Simply.Just.Walking

peace is every step

Page 2 of 24

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

Grosser Stubaier Höhenweg, day seven

There was a lot of  uncertainties at breakfast if to continue the hike to the Innsbrucker Hütte or descend into the valley. Only when the hut host went from table to table and strongly advised against hiking to the Innsbrucker Hütte, I decided to follow his recommendation. In the night, many mudslides around the area swept away part of the path and blocked roads down in the valley. In two days, more rain was falling than normally in the whole of August. Except of one adventurous Dutch man, everybody else  walked into the valley. Enormous amount of water rushed down from every direction.  One time, I did not ckeck a puddle on the path and sank in to my knee. As I did alteady the last part of the hike several weeks ago, it was not too hard to stop the tour. Still, I would have preferred to finish the circle. 

Grosser Stubaier Höhenweg, day six

The weather forecast was bad- rain and snow over 2000m. However, in early morning the sky above was clear! Heavy clouds blanketed the vally down below.  Today, I walked the shortest section to the Bremerhütte.  Many iron ropes and iron clamps secured the way. A tiny stone house stood on the top of the pass- I was told that it was a former custom house, marking the border between Austria and Italy. When I arrived at the Bremer Hütte around noon, it started to rain. Tomorrow, the section will include a via ferrata ( secured climbing path) and is the longest distance so far. If the weather continous to be bad, I will have to descend into the valley and finish my hike.

Grosser Stubaier Höhenweg, day five

This day was a long day, as I combined two stages into one. When I left the Dresdner Hütte at 6:30 am, heavy mist was hiding everything around, except the immidiate surrounding. The rain made the path slippery and treacherous. At the start of my walk, I stepped on a nearly polished rock and slipped,  Luckily, I did not injure myself. After that, I was extremely careful! Soon, the mist disappeared. The weather was so beautiful that I climed the nearly 3000 m high Grossen Trögler. Heavy wind made it difficult to balance. After having lunch at the  Sulzenauhütte, the path was leadig up to the turquois green Grünau See and into another High Valley. Rain and hail started when I climed over a moutain pass secured by iron ropes and iron stairs. After nine hours of walking,  I was happy to arrive safely at the Nürnberger Hütte.

Grosser Stubaier Höhenweg, day three

It was a gorgeous day! The early morning sun reflected the uncountable dewdrops from grasses and moss. The path was leading over milky white water rushing down from the melting glaciers. On the steep slopes, the path was cut as a narrow band, hardly visible. Often it was leading over a  grey ocean of rocks and boulders where the eye had to search for the red and white stripes marking the way. Each step was important, needed to be grounded. I arrived at the Dresdner Hütte about 3 pm and jumped into the little lake near the cabin AAAHHH……cold and refreshing!

Grosser Stubaier Höhenweg, day four

My shadow was long when I passed the edge of a gorgeous marsh on the way to the highest point of this tour (2881m). Yesterday, a rockslide destroyed the way up to the pass. A hastily marked new path was leading over boulders to a nearly vertical slope of ice and gravel. A rope was there  to pull oneself up over the dangerous area. It was difficult. However, the view to the surrounding glaciers was stunning.  There was a roar of crushing ice and falling rocks in the air. Mountain goats were gracing in the distance. It was a long and beautiful day. 

Grosser Stubaier Höhenweg,day two

The weather forecast was true- thunderstorm and continous rain. The spectacular view turned out to be a view into dense fog. Soon after the start of our hike, our hair was covered with pearls of water, like the grass beside the narrow path. New waterfalls rushed doown and our path turned into little creeks. The steep meadows turned into a field of intense green, dotted with colorfol flowers. Despite the really bad weather, the day was beautiful!

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2018 Simply.Just.Walking

Site by SimplyWillUp ↑