Sunday, January 27, 2013

Adventures in Desert Camping

Adventures where exactly, I'm still a little fuzzy on. It was the desert, and there were mountains. In Oman, I'm pretty sure. 
All pictures of any quality are courtesy of Outward Bound Oman 
Words like "Wahiba Sands" "Wadi Abyad" and "Desert" have been thrown around, and I was told that "Where exactly are we hiking?" was a "Great question, I'll get back to that," but no one ever really got back to it.

From what I've pieced together, we were around Wadi Abyad, or the Abyad Desert. Abyad means white in Arabic, but everything was distinctly tan-colored, so, more mysteries there I guess.  
I looked it up in a guide book when I got home, and  think we were here-ish
We spent two nights backpacking, a group of fourteen including the YES kids, Omani YES alums, and students from the Access program (another State Dept program that sponsors ESL classes all over Oman). We went with Outward Bound Oman, an organization that does hiking trips and wilderness learning-y events for schools, corporations and the like. So there were lots of trust exercises. 

Oman has so much crazy-awesome wilderness, the chance to get out and explore it was wonderful. Hiking up and down dunes was a new and challenging experience, as the ground basically swallows your foot every time you take a step. But our dunes were pretty beginner-sized and quite a bit of fun to slide down if you didn't mind getting sand in your everywhere. 
Stopping at the top of a dune to shake off the sand
The second day we stopped at the Wadi, which was possibly the most beautiful sight ever after kilometers of sweaty hiking. 

We also got pretty up close and personal with some camels that belonged to Bedouins who live in the area. 
Just chillin with the camel, nbd
I enjoyed most was getting to know the alumni and Access kids. Many of them were from outside Muscat and it's always interesting to hear about Oman from different perspectives. I learned some new Arabic words  (Claire, what's the Omani word for goa--HOSH it's hosh, I know this one!) and learned a bit more about life outside Muscat. I think what this trip and others have really driven home for me is how much there is about Oman I still don't know. After 5 months, I may feel like I've gotten my little Muscati bubble figured out, but I'm dying to experience life in the dakhlia (lit. the interior) of which I have no real firsthand knowledge. Inshallah, we'll see if I can convince anyone to send me there :) 


  1. Hannah, This sounds fantastic! Thank you for sharing the lovely photos and commentary!!!

  2. I'm so excited for you and your awesome adventures :) thank you sooooo much for sharing them with us!

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