Posted by: treksinai | July 7, 2008

5 Days in the Wilderness

Took off on Friday morning from St. Catherine with 65 liter MEC backpack, a Bedouin guide, and an experienced English guide-trainer. The point of this expedition was to get GPS coordinates and for me to take photos and get a good enough feel for the environment to write a formal article.


Day One: We trekked up the highest peak in Egypt, (St. Katreen) where we looked down on Mt. Sinai and got an incredible view where even the Red Sea was visible. After spending some time up there, we descended to a valley where we had lunch in a desert garden(were there was a mini-pool to swim in!) Normally this is where a group hiking with SheikhSina (the company I work for) would spend the night. But we were pressing on, as we only had 3 days to do a 5 day hike. We walked for another few hours, along a valley, up over a ridge and down the other side before getting to our camp. That day we walked just under 23 Kilometers and could feel the effects. Supper was as tasty as could be and the bread was freshly made and baked in the fire on a pan by the Bedouin guide. We slept under the stars – I can’t remember being in a place where more stars were visible, the ‘space-clouds’ and shooting stars were all over the place, and the silence (except for the wind in the trees) was one of the most calming experiences I have ever had. 


Day Two: Warmed up the bread from supper, dipped it into melted Fetta cheese then headed out for the upcoming 19 kilometers. The objective was Gebal Bab – but the hike up to it was the most splendid part of the entire trek… as you may see from the photos. Sometimes we were lucky and could leave our big bags at the base of the mountain then head up quickly and lightly. With the onus removed – the hike came to life. There is an excitement to leaving ones burdens behind – especially if they were heavy; certainly true for trekking as well.  The second night we slept in another garden, the guide mixed some flour with water and salt, then put it in the hot ashes and covered it with more ashes. 20 minutes later we dipped our warm bread (Leba) into a potatoes soup, and ate in silence.



Day Three: This was our easy day – 12.3 Kilometers. Mainly walked through valleys, down a couple gorges (some areas requiring some climbing skills), one col, 2 monasteries and several gardens. It was a relaxing day and we all we knew we would soon be able to shower and sleep in our own beds. For the past three days we had been drinking well water. It was fun to pull drinking water out of a deep well with a bucket attached to a rope, a technique that has probably been used for thousands of years. Sometimes the water would be quite murky with alive floaties, but hey – if Bedouins can drink it, why can’t I… 


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