Leaving the Cement Jungle: Wadi Mukheiris

الأربعاء 27 آب 2008

A bumbling brook in Wadi Mukheiris

A bumbling brook in Wadi Mukheiris

Adventure Guide du jour: Ramsey Tesdell

One of the best things about Amman is the proximity of neat things around it. You won’t find me spending much time defending the traffic jams of the capital of Jordan, but will find me out in the rural areas exploring the microenvironments around Jordan. One of my favorite areas in Jordan is the Dead Sea Rift, and the endless wadis, water sources, and beautiful hiking terrain.

A hike I’ve had my eye for some time is about as close to Amman as you can get and still be in the Dead Sea Rift – a place that goes by the name of Wadi Mukheiris – and beings right in front of the Movenpick hotel at the Dead Sea. Park there and prepare to leave civilization behind.

Cross the road and head over an earthen embankment, from here you’ll see the water. Follow the water for about 45 minutes to an hour before the hiking gets interesting. It is an easy jaunt in the beginning, and enjoyable walking through the water or picking your way through the boulders to either side.

As you leave the few reminders of civilization behind you (black plastic bag, Jordan’s national flower), you’ll come to a sheer rock wall, which you can easily bypass from the left. Careful picking your way on the sheer cliff – it is not particularly dangerous, but I found it more difficult to concentrate on footing while instead I was enjoying the beautiful red hues to be found in the cliff.

Another thirty minutes or so from the red hues, you’ll come to a wonderful place to take a break and to have a shower. Big boulders force the water through a small opening that creates a natural shower; a shower you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving the water on.

Again, bypass on the left-hand side and continue on, this time feeling clean and refreshed.

Take your time on this next stretch – plenty of beautiful little waterfalls and pools to enjoy. But watch out for the crabs, which on several occasions surprised me just enough to make a quick exit. Fluttering about is the Wheatear, a black and white little bird that you can catch wonderful little glimpses of as it hightails out of your way.

As you continue sloshing upwards towards the source, the water gets cooler and cooler, and more plentiful. Plenty of hanging gardens and plants to enjoy as you make your way through.

Don’t forget to bring some high-energy snacks and some lunch. For me personally, chocolate and bread, cheese and cucumbers do just fine, but many feel the need to spend their extra dinars on fancy energy snacks. But don’t forget water; while bathing and hiking through the water is pleasant, I can’t imagine drinking the water would provide that sort of untroubled experience.

Practicalities: wear shoes that are comfortable, but ones you can get wet and still enjoy wearing. Loose fitting clothing with some type of head covering for the hotter days will suffice. During the winter, watch the forecast for rain so you don’t get washed away. During summer, bring extra water and leave early – you don’t want to get stuck out there during the afternoon sun.

It doesn’t take much to get there – 45 minutes and a quick argument with a taxi driver. Make sure you arrange for a ride back.


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