A day or so ago I went hiking in Wadi Dana which is in the Dana Biosphere Reserve after a ~2.5 hour drive from Amman and it was solid times. I had been in the area before but never with a group and the whole dynamic changed the scene and it was good times had by all. Once we arrived at the I instantly ran into Mohammed who was a Bedouin friend of mine that had been there last time; it was cool meeting an old friend once again in Dana Village.
We enjoyed the solid views of Wadi Dana from Dana Village where we ate and then began the trek. It’s not a hard hike but by any means easy as you drop something like 800M+ in a few kilometers so some serious downhill action surrounded by views in every direction. Last time I was in Jordan it was July and now being mid-October, I can tell you the weather was perfect. It’s warm but not that hot during the day and it cools off in the evening to the point that it could be considered sweater weather by some.
Once the solid downhill was done it was somewhat smooth sailing and our guide Mohammed really knew his stuff. Anything we had a question about was quickly answered and at one point we even stopped to make some black tea with a local herb and like always, lots of sugar. He also made some bread which he cooked traditional Bedouin style which is in the hot coals from the fire used to make the tea; it really hit the spot. I don’t drink caffeine but I had to get involved, time to go hard on the tea for a few days before cutting it out again; to not drink teat them would be absurd.
We walked for ~6 hours or so as we weren’t the fastest moving group and let’s be serious; if you’re with good people and having a great time in a nice place, what’ s the rush? We arrived at the shortly after dark and enjoyed some vegetarian food which was much needed although most of us didn’t eat that much. I think the hike really took it out of us, I know it did me and I’ve been doing some hiking of late.
What’s cool about Feynan Ecolodge is that when at capacity of ~60 people it uses less electricity than a two-bedroom apartment in Amman. Also, it really supports the local community hiring its inhabitants for all sorts of jobs from staffing the hotel, making the bread to eat, the candles to burn at night or even transfers to Petra afterwards. When you’re done dinner, I suggest you hit up the roof to do some star gazing.
There is a gent there who knows every constellation you could think of and I hope next time I see the sky so clear, I’ll still remember how to identify the Northern Cross. If you’re doing the hike, I highly recommend you spend the night there as I feel it is all part of the full experience. It’s out in the desert but you can still have a hot shower and check your email should you feel so inclined on the wifi in the lobby.
I’m a notoriously light sleeper who doesn’t even sleep that much to begin with. I’m not sure if it was because I was tired or the setting was so peaceful or both but I slept like a baby that night. It could arguably be the best sleep I’ve had in recent memory actually. That said, if you mix a long hike with that tranquil setting, it would be hard not to pass out solid until the sunrise to start your next day like I did.
I really enjoyed this hike and like I said, it wasn’t too hard but also not that easy. It was long enough at ~15km that you went through all the stages of doing something worthwhile. Those stages are the euphoria at the start, the low in the middle when you start feeling fatigued and then that amazing feeling of accomplishment when you finish.
If you’re coming to Jordan you’ll definitely be going to Petra, yes? Why not hike Wadi Dana, spend a night at Feynan then have some cool Bedouins drive you to Petra through the ancient back route which winds its way through the mountains? In closing, it was a great experience and it was as much the setting as the local people I had the chance to meet which made it so memorable.
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