“It feels good to carry my world on my back. I smile in the sunlight. I could travel and live this lightly forever, I remember as I get into my stride.”
From There are Other Rivers, by Alastair Humphreys
Here is part 2 of the dispatches we shared along the route, including new photos (Here you’ll find part 1).
Day 26, 323 kms, Ais
The alarm clock wakes us at 5.30. It is pitch dark and cold. The gale wind and streaming rain kept me awake all night and I felt grateful for our shelter at Kayed’s farmhouse.
We get dressed, step outside to start the new year about halfway on the Jordan Trail. We lock the door and face the world. One sliver of sky with the sun rising, the rest ebony and gray with a new sprinkling of rain.
Do we want to do this? Not at all!
We go back inside, unpack and I take a nap on the sofa. We text Kayed and ask if we can stay another day. No problem. A day of reading and eating lots of halva.
Kayed shows up around noon to feed his dog, chickens and pigeons. We prepare lentils and he a tomato onion dish which we share with bread. All afternoon the rain is streaming against the windows and stops around midnight.
The next morning the ritual repeats itself. Partly. Alarm clock, dark and cold, a sliver of sky with the sun rising and a sky ebony and grey, presaging more rain. This time we brave ourselves and hit the road. A world silent except for the ticking of our walking poles and the howling of wind that blows us to the side. Three kms down the road the first drop falls.
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The first village has a shop, and a restaurant with a heater, coffee, and falafel.
I am so glad to have planned ample time for this trail so we can take time off such as in this weather. Sure we can manage it, but hiking in this weather just isn’t a lot of fun.
On that note, we will order another coffee and falafel.
Day 27, 332 kms, Dana
Day 30, 346 kms, Wadi Malaga
Warned by various people and the online weather forecast, we decided to stay put for 2 days in the middle of nowhere. The rains and storms are predicted exactly for where we are going – high up in the mountains. We should be fine here, low in a desert valley.
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The surroundings have changed completely. Dark grey clouds in the mountains and yellow dust storms blow over the plains. Sometimes we can’t see anything anymore and we hide in our little tent which we heavily fortified with big rocks, waiting for the storm to abide, after which we are covered in a layer of dust.
We have 9 liters of water on us that should last us a day or 2, or can get some from Bedouins nearby, to sit out this storm. I climb a hill to send out this update and to check the weather forecast for tomorrow.
Day 32, 375 kms, Petra
Yes, we survived the desert storms and are now in the fabled city of Petra – one of the modern seven wonders of the world. We will stay a few days and explore the ancient trade route settlement and need to prepare for the “real” desert stage of our hike as we will need to organize a few water caches.
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Day 39, 451 kms, Wadi Gseib
Jordan Trail fire-making skills….
I decided to practice the art of tiny wood fires. In the dry wadis and deserts of Jordan I wanted to use the limited resources with care. It was fun and harder than I thought.
During our many invitations for cha I watched how shepherds prepared their tea. Making big campfires is one thing but keeping a fire for cooking while using a minimum of wood is quite another.
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It helped when I was taught which bush is good for firewood and which ones to avoid. Most trees and bushes have enormous thorns so my hands suffered. It didn’t matter. I gathered what I could in almost empty landscapes and set to work.
At least the firewood was so dry that lighting the fire was easy. But to get it properly going I found it hard to keep it small and soon the flames roared and sparks made holes in my down jacket.
Each time I managed to do it better, using fewer twigs and branches and found ways to prevent the fire from dying out.
Under pitch black skies full of twinkling stars we watched the orange flames; small ones are just as captivating as big ones.
I will need to undertake many more awesome Jordan Trail hikes before I will get anywhere near the perfection of the shepherds.
Day 43, 580 kms, Wadi Rum
Day 46, 650 kms, Aqaba / the Finish
Information on Hiking the Jordan Trail
- The Jordan Trail has an informative website, including maps and GPS tracks, as well as a Facebook Page.
- Contacting the Jordan Trail beforehand, or visiting their office in Amman is a good idea. They can assist you in several ways, such as providing you with a letter in Arabic explaining your hiking adventure, which you can show to authorities if the need arises (or other local people).
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