Friday, July 19, 2019

Day 19: Scorpion Infestation

March 19: Dana more-or-less marks the psychological halfway point of the trail. We were at day 19 of 44--not quite halfway in terms of time, and were about 289 km out of 680 km--also a bit less than halfway. But psychologically, this felt like a halfway point. The trail changes dramatically after Dana.

Leaving Dana

And in many ways, feels like a totally different place. The southern half of the trail wanders through largely uninhabited and remote areas, but the northern half of the trail (after Dana) is considerably more developed. There are more towns, more roads, more farms.

But less hikers. The trail is divided into 8 regions and the first three had been sold out so our group had a massive 50 or people people hiking at once. Throw in a few guides and support crew and we were probably closer to 60 people strong. After Dana, however, interest in the trail appeared to drop off a cliff because suddenly we were left with just 19 hikers.

We missed a lot of the hikers who left us--especially those who had started the trail with us from the beginning at Aqaba--but the newly reduced group size was a nice change. The lines for breakfast and dinner weren't so long and it seemed like there was less time waiting for everyone to get ready in the mornings or waiting for people to catch up on the trail.

Even though we were at a hotel, we kept the traditional schedule of a 7:00am breakfast and hit the trail at 8:00am--with a group half the size of the one we arrived with.

The trail climbed steeply at first, but just for a short while, to the crest of a ridge. Looking ahead, the terrain looked mostly flat and a couple of small towns could be seen in the distance.

The skies were clear and blue, perhaps a little hazy, but the temperatures warmed throughout the day and before long, I sweating.

The hours clicked away. The landscape was largely boring, but we had small thrills of excitement. A particularly bright display of flowers in one location, a tortoise sighting in another location. Ruins built into a cliff. A new road being constructed--which was kind of a disappointment because the hot asphalt wasn't as nice to walk on as gravel.

Later in the afternoon, the long, slow descent plugged steeply downward a short ways into a canyon before climbing steeply back to the rim on other side. A few of the other hikers complained about how difficult the day was, but I felt it was mostly easy and that the steep ascent at the end of the day colored their perceptions.

Originally, we were scheduled to stay in an ecolodge, but it turned out be closed or something so we ended up camping in tents near the ridge of the canyon we had just climbed up and out of. Upon arrival, the support crew warned us that they had found three scorpions while setting up the tents so to be weary of them--they were definitely out here!

After dinner,  I set out to look for scorpions with my black light and found two of them within the next 20 minutes or so. Good times! Previously, the most I had found was just one on any given night, and most nights I looked I had found nothing. So two in 20 minutes was a pretty good run.

Karolina and I had picked tents next to each other, and I started opening the one next to hers when Kicki, from Sweden, urgently shouted out, "Wrong tent!"

Oops! Sorry! I apologized and quickly closed up the tent again. I picked the one on the wrong side of Karolina.

All the tents look the same. I could hear Karolina in her tent laughing hysterically. Yeah, yeah....

I managed to find the correct tent this time and slipped in and headed off to sleep. *yawn*

Looking back at Dana, our home for the last two nights.
Looking back at the Dana Biosphere Reserve
For most of the day, the terrain was kind of boring.

The northern half of Jordan had a lot more settlements that we would pass through or near.
Olives are a big crop in Jordan, and we'll be passing by a lot of olive trees.

This was a gravel road that's now being paved! For walking purposes, gravel was nicer. *nodding*

Near the end of the day was a natural spring and we used the cold water to pour over our heads and cool down!

A nearly full moon rises over camp
Roasting marshmallows over the campfire
Another scorpion!!!! It's an infestation!!!!!
Karolina tries to draw a scorpion in the air with my black light. Pretty good!
You can definitely tell what she was trying to do in this photo! =)
Now that we're getting into the more developed parts of Jordan, there is a lot more light pollution in the sky. But it's kind of scenic too!


GG said...

Is that a goat in fancy dress sheep's clothing?

KuKu said...

Ah, I remember drawing and writing with flashlights. The black light is even better!