Hiking Wadi Dana Trail
A hike in Jordan in never a sensual experience confined to admiring the beauty of nature. More likely its a hands on learning experience whereby amazing nature & ancient history join to offer a unique experience that stimulates ones senses and mind with every step taken.
My latest hike in Wadi Dana was a case in point. I saw many things; plants, animals, insects, copper, stars and much more. Some things I was able to define, others were new to me, some I still can’t define.
I started with my friends from Dana village located near the town of Tafilah in Jordan 1200m above sea level. The town’s cottages were built of stone 500 years ago and offer a good opportunity to view original Ottoman architecture. Today, these cottages are turned to retreats offering visitors a place to enjoy simplicity and solitude while overlooking Dana Biosphere Reserve and Araba valley.
The wind that day was strong and the weather was a bit chilly in the early hours of the day, but I knew that I should enjoy it as the temperature was expected to rise to 38 C degrees by noon.
Just before venturing further into Dana Biosphere Reserve, my friends and I climbed down some cliffs to explore Al Kharazah spring to find it nearly dry. The more we hiked in the reserve the drier the path and the higher the temperature became.
Dana Biosphere Reserve is unique in many ways. Due to the fact that that it encompasses diverse bio-geographical zones; Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian and Sudanian, it is home to many rare species. Along the hike I saw many plants, trees, insects, and rock formations.
Further down the reserve, I started seeing Bedouin settlements. Thirty eight local families are allowed to live in the reserve and they come from 8 tribes; Azazmeh, Amareen, Saedieen, Manajah, Kawasmeh, Bani Ateyeh, Rashaydeh and Abu Ruman.
The tents were to my left and right, goats were grazing, little kids playing outside their tents completely adapted to this harsh environment.
Finally we reached Feynan Eco-lodge for some rest. But we got more than we bargained for; the local staff welcomed us to some water, tea, and beautiful poetry recitations for the poet Talal Alsaid ” Galat Badu” whereby he reprimands a woman who looks down upon Bedouins.
After a short break, we headed to the famous King Solomon Copper mines. Crawling in one of the mines proved to be a thrilling adventure on its own. Scientist do not unanimously agree whether the mines were part of the Israelite or the Edomite kingdom but we all agree that copper mining changed the face of history.
We picked up pace passing by Khirbat Feynan located at the end of Wadi Ghuweir and beginning of Wadi Araba. The site is home to Roman and Byzantine ruins.
Soon enough, Greigra or Qurayqura village came into sight indicating the end of a 26.09 km hike.
But what is a hike in this trail without enjoying the glittering clear desert sky. The cherry on top was finding a beautiful spot in the desert where we cooked our dinner, then learned to identify different constellations to help us navigate in the desert in future hikes 🙂
Read my blog titled “A Hike in the Kingdom of Edom” for more adventures in Dana Biosphere Reserve.
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Writing and Photography
PS: This blog reflects my personal opinion and my personal take on many issues. Its not a scientific paper, the information used is based on internet searches and some scholarly articles. Its purpose is to entertain and everything mentioned is open for debate and correction. Photos and content are copyrighted.