Wow, what an exhilarating day! I was determined to make it to Mount Nebo and then find some sort of transportation into the city of Madagascar 10 km down the road. It started out great. For the first several miles there was gentle downhill mostly on dirt tracks. I made great time. But then I hit the bottom of the wadi and for the rest of the day it was uphill, steep uphill, coupled with long stretches with no trails. This really slowed me down because it was harder to navigate especially when I was hopping from one rock to the next.
Three-quarters of the way up I came across a shepherd’s camp. The elder of the camp beckoned me over to the hill he was sitting on while tending to his sheep.
“Chai?” he asked me.
He didn’t have to ask me twice. I dropped my pack and sat next to him. For the next hour I got to know one of the kindest, gentlest, and sweetest men I ever met. He didn’t speak a word of English so over countless cups of tea we joked and laughed with the little Arabic I know. I don’t know how we did it but we sure communicated with each other.
Trying to keep with my self-imposed schedule, we said our goodbyes and I reluctantly pushed on.
Up, up, and unrelentlessly up I went. Then I got to the base of Mount Nebo. It’s the same same mountain God revealed the Promised Land to Moses . When I got to the base, there was only about one mile left to go, but it was steep. So steep that there were times I was down on all fours clawing my way to the top. It took me an hour to go that one mile. As I climbed, the Promised Land was revealed to me. It was clear and I could see Palestine, Israel, and I believe even the Sea of Galilee.
When I got to the top it was getting late and I was concerned about getting transportation into the city of Malaba. I asked some guy if there were any minibuses going in.
“No, but I called for a taxi and it should be here any time. You are welcome to join me,” he replied.
“Great,” I answered almost in a state of shock. “I’m just going to get a peek at the view.”
No sooner did I take three or four steps than the taxi arrived. Oh well, I’ll be there tomorrow and I can get a peek then.
I told the taxi driver to take me to a cheap hotel. And he brought me to one that had a great price along with a great room and plenty of amenities. I peeked into the bathroom and guess what I saw: a bathtub!! You can guess where I was for the next hour!
You can find all my journal entries from the Jordan Trail here: Jordan Trail