Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Day 6: Arches!

March 6: The skies had cleared overnight and there wasn't a cloud in the sky when we woke up in the morning. We ate breakfast and packed up, ready to hit the trail like normal.

Out of camp, we walked along a railroad track a short ways then through a small town before heading into wilder, off-the-beaten-path areas.

We woke up to a beautiful, clear-blue sky!

The trail was generally flat but the miles of walking on loose sand could be exhausting, especially as temperatures rose. My mini thermometer recorded about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius). Definitely on the uncomfortably warm side of things although not what I would have called hot. Not yet, at least!

The dunes we passed looked magical, especially where two or three colors of sand merged together. Some of the sandstone cliffs were red, others were black and others were yellowish, and they each created different colors of sand as they eroded which merged in the open deserts into what looked like a colorful painting.

Puk and I continued picking up trash along the way and throwing bags of it into the support vehicle whenever it drove by. A few others helped well, including Joe and Karolina, but the enthusiasm other hikers initially had at cleaning up Wadi Rum were quickly fading. Oh, well. Puk became my supplier of trash bags.

 Karolina struggled a bit with pains that were slowing her down. Nothing in particular, I don't think, but just a general sense of pain all over. Her back, legs, feet. Physically, she was suffering. It didn't stop her or reduce her enthusiasm, but it did slow her down and we tended to fall into the back of the group. I didn't mind going slow--picking up trash slowed me down anyhow. =)

At lunch, we stopped next to a large monolith that cast a bit of shade many of us enjoyed. The support crew met us and provided a cooked meal for lunch. I was ambivalent about the cooked meal. It was nice to have a "proper" meal, but at the same time, I wasn't exactly excited about a hot meal on a warm day.

Lunch is served!

We ate lunch, rested and then continued onward to camp, arriving in the mid-afternoon. Not particularly early, nor especially late. We were back in our small, pop-up tents and rustic camp.

I didn't let the dust settle before I headed out perhaps a kilometer or so to where I had heard reports of a spectacular arch in the rocks. We camped against another monolith and the directions we got were to follow around the perimeter of it until we reached the arch. "You can't miss it" were the exact words that were used--and I couldn't help but think that was a challenge. Oh, yeah? We'll see about that....

I grabbed another trash bag and walked out towards the arch, picking up trash along the way. When the bag filled up, I left it in the desert. I'd pick it back up as I returned to camp later.

The arch was magnificent! A huge thing that looked like something from Arches National Park. A couple of people were clambering on top of it which really gave scale to its immense size. Unfortunately, just as I arrived, jeeps arrived carrying tons of noisy, obnoxious tourists. It was, apparently, a tourist destination. Before long, dozens of people were milling around and getting in my way.

This is arch #1

I took some photos and clambered around a bit, then started returning to camp as other members of our group were hiking out and they told us that there were two arches to be seen. Two of them? I had only seen one. I hadn't heard anything about a second arch which was, apparently, a little bit past the first one.

I turned around again to check out a second arch. Really, all I had to do was follow the large crowds of noisy tourists because I spotted them even before I spotted the arch.

It too was a magnificent arch! Karolina found a route and walked across it while I took photos from below, but the loud, obnoxious tourists were bugging us and we left shortly thereafter.

I picked up the bag of trash I had collected earlier on my way back to camp to dispose of properly then lingered around the common area writing in my journal and socializing until dinner was ready.

And after dinner, I brushed my teeth and then headed off to sleep. *yawn* A good day, overall!

I like how you can see the ground's texture changing in just a step or two!

Love the patterns on the desert floor!

Thomas, a.k.a The Real Hiking Viking, actually has more trail miles under his boots than I do. Not many people can brag about that! =)
I found a nice place to relax during a break. =)

You can really see the different colors of the sand merging in this photo!
Hanging around the campfire. From left to right, Isabel, Ernie and Lama.
Arch #1
Shadow of arch #1, with Karolina and I casting the two shadows in it. (That's Niels at the bottom, taking photos of us as we took photos of him.)
Arch #2
In this video, Karolina and Puk are picking up trash. Exciting stuff, I tell you. *nodding*

Sand dune fun! =)


Lou Catozzi (PI Joe) said...

As you are hiking in this organized group do you have the freedom to stop as you please and linger at places for photography or to wander around in the towns you pass thru?

Ryan said...

It's easy enough to stop for a moment to take a photo here and there, but longer rest breaks we don't pick at an individual level, although some hikers would take the opportunity to climb to a nearby viewpoint or something.

Once we're in camp, we can wander off and explore the area on our own (like we did with the arches in this post). If we finish the day in a town, we can explore the town. Then there are the zero days (which haven't happened in the blog as of yet) where we have an entire day to do pretty much anything we want.