We got up early this morning to pack all of our things and get into the bus at 0700. We had a two and a half hour drive to Dana to get to the start of our hike. With us we have Brittany from the US, Étienne from France, Scott from the UK, Juli from Germany (but living in Amman now, and works for the company doing the tour), and our guide Jawad.
We started out at 1600 meters ASL at some lodges in the Dana Biosphere Reserve. From there we hiked down, down, down into the valley. The area had a lot of rain two days before (which unfortunately resulted in some fatalities when a school bus was run off the road, the country is in a bit of shock over that), so there was a tiny bit of mud still, but easy to avoid.
Once in the valley we walked on the dry riverbed. The dried mud was created a very hard surface, so easy to walk on. Jawad mentioned that they only do that if there is no chance of rain, if it is even sprinkling a little bit, they stay on the higher trails due to the risk of flash floods.
Throughout the day we have walked through many different landscapes, from rocky hills to flat expanses, to some quite green areas along the river. There are many places to stop along the way for a break in the shade.
About a half hour before we got to camp we stopped at an Eco Lodge where we had some tea. It was a beautiful building, and really blurred the line between inside and outside. For instance, in the bathroom most of it is covered, but there is an uncovered section with trees that lets in a nice breeze. The lodge also does a lot of programs in the area to support the local population, and the local ecology.
We got to camp at Wadi Ghweir, where the tents were already set up for us, and tea was waiting. Four of us hiked up a nearby hill to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, through the haze there was no real colour change, but it was fun nonetheless.
After the sunset we had dinner, which was delicious, and then sat around a bit watching the stars. It has cooled off a bit, but the wind is still warm, and quite pleasant. We are now in the tent going to sleep. Tomorrow we start early again for a long day, this time mostly climbing.