From Um Qais to Wadi Hidan
Amber Stowell’s 4 Week Journal (Week 3)
Amber’s third journal is chalk full with adventures throughout Jordan. Check out Amber’s third week below:
On Friday afternoon, with a group of about 10 people, I learned how to make some traditional cookies in a local woman’s home in Um Qais. We all helped in shaping what looked like mini donuts with date filling. After making at least a hundred cookies, we left to go on a short hike while they baked and dinner was being prepared. We ended up walking through a Hellenistic-Roman ruin, much like Jaresh but smaller and less well-known. We continued on a trail on the side of a large hill through almond trees, farmland and goat herds. Then we arrived at the top which offered a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee and The Jordan Valley. Our group enjoyed the view, drinking tea and eating dates while the sky grew more colorful as the sun set over the hills.
Just as the sun disappeared over the horizon, we got on our bus that conveniently met us at the top. We returned to the local woman’s house and were greeted with several platters of delicious food. We all quickly sat down on the floor cushions to enjoy our fill of rice, chicken, plenty other dishes I’m not familiar with, and of course the cookies we made earlier. This trip was relaxing compared to the others I’ve been on, and while I do love a rigorous adventure, it was nice to wind down and focus on just enjoying the view and the new people I had met.
We got back from Um Qais pretty late and I was debating on whether or not I would have the energy to go on a early morning hike to Wadi Hidan the following day. Knowing I wouldn’t get much sleep, I decided to go anyway because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. I’m so thankful that I pushed through the early morning tiredness because this might have been my favorite trip so far this month.
Wadi Hidan was so much more than I imagined; it seemed like an oasis in the desert to me. We began a short descent into the Wadi and were soon greeted with the first of many freshwater pools. The water felt perfectly cool, not too cold, and I was so excited to swim after so many hot days spent in Jordan! We continued our hike and stopped frequently to enjoy the pools, have a splash war, or try to catch a frog.
We also got to go down a terrifying natural rock waterslide, but it was much more fun than I had initially expected. We savored the last pool as much as we could. I spent most of the time jumping from a small cliff, about a 15 foot fall into the water. Sadly we had to leave the Wadi and hike back up the valley, but by that time we were eager to eat the lunch prepared for us at the top.