“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.”

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Eid Mubarak!

It’s Eid time once again. This is the Eid where a sacrifice is the order of the day, usually an animal, despatched in recognition of the sacrifice that Mohammed was prepared to make, etc, etc. Being vegetarians ourselves, we carefully considered our options as, if you are an avid reader of this amazing blog you will already be aware, we have pretty much ‘done’ Oman in terms of adventurous travel. We have been as far North as it’s possible to go, travelled West to the edge of the Empty Quarter, East along the coastline, South to Salalah and visited an awful lot of places inbetween – mountains, villages, forts, wadis, springs, waterfalls, beaches, deserts and numerous malls.

Seeing how we didn’t want to cut the throat of an animal then put it underground to cook slowly before feasting on the succulent flesh (not all of us are vegetarians actually), we pondered as to what to do with our four day weekend. Of course, there is always domestic stuff to get out of the way but then we suddenly felt we should get out and about. Now, a long, long time ago we visited ‘The Grand Canyon’ of Oman and if you remember our blog about it, we said that we would return one day and traverse the rim of the canyon in order to find the Lost City of As Sab in the Nakhur Gorge of Jebel Shams. Actually, it is an abandoned village where a few families eked out an existence cut off from the outside world and no one even knew they were there until a few years ago. With a natural water supply, some terracing of land, goats and the other essentials for self-sufficiency, generations lived amongst the rocks and caves. Abandoned because, once discovered, the government declared that they could not possibly carry on living there so they moved them all into a condominium (block of flats) where it was deemed safe, sound and taxable (possibly). It seems rather a sad demise to what one can only think must have been a great existence away from the rest of the mad, mad world. So, how to tell our trekking story?

I thought that it would be easier to give a pictorial walk-through of our adventure. It all started with a three hour drive to ‘The Grand Canyon’ but the actual walk itself, across treacherous terrain with a real threat of falling off the side of the mountain, was a steady-paced four hour round trip and this allowed for a short lunch break and a rest here and there. Fine, fit young things could probably do it in two and a half or three hours but hey ho – jog on you young whipper-snappers you, we had a kid to drag along! The start was 2,000 metres above sea-level so the air was a tad thin and that is evident from my hard breathing which, you will be delighted to hear, you will shortly be able to experience once I have uploaded the video to Youtube. Even from the pictures the danger can be fully appreciated and with a wrong footing – it would be a bad end to a lovely day. The sheer drop down into the ‘Canyon’ would result in death or one helluva bad headache – the former most likely. As always, we let the one with the smallest legs take the lead and even wander about on her own if she chose to. It’s a lesson in life we reckon and she has survived to tell the tale and she’ll no doubt brag about it all when she’s a teenager. Fortunately, she doesn’t quite appreciate the real danger that she’s in half the time, which is nice and an endless source of amusement for us. So, off we go then, suitably hydrated and with sun hats tilted at a jaunty angle…

The 'off', fresh and full of energy...

The ‘off’, fresh and full of energy…

 

...2,000 metres high and into the mouth of the dragon...

…2,000 metres high and into the mouth of the dragon…

 

...stopping briefly to pose for a photograph before it all goes horribly wrong...

…stopping briefly to pose for a photograph before exhaustion takes a grip… (yes, that is the edge behind them with a sheer drop to certain death!)…

 

...the journey continues with an arduous trek ahead - if only we'd known...

…the journey continues with an arduous trek ahead – if only we’d known…

 

... then a short breather for a cheese sandwich and a drink...

… then a short breather for a cheese sandwich and a drink (yes, the sheer drop is a constant worry)…

 

...half way point and the abandoned village can be seen in the distance (mind that edge child!)...

…half way point and the abandoned village can be seen in the distance (mind that edge child!)…

 

...it'll make a great picture - let's stand on the edge of the mountain...

…it’ll make a great picture – let’s stand on the edge of the mountain…

 

...some neighbours to the abandoned village...

…the abandoned village…

 

...family photo for the album...

…family photo for the album…

 

...idyllic lifestyle away from the madding crowd..?

…idyllic lifestyle away from the madding crowd..?

 

...a fine des. res.

…a fine des. res.

 

...time to head back before the sun goes down...

…time to head back before the sun goes down and we have to negotiate the slippery slope back…

 

 

...easy does it, legs are tired and blood-sugar levels are dropping...

…easy does it, legs are tired, blood-sugar levels are dropping and the precipice is ever present…

 

...edging our way back to safety...

…edging our way back to safety…

 

...a breather before the last push home.

…a breather before the last push home. Now where’s that path gone..?

 

All’s well that ends well. A marvellous day trekking, especially as we made it safe and sound. A short video of the adventure is forthcoming, just to give you a taste of what danger is really all about.

‘Til then, check this out:

See ya real soon!

 

 

 

 

 

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