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Hiking to and thru Petra


brian_rudolph
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brian_rudolph

So, about two years ago I stumbled across a National Geographic Adventure article called Petra – In Through the Back Door, which got me interested in this as a destination. I ultimately found the guide who led the NG group and signed up for the trip for 2012, but had to cancel. I re-booked for November 2013 and made it this time.

The trip started with arrival in Amman, Jordan. My group was four Brits who also met in Amman, and four other Americans who met us at the start of the hike the next night. After a night in Amman, we drove to the Dead Sea and then on to the Fenan Ecolodge in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, south of the Dead Sea. We met the rest of the group and spent the night there and started our trek the next day.

So, the total trek was five days from the lodge to get to Petra, a total of about fifty miles. Unfortunately my group was kind of slow, but it did give me plenty of time to take picture. Yamaan, the guide, developed this trail going through the desert and mountains on trails (which often weren’t visible through the rock fields). He runs his own company (AdventureJordan.com) and guides the trips either supported or unsupported. I did a supported trip and his crew of five guys shuttled our gear and set up a tent we all ate and slept in. His crew had tea ready when we got to camp and dinner soon followed. We had hot breakfast in the mornings and huge bag lunches. I can’t say enough about the guide – he was awesome covering logistical details and pointing historical and geological things out along the way.

The first day was mostly flat going across the bottom of the mountains to the camp at the base of the mountains. Our second day was pretty short in distance, but a 2,500 foot climb in the morning. The climb gave pretty amazing views over the valley we hiked out of. The next day was the longest hiking day hiking through the mountains. The views were great, going around some pretty tight trails and ledges and passing through a few springs that were really cool oasis spots in the middle of the desert. The next day we hiked into Little Petra and stayed at a fixed camp. Little Petra had about a dozen carved facades. Up until we were hiking into the valley where Little Petra is, we’d seen one other hiking group and four local kids with herds of goats and sheep since leaving the lodge.

The fixed camp was good - a hot shower and some great food. The next morning we left there for our last hike to get to Petra. This was another cool stretch walking on a ledge over a canyon and then arriving at the back side of Petra. I’d seen a few pictures from Petra before – mainly the Treasury building which is the most prominent. The sheer size of the site was amazing – we came in the back at the top of the hill where the second most prominent building, the Monastery, is. There are over 700 steps carved into the hill to hike down from there to the main area. It took hours to walk across from the Monastery to the Treasury, visiting spots as we went. After visiting the Treasury, we hiked the mile or so out of the site to the town where we stayed in a hotel for the night. The next day hiked back into the Treasury and then up to the High Place of Sacrifice and around another side of the site where very few people were.

The trek to get to Petra was amazing on its own – then you get to Petra and he sheer scale of it is breathtaking. Again – Yamaan was an awesome guide. His crew, the camp and the food throughout was great too.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Great pictures Brian, definitely looks like a unique hike and interesting experience.

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