Saturday, January 18, 2014

One Last Holiday Day-Trip: A Jordan Wadi Hike

We had one last opportunity for a day-trip before Artist Son and Active Son headed back to college, so last Friday we headed south once again, this time to hike a "wadi", or valley, across from the Dead Sea. This wadi was familiar hiking ground for Active Son as his Boy Scout troop had camped and hiked here on more than one occasion back in the day.

This is only my third wadi hike in the Dead Sea area, but I've noticed some common themes: streams, hot springs, interesting geology, birds, waterfalls, palm trees.  As we entered this wadi, the first thing I noticed was the beautiful and varied rocks and I immediately wished I could recall all the fleeting geological knowledge that I knew I once had. At least I could appreciate the beauty of the lines and colors. Perhaps iron ore was coloring this stream bed.

And just around the bend...

...and around the next bend, two-toned shale.

Just look at the colors on these rocks! I checked my Jordan field guide, but I'm still not sure what I was looking at.

Active son carried out this beauty below and it is now sitting in my front sun porch, a fine reminder of our beautiful day.

Tayta insisted on taking a enthusiastic-geologist-wanna-know photo.

A little more shale:

Below is the Lady of the Rock. Do you see her? She reminded me of a woman in a Renoir cafe' scene.

Tayta rightly insisted that I stop monopolizing the camera for rock pictures so that we could take some people pictures. I'm thankful for her balancing perspective.

The kids decided to hike in further than Dear Husband and I...

While we waited for the kids, Dear Husband thoughtfully placed two rocks for us to sit on just on the right of this hot spring--the palm fronds made a shelter which kept the warm, moist air in and we were able to have a long, pleasant conversation in our little makeshift sauna.

I don't see ferns very often in Jordan.

Our picnic visionary, Tayta prepared a delicious lunch for us: sesame noodles with chicken, with a tomato garnish and cucumbers.

The whole family is joining in the fun of birdwatching these days and  Artist Son took this shot of what looks to be a juvenile Blackstart. We don't have the best birder lens, but I love the composition of his picture.

On the way home we stopped at Tell al-Hammam, the proposed site of ancient Sodom. We saw a small flock of colorful Little Green Bee Eaters and Tayta snapped a shot of these two. When in flight we could see their orange underwings--a very beautiful little bird.

Little Green Bee-Eater
Merops orientalis

I spotted two new-to me species of wildflowers:

Bellevalia desertorm

Androcymbium palaestinum

And the Sidr tree, which I've observed on previous visits to the Jordan Valley. It's Latin name is Ziziphus spina-christi, but it is thought unlikely that this is tree from which Christ's thorn of crowns came.

Ziziphus spina-christi

The fruit of the sidr is about the size of an olive and has a mild sweet taste like an apple.

And then, home again, home again, jiggety-jig.


Kerry said...

So beautiful! Those rocks (the onese the the pink/orange splotches) are really amazing. Wish I had better geological knowledge!

jlt said...

The photos are gorgeous. I loved the rocks and the waterfall and the birds. I'm so glad Tatya reminded you to take photos of people, too. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

Lori said...

What a great day that must have been. Blessed times.