Among rocks and canyons

Nov. 25, 2011 (day 191) Jordan

I had been thinking if it could be possible to go from Karak to Petra in a single day. Perhaps yes, but it took me three days. The road crosses numerous canyons, including the huge and scenic Wadi Hasa, which was a place of one of the most beautiful campings so far. The canyons mean steep downhills followed by similar uphills. Enough to produce litres of sweat and guarantee good sleep, which comes after physical effort.

Down, to go uphill again

Down, to go uphill again

Upon Wadi Hasa

Upon Wadi Hasa

Between canyons the plateau is mostly hilly, sometimes rocky, with pine forests appearing here and there. It seems that rains come here quite often, and thanks to the water they bring, the soil is being cultivated. It also resulted in many rides through villages or towns. Stone-throwing kids appear quite often, but I found a good strategy to avoid being aimed at. Just spot these bastards beforehand and look straight into their eyes. These cowards will just make a stupid smile and pretend like they were doing gymnastics.

A kitchen under the stars

A kitchen under the stars

I love camps like this!

I love camps like this!

In Wadi Musa I entered a hotel quite far from the tourist, overpriced center. Well, isn't that what I have the bike for? With a pannier of food bought beforehand I could stop worrying about typical problems of a tourist trap. Instead I just descended to the entrance of the Petra complex to get a free map and see the unbelievable price of the entry ticket.

Paying 50JOD (slightly over 50EUR) or not paying 50JOD is 100JOD difference, isn't it? The conclusion was simple: either I enter for free or I just let Petra wait until I am retired, rich and having a huge belly. I knew that the former was possible.

The next day I arrived to Petra early morning. Instead of going to the entrance, I cycled the road leading to the "Small Petra". A ruin of crusaders' castle is visible from the road some 500m away from the main entrance. The sandstone rock there is cut into fantastic shapes, mostly by water flow. I stashed the bike between rocks and bushes on the opposite side of the road and jumped over the small wall.

The area of the descent to Petra

The area of the descent to Petra

The first attempt was unsuccessful. Descending down the beautiful but littered maze of water-made canyons and tunnels I arrived to the top of a big, 10m tall wall, with no place to climb down safely. Well, I am not a climber and perhaps someone could do it, but my only chance was to climb back to the surface.

The second attempt was more planned. The castle had a moat. A 20m deep, narrow crevice, obviously made with help of human hands. There is a small bridge connecting the castle's rock to the main land, and from there I began my descend. Going to the left side, I quickly reached the bottom of the moat. It was just a walk on the sand to a very promising bed of a temporary stream.

Walking down, soon I had to take a risk. Jump down from a rock that I could not be able to climb back, while not knowing if the way in front of me was passable. Fortunately, it resulted to be. After twenty minutes I met goats and first people riding donkeys. Obviously, the Bedouins from a village visible on the right (and connected to the road I descended from) use the valley to keep their animals there. It means that walking down from the village is even easier than my route was. I know that a few persons spotted me, but nobody cared about my violation of the rules.

English speaking Bedouin children

English speaking Bedouin children

Petra is impressive, but for me the descend through the rocky maze was much more interesting that anything I could see in the complex itself. However, the monastery up on the mountain looked great, and the view on the other side was magnificent. Wind brought low, gray clouds, and the fog together with absolute silence gave mysterious appearance to these rocky mountains separated by deep canyons with no visible bottom. Exploring that area could be fun, but going there alone would be considered as irresponsible, at least.

The view beyond Petra promised adventure

The view beyond Petra promised adventure

Time to escape

Time to escape

After few hours the hordes of pack tours arrived, making the touts more agitated and less tolerable. Also the effort of climbing numerous rocks, together with finished supply of food, made me come back. Certainly, the complex is large enough to spend few days on exploration. And great thing is, that except for a few little no-go areas, one may wander freely, climb the rocks, discover and risk the life without constraints.

Comments:

hose morales
hose morales
9 years, 11 months ago
Rewelacyjne widoki i klimaty. Całkiem ciekawe alternatywa dla kosmicznie wysokich biletów wstępu;)
diana
diana
9 years, 11 months ago
sledzimy i podziwiamy :) 3maj sie bezpiecznie emes!
xmk
xmk
9 years, 11 months ago
Super! Rewelacja! Jordania to piękny kraj. Jedź dalej bezpiecznie i zdrowo.