I've crossed off one more thing of my list, and will use your comments regarding a question in this post to determine whether I can cross off another...
We went south to the Ashalim River, in the Judean Desert, right next to the Dead Sea. There aren't pictures of the actual river hike, because there were still some water holes to pass through so the camera (Snappy's cousin)(Ro, does your camera have a name?) spent that portion of the trip in a double ziplock bag (and remained totally dry, which I cannot say for myself. I was soaked for most of the walk. Initially from sweat, and later from the water.
The first few pictures are of the area surrounding our camp site. Let me tell you that sleeping on a rocky desert floor isn't especially comfortable.
The next few pictures are of the hike that led to the river. The path leading to the river was very steep and very rocky.
The next picture is of a river that runs fairly parallel to the one we travelled, although this one is far less, um, extreme.
The white path running through the middle of this picture is the actual riverbed in the canyon we were to follow. We had to descend an almost straight wall down, then walked up to the right along the river (against our intended direction of travel), and climbed the wall on the other side, to circle around a part of the river that was impassable on foot. You can see the depth of the descent by the size of the people resting at the bottom. This one is where the question I alluded to before comes in. One of my 101 list items is climbing a rock wall. I meant one of those artificial jobbies, but I'm wondering whether scaling an actual rock wall actually counts. Thoughts?
This next one is at the conclusion of our "detour". We had to descend from the top of that wall to the bottom, where the river continued. It was HARD, y'all. And skeery. Way skeery. My legs were rubber at this point.
At this point, we began walking along the river, which consisted of white, water-smoothed stones, massive boulders, jagged stones, sand, and water. It was a seriously taxing walk, with some massive progression challenges. There was a lot of stopping to deliberate how to go down 7-8 foot drops, going through occasional waterholes without getting our possesions wet, and so on. The water holes were nifty to look at, but pretty gross to go through. I'd venture that there were about 4 or 5 which we had to swim through, and a few we could walk around.
One was praticularly challenging, as we had to climb a 10 foot straight wall with only slight cracks to place our rather slippery feet. Luckily there was a couple walking just ahead of us that somehow managed it (and just barely at that), and helped us get the first member of our group up. I seriously jacked my right shoulder trying to pull someone up, which made my left shoulder not feel lonely in its lonesome jacking from an earlier slip on a difficult descent.
We finally came out of the canyon after about 6 hours, and had just under a kilometer to walk to our pick up point. We had paid someone to help us get to the start point and to collect some of us at the end point, so that they could go get the 4x4s to pick us up. The following are pictures of the walk from the end of the canyon part of the hike.
The person on the left in this picture is eyeball.
The following two pictures illustrate the sheer force of the water that flows through this river in winter. Those are uprooted branches from the river, that got wrapped around a tree and an electric pole along the way. The river flows into the Dead Sea.
And here we sat and dried out (to some extent) while waiting for our ride.
This trip is perhaps one of the most difficult physical challenges I've ever endured. I wasn't feeling it until we got a bit further into the canyon. I think the point that made it fun for me was when I swam through the first water hole.
At some point I must have twisted my ankle, because it hurts now, although it didn't while we were walking. We finally got home about 3 hours ago, and I spent a bit of time soaking my aching muscles in the tub. I don't imagine I'll be in particularly great shape tomorrow though.
This was an awesome weekend, and having conquered my aversion for camping, I'd totally do it again. There were actually some rumblings among the group about going to Petra (in Jordan) for some rappeling during Passover. That could be a lot of fun.Posted by raptorgirl at April 16, 2005 03:10 PM