Friday, August 9, 2019

Day 28: The Dead Sea Revisited

March 28: Today, originally, was supposed to be a zero day at the Dead Sea. That didn't work out because of our unexpected zero day in Karak, but everyone still wanted to visit the Dead Sea and by golly, it was still going to happen. We wouldn't have a whole day to relax there, but we would get a half-day.

So we woke up for an early 6:00am breakfast with a 7:00am departure. The temperatures in the morning were warm, even before we left camp, and skies were partly cloudy. The day's hike started with a long climb out of the second of three wadis which worked up a sweat. The wildflowers and greenery were amazing!

Breakfast is almost ready!

The trail wandered and meandered a bit, descending into the third and smallest of the three wadis, and we ended the day's hiking following a gravel road to a paved road where a bus was waiting to pick us up. The Jordan trail doesn't actually go to the Dead Sea, just near it, so a bus was scheduled to carry us the rest of the way.

We arrived at the bus at around 2:00pm and piled in. The bus made one stop along the way at the Panoramic Complex where lunch was served and wow! What a lunch! We sat at an outside table with a stunning view over the Dead Sea and the lunch was absolutely amazing.

The view over the Dead Sea from the Panoramic Complex was absolutely phenomenal!

The only small hiccup was that they served us a lot of appetizers that we had all assumed was the actual meal and we were caught off-guard when they brought out the main course. I was already so full! But it looked so good.... I had to eat it all!

By the time we finished, I felt like I was pregnant. I couldn't believe I had eaten so much. Despite the long days of hiking, I was sure I had to be gaining weight on this trip. I was just eating too much not to be gaining weight!

After lunch, we boarded the bus again. It whisked us away to the Ramada, a fancy resort on the shores of the Dead Sea. Or rather, it used to be on the shores of the Dead Sea. The shore was now a quarter-mile walk away having receded as the lake shrinks and the hotel now provided a shuttle service so guests could get to the Dead Sea.  I decided to pass on the shuttle. It ran once every half hour and I figured I could walk the quarter mile to the shoreline faster than the shuttle would get me there.

The Dead Sea marked the end of another region on the Jordan Trail, which meant we would be losing some hikers and gaining some new ones. It was a pretty small shake-up this time around. I don't know exactly how many people left and how many people joined us, but you could probably count them on one hand.

One of the new arrivals we knew quite a bit about, though, because it was Femmy's daughter (Nienka) and Femmy had been telling us about her all week. Nienka had arrived at the hotel the day before (when we were originally scheduled to arrived) and was just waiting for our group to catch up, and when we finally met her, it felt like she was already part of the group!

She was curious what all her mom had told us about her.

"We know everything," I insisted ominously. =)

We recited her age and birthday as confirmation.

In any case, we headed out to the Dead Sea to enjoy another floating experience. We found several members of our group already in the water and covered with mud. Some I almost didn't recognize through all the mud!

The water felt cold to get into, but once we were in we quickly got used to it.

When we finished, we washed off in nearby outdoor showers and walked back to the hotel. There was a waterslide at the hotel pool I wanted to try but was disappointed to learn that the waterslide had closed for the evening. Noooo! I should have done the waterslide first. *sigh*

Karolina got online and made her conversion from section hiker to thru-hiker official. She changed her flight (paying a small penalty for the privilege) and paid the JTA the difference between what she had already paid for the trip and cost for doing the whole thing and it was official: Karolina was now a thru-hiker!

It's amazing how green parts of Jordan are!
The trail passes this small market along the way, so most hikers went in to splurge on a cold drink or snacks.

Lama and Ernie share a laugh. =)

Lunch is almost ready for us at this wonderful overlook of the Dead Sea!
The only problem with lunch was that when we were served appetizers, we thought it was the main course. Then the main course arrived....and we were already quite full!
Back at the Dead Sea!
This odd contraption flew over us... it looked like a flying bicycle!
Yeah, I'm sexy without my shirt on. *nodding*

In case you've forgotten, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. The sign, however, is out of date since the Dead Sea is falling by about 1 meter per year. Notice that the shoreline is now quite a distance behind (and below) us? I wonder how often they move and replace these signs?
Sawsan also enjoyed the mud.
Mother and daughter pair, Femmy and Nienka. Of course, Karolina and I had to photobomb them. =) Nienka could only join our hike for about a week, but Femmy would carry through to the end.
I tried to sink myself in the buoyant water by putting a rock on my stomach, but it didn't work.
Sunset over the Dead Sea

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