We started in an area where heavy fighting took place between Israel and Jordan in 1967. A cemetery of fallen soldiers was speaking of this

 

We hiked down into a wadi with hardly any path visible. The uneven ground was scattered with many rocks and boulders and required utter attention. Our Bedouine guide Yusuf was looking for a dry stick for me to use as a staff. It helped. He could not speak English, but pointed to many interesting sites and plants.

 



In the middle of nowhere, a Beduine family guarding their goats invited us for tea. They were extremely nice and welcoming. When I asked if I can take a photo, they posed with their weapons.

 

Farther down the valley, we passed some places with water still in the creek.


Our host picked us up in the evening. He prepared  a typical Jordanian meal for us consisting of pieces of lamb, tomatoes, onion, potatoe, garlic and coreander. It was delicious!

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum, the biggest Wadi in Jordan, is located in the south of Jordan and dedicated as a World Heritage site. Because of it’s beauty, Anna-Sophie wanted to do some hiking in it. We were picked up by Obeid at the visitor center, a Bedouine owning the Bedouine Life Camp. We spent two nights in his camp, a wonderful experience!
We slept outside our tent under the bright milky way and the Andromeda galaxy. Our dinner called Zarb was prepared in a cooking pit. For centuries, the Bedouines cooked their food underground in earthen ovens.

Obeid inviting us to dinner

A year ago, I had a very unpleasant experience on a camel ride. The camel threw me off. In order to overcome my fear of camels, I decided to ride a camel again. We started at 6 am in the morning, just before sunrise.

This time, an experienced Bedouine was  leading the group of camels, which were connected by a rope. They were calm. Anna-Sophie was riding on a mother camel with the baby trotting close by.

We hiked through a wadi close to the visitor center. The newly married son of Obeid was our guide. It was hard to walk in the sand, the sand was constantly filling my shoes. When it was cooler, I took off my shoes and walked barefoot. It is not the Bedouine way!

 

 
Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon,  is 278 sq mi. One has to use a camel or 4-wheel drive to get around. Obeid’ s son was driving us to different places.

At the place where the movie of Lawrence of Arabia was filmed in 1962, we stopped for tea. Down below you see Obeid’s son.

 


We also saw Nabatean petroglyphs and the place where Lawrence of Arabia lived for a while.

 

 

Three days hiking in Petra and surrounding

The area my daughter Anna-Sophie and I are hiking in is the cradle of Western civilization.  9000 years ago, people started to cultivate the land and domesticate plants and animals.The land was fertile with lots of trees and water. Now it is desert caused by constant exploitation of the resources.


Bayda, a Neolithic settlement near Little Petra. The settlement is as old as Jericho and is considered one of the earliest farming settlements in the Middle East.

A Neolithic house. At nearly 40 degree Celsius, this house had a fresh breeze and felt cool.

For three days, Anna-Sophie and I hiked different trails in Petra and Little Petra. In Little Petra, our Beduine guide Khaleb showed us many over 2000 year old water cisterns carved into the rock, water canals and tombs. They were done by the Nabateans.

 

We walked through narrow passages, over ancient stairs and steep smooth rocks. The red sand stone reminded us of Arizona. Our  guide showed us a carob tree. The dried pods, also known as St. John’s bread, tasted delicious!

In the photo below, you see a Bedouine who had used the traditional eye make up called Kohl to protect his eyes from ailment. Kohl is made by grinding a mineral called stibnite. It is the same the Egyptians used.

The next day, our hike in Petra started at 6 am. For the first 3 hours we walked with the guide Jusuf. He told us that at one time, 60 000 people lived in this place. It was a -trading center for incense, cardamon and amber. Camel caravans stopped here on their way to Damascus and India. Two major earthquakes ( 4th and 6th century) destroyed the water system, the people left and the place was abandoned.

Siq into Petra

 


Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and was founded about 312BC. The city declined when the Nabateans lived unter Roman rules, mainly because the main commercial routes became sea-based. However, the latest research shows that the final abandonment of the city happened by a big flash flood.  Buildings and the water system were destroyed. Many meters of white sand from the nearby mountains still are covering the ancient Roman road. The last inhabitants left the city in 551 AD after a major earthquake destroyed the rest.

In the evening, we walked up to the monastery and continued the path in the direction of Little Petra. Our host, Shady, waited for us at the road that hardly can be called a road – luckily, he had four wheel drive.


Anna- Sophie, fascinated by a white blooming flower.

 

 

 

 

Over centuries, the area was invaded by different peoples- Romans, Crusaders, Saladin, Mamluks  and Osmans. Each civilization left a footprint. We were told that the most destructive footprint for the environment was done by the Osmans who cut all the trees down in order to build a railway. This lead to the desertification of the land.

We visited Shobak Castle, built by the crusaders. The whole area is called Shobak meaning forest. Only a few trees are left. A tunnel with 365 stairs cut into the rock led down to a well. At the end, we had climb up an about 10 m vertical shaft to the surface. The well still had water.

 

Shobak castle with visitor center in the front

 


Anna-Sophie climbing out of the deep shaft

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