Friday, August 16, 2019

Day 31: Oh, the horrible, horrible rain!

March 31: Waking up for a 6:30am breakfast was starting to become the norm, and we did it again today primarily because we had a bus ride to get back to the trail before we could start hiking. I was kind of getting tired of the bus rides. This was the sixth bus in a row we had taken to or from an off-trail hotel, and the bus rides were my least favorite part of the day. The luxury of a hotel was nice, of course, and escaping the rain was heaven! But the bus rides themselves.... I didn't enjoy. Felt like a waste of time sitting around doing nothing.

And it meant we had to wake up earlier. Which we did again. Today. This time, however, we would be checking out of the hotel. During the night it had poured buckets of pain, a drenching downpour and, if I remember correctly, even a bit of lightning. It was a good night to be indoors! But the bus...  *sigh*

'Twas a wet, wet morning....

When we arrived at the trailhead, it was raining. And within minutes of starting the day's hike, it was raining hard! Our raincoats and umbrellas seemed inadequate for the onslaught. Sheets of water ran down the streets and normally dry creekbeds flowed with muddy, brown water.

I walked up to Jonathan, who had taken the day off the day before, and joked, "You took yesterday off from hiking--which was mostly a pretty nice day--but joined us today.... for this?!"

We arrived at what I imagined was normally a small creek if it was running at all, but this morning it was a torrential river running off a small cliff creating what looked like a chocolate waterfall. The guides huddled together trying to decide the best way to get around it while the rest of us tried to press up against a small, overhanging ledge that provided a small bit of protection from the rain.

Eventually they decided on a route and we walked downstream a short way, under a second waterfall in the creek, and crossed where the water was shallower.

The heavy rain stopped after about an hour, but intermittent rains continued throughout the rest of the day. It was a miserable day of hiking. The trails were muddy, but wet enough that the mud didn't cling to our feet in thick, heavy layers like they did a week earlier.

But it was a pretty miserable day of hiking, and we had 21 kilometers to cover.

Halfway through the day, we ran across a busy highway Frogger-style where there was a small market. The front had a large, overhanging roof, and we huddled under it to get out of the rain for a short break. Most people went into the market to buy drinks or snacks at some point, then we ate and drank them under the covered area in front. I got an ice cream sandwich. I had had an urge for ice cream throughout the whole trail but it was surprisingly hard to find in Jordan. You'd think in a desert that was normally impossibly hot that ice cream would be a popular treat, but that didn't seem to be the case.

So I saw ice cream instead and had to get it, even if it wasn't particularly hot or refreshing today. But it was delicious. *nodding* =)

Further down the trail, we arrived at raging river that was normally a slow-moving creek, and this crossing looked positively dangerous. The water was about knee deep, but it was moving fast! I noticed a lot fewer people took their shoes off than they did at previous river crossings, and I suspected it was probably because their feet were already soaked through due to the rain so it didn't matter as much.

The guides brought the rope which they stretched across the creek to help us across. I was definitely glad for it here, but I was still careful not to slip or fall. Sawsan and Lama had close calls and almost fell in while crossing, and Helena struggled a bit, but everyone eventually made it across okay.

And, for the first time in a few days, we didn't have a bus waiting for us at the end of the day. Nope, we hiked into the Iraq Al-Amir Womens Cooperative where we would be spending the night. We would be camping in our tents--the cooperative didn't have facilities for a group this large, so we had to partly rough it. We did have access to flush toilets, an indoor room for dinner and breakast, and a covered area outside that protected us from rain. The tents were located under a partly-covered area that did not keep out the rain because the bamboo roof was more about provided shade on a sunny day than protection from rain which isn't common in Jordan most of the year.

A pile of boots showed up around the campfire, all in desperate need of drying, and we were all thrilled to change out of our wet clothes and into our dry camp clothes.

Living the good life!

At the women's cooperative, they sold handmade paper products and ceramics. I got a couple of small notebooks but passed on the ceramics knowing that they'd probably be broken before I finished the trail.
During the briefing after dinner, it was time for my April Fools joke to play itself out. It wasn't officially April Fools Day until tomorrow, but the briefing was to describe tomorrow. And Lama gave the briefing... and it was a real briefing! We weren't waking up at 4:00am for a 35km day. We weren't hiking past any toxic waste dumps or maximum security prisons. And when Ernie followed with a normal, run-of-the-mill weather report, I was disappointed. What happened?!

Later, I asked Lama what happened, and she said it wasn't April Fool's Day--she thought she was supposed to give the fake briefing tomorrow! Ah, shoot. We had a different perspective about how April Fools worked. I wanted the joke to be the briefing for April 1st, while she wanted the joke to be the briefing on April 1st. That could still work, though. The joke was still on. Just delayed a day....

I pulled Ernie aside and told him as much. "It's still on for tomorrow. Make up a horrible and crazy weather report for tomorrow's briefing," I told him. "Make me proud!" =)

With my shenanigans done, I headed back to the tents to get some sleep.

It's a chocolate waterfall!
You can really see how big and powerful it is as a video!

Even Basha looked pretty miserable in the rain, and he had a raincoat!

I was still amazed at how green everything looked!
And the wildflowers were still amazing!
Black iris
We stopped for a break at this small market

This was definitely the most extreme river crossing we faced so far!
Go, Ernie! Go!

Near the end of the day, we huddled in this small, abandoned building to take a break out from the rain.
Ruins of Qasr Al-Abed
There are a lot of shoes and socks being dried out here!
Ceramics for sale!


Lou Catozzi (PI Joe) said...

Mmmmm! Wet boots, wet socks, and wet donkey! Lovely campfire atmosphere!

Mary said...

Watching the creek crossing was painful. I think it would have been easier wearing shoes!

Anonymous said...

So, how does the donkey cross the stream - he doesn't have hands to hold the rope guide line...

Ryan said...

The donkey has 4 legs--he's more stable walking without help than a 2-legged person is. =)