Hiking the Jordan Trail: Day 1 – Um Qais to Ziglab (16 miles)

Um Qais

Me starting out in Um Qais.

I am thoroughly exhausted and I’ve only come 16 miles. Normally this would be easy, a piece of cake – but this was hard. The trail itself wasn’t so bad; the slow pace was for other reasons. For starters, it rained a lot today which in and of itself wasn’t a big deal. What made it a big deal was that the mud stuck to my shoes, then mud stuck to the mud already stuck to my shoes. After several steps I had what seemed a couple of pounds of mud on them so I would kick it off and the whole process started over again.

Then there was the navigation which was done exclusively by a GPS. GPS’s are¬†wonderful devices allowing you to go places you would never go with just a map and compass. There were many times I found myself in the middle of a field or scaling a steep hill with slippery rocks. I’d be near the trail but off of it. This took away a significant amount of time. This plus I was chafed and had blisters slowed me down even more. When I arrived in Ziglab it was pitch dark.

But it wasn’t all bad. In between the torrential downpours the sun came out. The green, lush hills were really pretty. It’s the time of year when the flowers come out and they¬† peppered the countryside with bright red flowers. I passed several shepherds with their flocks of sheep. They were very friendly and we tried our best to communicate with each other.

Um Qais green hills

The lush green hills overlooking the Jordan Valley.


All my journal entries from hiking the Jordan Trail can be found here: Jordan Trail

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

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One Response to Hiking the Jordan Trail: Day 1 – Um Qais to Ziglab (16 miles)

  1. Hadija March 6, 2017 at 1:51 am #

    Oh John. Hang in there! Well maybe this is what the Jordan Trail does is bless first days with rain and MUD! Mine was heavy rain and spectacular mud, just like what I’d been training in in UK. The GPS will get better as you fine tune when and how much to zoom in and out. You won’t get lost. I’m sure the flowrrs will bring you relief and am so happy you met so many shepherds. My respect for the shepherds and their lifestyle is boundless as being on the ground yourself you realise how tough is life but also special in our world today.

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