Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Day 42: Flora and fauna of the Jordan Trail

April 11: Not a lot actually happened today. It was a long day of hiking--our first 20+ kilometer day since Madaba 10 days earlier. It was also unpleasantly hot and unlike yesterday, we didn't have much tree cover providing shade. Basically, it was a long, hot and exhausting day of hiking.

The wildflowers, however, continued to be absolutely stunning! Entire hillsides and views burst with a superbloom the likes of which I'd never been before. In Jordan! Who could have guessed?

Wildflowers were everywhere!

We stopped for a sizeable rest near Pella, another impressive ancient Roman city that had fallen into ruins. I was sitting in the shade of one of the beautiful columns resting when Karolina rushed up to me. "Get your camera! Get your camera! There's an owl over here!"

She was, of course, referring to my fancy camera with the 300mm zoom lens because animals like owls don't typically let you get very close to get a photo. Her camera phone was not up to the challenge like my fancy camera.

I pulled out my camera quickly think, an owl? Surely that can't be right. Owls like trees! At night! And while there were certainly trees in the north of Jordan, they weren't located at these ruins and it was certainly wasn't dark out! It was the middle of the day!

But sure enough, it was definitely an owl. I took a photo from a distance with my zoom lens, then slowly approached closer and closer to get even more detailed photos. The photos, I knew, were absolutely stunning and I was excited to get them.  I took a lot of photos and was surprised at how close the owl allowed me to get before flying off. He didn't fly far, though, landing on the top of one of the ancient Roman columns. But he hung out there for just a minute or two before flying off for good.

What a beautiful creature!

What absolutely awesome photos, though. Definitely my best owl photos ever!

Along the way, we also passed several bee hives. Which, with this wildflower bloom, the bees must have felt like they were in heaven. At least one of the hikers got stung by a bee during a snack break.

The end of the day left us at the Sharhabil Bin Hasnah Eco Park. We were camped in tents but had access to flush toilets and a swingset and slide that kids usually used but we were happy to test out as well. =)


A particular rough section of trail
I still can't figure out how Mohammad got up this column at Pella.
Ruins of Pella, an ancient Roman city
This was the last photo I got of the owl just as it turned to jump and fly off!
This is Connie from New York.
Grasshopper! On a poppy! How cute! =)

Wildflowers... as far as the eye can see!
Erosion on the trail
Apparently, nobody is certain if this tunnel is natural or man-made! It looks so natural... but so man-made as well! I can't decide! Even experts apparently disagree on the subject.




Frog in a spring
Bees! Bees! Everywhere are bees!



This beehive was actively being managed when we were there.

This was a particularly steep section of trail!
Qussai often like to "live off the land." I'm not sure what he planned to do with this harvest, though!
The slide at our camp was made from the shell of an old van. What fun! (But be careful not to hit your head while going through the van. I did.)
Tonight, once again, we had kanafeh for dessert! Which was cooked over our campfire. =)

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