14 November 2004

Wadi Amyiah Trip

This Friday we went out to one of the more challenging wadis. The description in the guide book kept saying 'here it looks like you can't go any further...'

Indeed, as soon as we found our way into the riverbed it looked like a dead end. A little stream trickled through huge boulders, there were palm trees narrowing the path and the route was blocked by a dam further along! But it was supposed to be doable, so we did.


Navigating the Wadi

First there was a lot of scouting, frowning at rock face angles and testing of water depths by dipping toes. Then one car went ahead, three people on foot in front to direct the wheel placement, look for possible slippage and try to remember optimum tracks for the following vehicles. This helped enormously and the second car had little problems. After that the drive was great, a few very uneven spots, but the track was clear - mainly because the canyon walls of 30 meters on either side didn't allow for derivation.


We stopped for lunch with a bunch of goats looking on, but didn't stay because the flies were too much. On the way home we stopped to eat grilled corn at a market on the wayside.



06 November 2004

Wadi Driving in Hatta

For the first time this autumn we have made it out of town for a drive.

Until the last few weeks it's still been too hot in the day time to be fun, specially since we never seem to be able to get going till 11 am for some reason. But today we got out and took some friends to Hatta Pools. We went in three cars, Kelly, Mike and the kids in a Ford Explorer, our Range Rover and Peter in his trusty Jeep Cherokee. We hoped that some of the rain we have been getting lately |(not in Dubai, but nearer the mountains) had replenished the pools enough to swim in. As it turned out the rest of Dubai had the same idea. There were barbies and picnics everywhere - despite Ramadan! But even the crowds and the excessive rubbish they had left behind couldn't disturb the peace of the pools. We swan, we paddled, we floated, then went for a drive.


The wadi extends for miles in a deep canyon, criss-crossed by shallow pools and littered with boulders. There wer a few points where we thought we had to turn round, but squeezed through or scrambled across anyway.


As it turned out Kelly is a natural wadi-driver, fearless on her first trip into the wild. We stopped a lot to look at the scenery, once saw a frog, and while photographing it, a thin black dangerous-looking snake slithered between my legs in the water and disappeared up the hillside. After that we decided it wasn't safe to go back into the water...