A cool, gentle breeze revitalizes me as I lay on my back gazing at the heavens. The solitude and pureness of the desert is almost as incomprehensible as its peacefulness and tranquility. As the moon rises, illuminating and giving depth to the towering sandstone cliffs which surround me, their enormity threatens to engulf me.
It’s been almost a week since I finished the Jordan Trail and now I’m hanging out in Amman waiting for my flight back to the States. This has given me plenty of time for my experiences to really sink in and for me to reflect on them. There are many highlights and fortunately no negative experiences that are important enough to recall.
The hotel I’m staying in has certainly given me a yearning to be sleeping under the stars back in the desert. In my little room I feel boxed in with four short walls and a low ceiling. The horns, sirens, people, and calls to prayer seem to go on all night long. Guests in the hotel love to have the TVs blaring well into the night as they seem to continually carry on conversations like they were having a party in an old folks home where hearing aids are prohibited. This noisy hotel may very well bias me, but the desert solitude was certainly one of the most memorable highlights of the hike.
Embedded deep in my memory is the unforgettable time I spent with the Bedouins. They are gentle people whose simple but harsh life in the desert has made them a truly unique people. With a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eyes, I can’t remember a time when they didn’t invite me into their world. Even with the little Arabic I know we shared countless genuine laughs, talked about our families, and discussed our livelihood while we sat in their tents drinking tea.
My experience with these wonderful people and the time I spent in the desert wilderness greatly overshadowed the original reasons I chose this adventure: my love of backpacking and hiking in spectacular scenery. When I leave Jordan part of it will remain with me forever.
You can find all my journal entries from hiking the Jordan Trail here: Jordan Trail