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Gearing up for the trek

Jordan really is a place for adventurers and scenery chasers and our trip is built around two big guided trips: a four day hike from Dana nature reserve to Petra, and a two day tour of Wadi Rum including a days hiking and maybe horse riding maybe some climbing.

We didn't see anything of the capital city Amman because we spent two days on computers, phones and reading the books trying to sort out the treks. Not all the time though, we spent one day while we were waiting for replies touring the desert with a group and seeing some of the random buildings out there in the middle of nowhere. One of which was Azraq fort - famous for being next to the only oasis in the whole of Jordan and written about by Laurance of Arabia: "We hurried up the stony ridge in high excitement, talking of the wars and songs and passions of the shepherd kings, with names like music who had loved this place. then the blue fort on it's rock above the rustling plams, with the fresh meadows and shining springs of water, broke on our sight" and "In the evening when we had shut-to the gate, all guests would assemble...and coffee and stories would go round until the last meal, and after it, until sleep came. On stormy nights we brought in brushwood and lit a great fire in the middle of the floor. About it would be drawn the carpets, and in it's light we would tell over our own battles, or hear the visitors' traditions. The leaping flames chased our smoke-ruffled shadows strangely about the rough stone wall behind us"

I think that's beautiful, will have to buy the book. Makes me think of the nights spent in backpackers hostels - we are all still swapping stories of battles, but with taxi drivers instead of crusaders.

Unfortunately the oasis has been all but drained to supply Amman with water and there is a road between the fort and the oasis that inspired it. Jordan is only just catcing up when it comes to the environment. Enter the RSCN (the Royal Society for te conservation of nature) think the national trust meets greenpeace with a royal charter. The own lots of big reserves and charge a premium to visit but they put all that back into protecting the environment and the societies that live in them.

One of the reserves is called Wadi Mujib and we decided to take one of the RSCN guided tours of the area which involved a small hike and then 4 hours or sosplashing down the river in the bottom of the canyon.

Transport here is stupidly expensive if you dont catch the bus and there seems to be one bus from each city a day that leaves at 6am so we used a tour as a taxi and took a hotel tour to the dead sea via some tourist sites like Jesus's baptism site (you can see Israel from there and we had a secirity guard with us) and where Moses died on mount Nebo, and stopped in the dead sea (2 adventure points for us for logistics smarts). The reserve's accommodation has it's own beach on the dead sea so we pickled ourselves for many hours playing silly buggers in the water. It really is lots of fun. And yes, we did take a magazine in with us for the classic shot. I'll not forget seeing Dave sculling out for ages with his camera on his chest so he could take a shot of the shore.

The next day's hike/canyoning was unbelievably beautiful, with swirly red/coffee coloured vertical canyons and bluey green clear water in the bottom it was like it was manufactured by Disney. We didnt take the camera because at times we were swimming through the water but you can see some examples here: http://www.jordanjubilee.com/images2/canyoning/wadimujib/xnahalarnonwithwall.jpg http://www.legend-tours.com/images/Wadi%20Al%20Mujib-T.jpg http://lh6.ggpht.com/_cyToFD-95Fo/SBU1yV2DpmI/AAAAAAAAAHM/Fj0i4OOQ9Qw/Wadi+Mujib+-+En+Route.JPG

And it was amazing fun tramping through water, sliding down rock slides and diving into pools, despite the very scary abseil down a 20m waterfall that had me wailing like a baby (i'm scared of heigts and it was reeeeeally high! 2 more self awarded adventure points for me).

From there we made our way to one of the other reserves, Dana, to chill out in the tiny village before the start of our first proper trek a few days later.

Posted by rachndave 12:55 Archived in Jordan

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