Friday, September 13, 2019

Day 43: The beginning of the end of the Jordan Trail

March 12: Today was our shortest day of the entire trail (excluding the zero days, of course). We had to complete a measly 12 kilometers--or about 7.5 miles. Being such a short day, we were allowed to sleep in late. Breakfast wasn't served until 7:30am and we didn't leave camp until 9:00am.

But, all things considered, I'd have preferred our normal 7:00am breakfast and 8:00am departure because while our hiking distance was short, the daytime temperatures would soar to about 30°C (86°F). And I'm kind of a baby in hot temperatures. I don't like them! I'd have been thrilled with a 6:00am departure and finish the day's hike by 9:00am! =) An earlier start means cooler hiking temperatures.

A couple of our guides spent the night in the van that made up the slides! (See them in the sleeping bags?)
The other thing that did not excite me was that a whopping 18 new weekend hikers joined our group nearly doubling its size. It was a group size that I didn't feel comfortable with, but it is what it is. Oh, well.

As we were about to leave camp, Maria came up to me and asked if I wanted her Snickers bar. We were provided sack lunches and snacks which included a Snickers bar and--unbelievably--some people didn't want them and I was always happy to "offer" my services of gobbling them down. So cool! I got an extra Snickers bar! Yes! =)

Several hikers from our group had been getting sick--this past week or so, it seemed like it was being passed around from person to person. Today, Sarah seemed especially put out and was feeling ill.

Other problems developed as the heat of the day warmed up--one of the weekend hikers that joined us struggled and seemed on the verge of heat stroke. She eventually made it.... slowly but surely. Tomorrow's weather forecast was supposed to be even hotter, though, and I had concerns about whether she could make it. We'll see, I guess.

During our lunch break, we stopped by an olive grove and everyone huddled under olive trees for the sparse shade they provided. George and some of the crew drove out and provided us a hot meal. The meal was good, but given how hot it was, I was okay with a cold meal. Ice cream sounded much better! Realistically, I knew ice cream had the problematic tendency of melting, so I'd have been quite happy with cold drinks, but we didn't get that either. I've gotten soft on this trail!

At one rest break without any shade, Ernie and I beat the heat under my umbrella. =)

I may not have gotten any cold drinks, but Helena offered me up her Snickers bar. Karolina was nearby to witness that and seemed stunned. "What?! You get an extra Snickers bar?!"

I laughed. "Actually, I got two extras," I admitted. "Maria gave me hers as well."

Karolina seemed stunned at the admission, and I thought maybe I shouldn't mention the extra Snickers bar I got the day before. But I offered to give one of the spare Snickers to Karolina. I was willing to share. *nodding*

We finally arrived into camp, and I pretty much just laid out in the shade and didn't want to do anything. It was so freakin' hot!

The end of the trail was imminent, and the fact weighed on all of us. Tomorrow was our last day on the trail. As much as we enjoyed the trail, many people from our group seemed happy to see it winding down. They were tired or homesick or just plain sick. But there was also an air of sadness. Our adventures were winding down. New friends would be flying back home all over the world. The band of 20 or so people I'd been hiking with every day for 43 days now was coming to an end. We were thru-hikers in all but name only. Tomorrow, it would be official.

Thru-hikers were offered the opportunity to spend the night at a farm in Umm Qais at the trail's end, but only four of us took up the offer. I guess it was a disappointing turnout, however, because we were informed today that the farmstay had been canceled.

Which meant that I now had nowhere to stay tomorrow night. I had made a reservation on our last zero day for a hotel in Amman, but that was for the night after tomorrow night. I tried calling the hotel with Karolina's phone to see if I could extend my reservation to start a day earlier, but they reported being full.

The hotel was the same one that Ernie, Jan and Margaret were staying, however, and I asked Margaret if it would be okay for us to sleep in her room tomorrow night. We had sleeping bags and everything! We'd make no fuss at all, then be out of her hair the next night when our own reservation kicked in.

She didn't have a problem with this idea so we had a plan for tomorrow night. Camping in a hotel with Margaret. =)

Later in the afternoon, the thru-hikers gathered for some group photos and in the evening, we had a small 'ceremony' for the guides and staff that supported our hike for the past several weeks to show our appreciation and thank them.

Even later in the evening, I would later find out, Sarah decided to get a ride to the hospital where she got IV fluids pumped through her. That must have been an adventure! And she reported that she felt a lot better after that. It seemed like an extreme action for a bout of illness, but I was a little jealous. I kind of wanted to brag about "my time in a Jordanian hospital."

But... I can live just hearing other people's stories.

The end of the trail was near.... It was a time for somber reflection.

I wasn't sure what they were doing here. It kind of looks like compost piles, though?
The wildflowers continued to amaze and delight us!

There is some solar power in Jordan, but it's not as big as you might think....


Arlene (EverReady AT 2015) said...

Ryan, what camera do you use? I recall taking a picture of you in Georgia at the start of the AT. I think it was a Sony. Your camera takes great pictures, close ups and at a distance, and is probably lightweight. Do tell. Great shots again!

Ryan said...

I'm asked that question so much... I created a special page to answer it: =)

I'll also mention, since I wrote that page, I've since acquired a Canon EOS T6 which is what I've used to take photos of stars, and it includes a 300mm zoom lens which helps me get a lot better photos of distant animals (birds, bears, moose, etc.) It's enormously big, heavy and bulky, however, and is terrible for thru-hiking. I have taken it on *some* thru-hikes (e.g. Colorado Trail and Jordan Trail), but only carried it about 130 miles on the Pacific Northwest Trail before sending it home. There are better options for thru-hiking, but they cost a lot more which is why I haven't bought them!