Much smaller than they are
Day 11, June 24 1998, Wadi Rum
Woke up in the full sun around nine. Tonight we will camp out in the desert. We both had a Continental Breakfast at the Rest House when we saw Chris, an Australian we met at the Cliff in Amman (this was a different Chris from the one we met in Jerusalem). Since he was also here with the objective of spending a night in the desert, we decided to join forces.
After re-packing our bags so as to minimize the weight, we bought some water (4,5 litres a person), and left the bags we didn't need at a local shop for 1 JD. We were free to trek! First, we set off to explore last night's gorge some more. We left at a bad time, around 11 o'clock in the morning.
After 1,5 hours we had covered the six kilometres from Rum to the gorge. We left our bags below and walked around for a while, but found little rocks worthy of climbing. We settled on a shadowy plateau to take a nap, but not before Dennis discovered blisters on my neck. Sunburn. I never even felt it. At five we decided that we could now move on. And sure enough, it was much easier going in this sun. I wore a towel in my neck to protect it from the sun. We came to the natural bridge, which was very beautiful, but the real challenge lay in climbing the rock behind it, a giant some hundreds of meters high.
Chris had gone on ahead and made good time by climbing the remnants of an old rock slide in a crevice. At one point our paths must have split because I found myself facing very steep rock faces, which I had no choice but to climb. I must not have been paying attention, because at one point I looked down and saw about 30 metres of plain steep rock behind me. Oops! How the hell did I end up in this position all of a sudden? I freaked out for a minute, but since I had no other choice but to climb on, I climbed to a nearby plateau. From then on, I decided to be more careful. I did encounter an unwilling rock just minutes later which deiced to give way just as I stood on it. It was a good thing I was holding on because it would have been a rather deep fall. But it was all well worth it, the view from the top was breathtaking. There were mountain ranges and sand dunes miles away. How incredibly beautiful.
After sunset, we crossed the desert once again to find a sheltered place at the foot of a rock formation for the night. Dennis collected dry turds so that we could keep a fire going through the night.
At night, all the stars come out in the desert sky. And I do mean all the stars…I've never seen so many, not even when I was crossing the Channel by sailing ship. I also saw some clouds, blueish in color. Then I realized they were behind the stars. I was actually staring down into the hundreds of thousands of stars that make up the milky way. Incredible.
We also saw a satellite and a few shooting stars, one of which left an incredibly long bright white tail. I've never seen a shooting star with a trail that long. Then we fell asleep.
c l i c k
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