A Night on Jabal Shams

A couple of weeks ago we spent the night on Oman’s highest mountain, Jabal Shams (in English, that means The Sun Mountain). It was a remarkable experience and one I won’t soon forget. I haven’t had the chance to show you photos yet but, as I finally have my new laptop (yay!), I can now give you a glimpse into our camping adventure. Enjoy!

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This road doesn’t mess around. While the grade on the sign might be slightly hyperbolic, it wasn’t too far off.

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Chris does the driving on these roads. I am a huge wuss about them, particularly when we’re going down. I don’t do well with edges.

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Once we made it to the top, we got our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon of Oman. They say it’s over a kilometer from where we’re standing to the bottom of Wadi Ghul.

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To get to our campsite (that’s our little blue tent there), we hiked a trail called the Balcony Walk, which took us down from the top and along the edge of the canyon into an old, abandoned village. It’s a long way in and we kept thinking about just how remarkable it was that people used to live here, particularly when we finally got a glimpse of their farming strategy. If you see look at the last terrace there on the bottom of the farm above, the next step from would drop you off a sheer cliff thousands of feet long. From our first vantage point of the village, we could barely even make out that it was there, it is so small in comparison to the grandeur around it. Our tent is even less significant.

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I must say, the heights did lend themselves to spectacular views and we got the best camp site in the canyon. This was what we saw out of our tent.

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After we set up camp, we roamed around in the abandoned village for a while. I still don’t know how people managed to live here.

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The next morning, we woke up to this. Clouds formed in the canyon and floated up as the sun warmed the air.

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Above our campsite was the water source that made this whole village viable. Water drips from the rocks constantly, filling this pool with fresh, clear water. When the rains come, the pool overflows and cascades in a waterfall to the village below. There they collect it and distribute it out to the farms. Quite a handy system.

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My favorite part of the whole adventure may have been the caves behind the pool. They were so surreal and out of place in Oman. Nothing is that wet here. There were ferns and moss and I am almost certain I even saw a fig tree. It was gorgeous.

We only stayed one night but it was such a perfect experience and so deeply relaxing we felt like we’d been out of the city for a week.

Sigh.

Until next time, Jabal Shams.

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