Friday, July 26, 2019

Day 22: The newest superhero: SuperQussai!

March 22: In the morning, my leg had improved dramatically. I was still painful, but I was able to lift my foot a solid foot or two. I could tie my own shoe laces, and I could get up and down from the ground with a little pain but little trouble. I was happy with the improvement because today's hike was expected to be much more rugged. Although we were doing a relatively short 13 kilometers, the ruggedness would have been more problematic for me yesterday.

We had our usual 7:00am breakfast with an 8:00am departure. Almost immediately out of camp we had to cross a small creek, but we didn't even have to get our feet wet since we were able to jump across on rocks.

I scrambled up the steep cliffs where necessary and my bum leg caused little trouble today. I even started picking up trash again, although not until after lunch.

During lunch, one of the weekend hikers I had yet to meet set their pack at the edge of a steep slope and it used the opportunity for an escape attempt, rolling down the hillslide. Everyone who witnessed the incident shouted, "Oh, no!" or something to that effect as we watched the pack pick up speed, spinning wildly and racing down the mountain. It was a gonner. When it finally hit a ledge and stopped, maybe the owner could scramble down to its location and retrieve it, but we'll have to see where it ends up.

But that's not happened. No, what happened was SuperQussai! Qussai was taking a photo at the time and saw the unfolding disaster. He quickly but carefully set the camera he was using down, then raced down the mountain chasing the pack. The rest of us stood there in shock--the slope was super steep and racing down it at anything but a slow scramble was positively dangerous. Even mountain goats didn't race around such steep slopes that quickly. It seemed impossible that he could catch up to the pack, and certainly not worth risking his life over, but down he raced after the pack.

But he did! He caught up with the pack and grabbed it before it rolled more than about 50 feet down the mountain. He did suffer a small scratch from his chase and I thought he was lucky that was all he suffered, but I was glad he came out in relatively good shape. And with a happy ending, I could appreciate the amazing feat of dexterity Qussai accomplished chasing down the runaway pack. What a show! Everyone who witnessed the spectacle was amazed, and everyone who missed it was disappointed after hearing about it.

We arrived at camp just in a small hill just outside of a small town on the canyon rim with expansive views in all directions.

The day's climb was almost exclusively uphill, and a few of us hikers got into a discussion about how much cooler the temperature would be at the top of the canyon. I had heard that temperatures, roughly, fall about 4 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1000 feet one goes up, but some Europeans had heard it goes up about 1 degree Celsius for every 100 meters one goes up. It made sense that we think in different units of measure, but we got to wondering if the two were comparable, and Karolina sat down with a piece of paper trying to do the calculations converting 4 degrees of Fahrenheit into Celsius and 1000 feet into meters and her conclusion was.... 4°F = 2.2°C and 1000 ft = 304.8m, so I had basically learned that the temperature drops 2.2°C for every 304.8m. Divide by 2.2 so 1°C = 137m.

So it's not an exact match--we didn't expect it to be--but it's not far off the mark either and for a general rule of thumb, both options seemed reasonable. Karolina didn't have a calculator readily available and scribbled calculations on a piece of paper for quite some time before concluding that both of the rules of thumb were more-or-less the same.

Later I did some google searching on the subject and obviously, the rule of thumb can vary depending on location and terrain, but apparently the humidity in the air has the biggest effect on how much cooler it gets as you rise in elevation than anything else. The rule of thumb works best for areas with low humidity. In high humidity, temperature changes due to elevation are much less.

The trail climbed something like a thousand meters today, so we figured at the top on the rim, the temperature would be about 10°C (nearly 20°F) cooler, which was significant! It felt warmer in the morning when we left camp than it did now in the afternoon.

We also got into a conversation about Arabic with a couple of the other hikers and Diana, originally from Germany if I recall correctly, but now living in Jordan for the time being and was learning Arabic made an attempt to write my name in Arabic. It just looked like scribbles to me, but we had Tim take a look at it and asked him what he thought it said, and he sounded out the letters into something that sounded like my name but with an accent. Close enough! =)

Then we brought a couple of the support crew into the conversation who spoke Arabic as their native language and listened in as they discussed the best way to write my name in Arabic. They wrote it in my journal, which I'd love to share, but I have absolutely no idea how to write Arabic characters on my keyboard. It's a fascinating language, though, and one that I wouldn't mind trying to learn someday.

And thus marks the end of our 22nd day on the trail. It was something of a milestone as well because the entire hike was planned to take 44 days marking the halfway point (in terms of time) on the trail.

Our small creek crossing in the morning.

The road the trail follows had washed out here which required us to do some scrambling to get down into the washout and back out again.

We started the day's hike near the bottom of this wadi and calculated that the temperature was about 10°C (nearly 20°F) cooler at the top!
There were quite a few wildflowers as we neared the canyon rim!

At our lunch break, all of the rocks around us had countless fossils in them!
The trail, at times, was quite rough!


Rebecca and Aaron said...

Take a picture of your journal where they wrote your name in Arabic?

Bobby Vergis said...

Yeah, why don't you do that???

GG said...

I'll third that request.
While I'm requesting, any idea what the yellow flowers might be?

Ryan said...

I can't take a picture of my journal right now... It's in another state and I won't be back to it for a couple of months! But Femmy, one of the other member of our Jordanian hiking troop contacted me on Facebook and wrote my name as راين -- I don't remember off the top of my head if that's how it was spelled in my journal, but it's probably pretty close!

No idea what the yellow flowers might be. Sorry!