After much planning and decision making I traveled to Jordan to do some hiking. I flew to Amman, the capital and met my guide and a couple from California who were sharing our adventure together. We spent time sightseeing in Amman, the ancient Roman city of Jerash and the old Christian church in Madaba. We traveled from Aquaba to the river Jordan. I hiked in Dana National Park which reminded me of the Grand Canyon in our country and stayed high on a rim then we descended down to the bottom of the canyon floor and hiked the full length of the canyon out to a lodge which opens into Jordan’s Rift Valley to the Wadi Arabia lowlands.
As we came out of the canyon I was welcomed by the first Bedouin tents and then the Feynan eco-lodge where I stayed. It is a small new fully solar powered refuge. No plastic but composting and all recycling. It was clean and cool and refreshing after hiking in the hot canyon. I packed up and we drove down the King’s Highway, one of the most ancient and storied routes on Earth to Petra, one of the great wonders of the world. For two days we hiked around and above Petra with views of the Siq’s Treasury, carved into the wall of a narrow canyon and the lost city of Petra.
This ancient city on the spice trade route was hidden until discovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer. The colors of the rocks are incredibly beautiful and the caves occupied until quite recently make this a great historic site. We left Petra and drove to Wadi Rum and changed to 4×4 vehicles and continued out into the dessert of Lawrence of Arabia’s fame. We hiked and rode camel and took our lunches with us on camel rides and traveled across isolated desert land with grand sand dunes, and though high rock formations with little vegetation.
We saw no one but our cook and assistant and the Bedouins. We had tea with a Bedouin family in their home, a huge tent with Persian carpets. The tent is made of woven wool thick like carpets covering top and walls. It is very weather proof and warm as it gets very cold and very hot in the dessert. Our camp was three Bedouin tents, my tent was tall enough to walk around and as large as a small apartment back home. I had a cot and lovely Persian rugs that covered the sand of the desert. It is one thing to hike and another to travel by camel. It takes a bit of an adjustment and is quite different than riding a horse. My camel had a young baby and it traveled beside me sometimes it stopped to graze then ran to catch up and sometimes nudged its mother but I was in the way.
This was an amazing experience. There was no one but nature, camels and an occasional Bedouin while I was hiking. The camp food was very fresh and so much food for just the three of us. Our guide talked about the government, the country, nature, history, the people and food. We had one evening in Petra where we went to a cooking school and prepared Arabic food.
We traveled to the Jordan River to Holy sites, where John the Baptist baptized Christ. The river is very narrow and not deep more like a stream. It is the border between Israel and Jordan. It is like talking to a neighbor across the lawn.
We traveled to the Dead Sea. In addition to being hyper-saline, eight times saltier than the Atlantic Ocean; it is the point of lowest elevation on earth. I did put on my bathing suit and had a float there. I stayed in a family type resort there, before returning to Amman. It was another one of those once in a life-time experiences and I enjoyed every minute of it!