Winter Desert Weekend, Part 2

The next morning by the time Kelly and I got out of bed, the boys had headed out to take some sunrise photos. To stay warm in the morning chill we walked around the desert near the campground.

Whitehouse Campground

Whitehouse Campground

Whitehouse campground

Eventually we headed back to camp just as the boys were returning. They’d hiked up a trail to the “Toadstools” and insisted that we check them out as we headed out of town. We said our goodbyes since they were headed back to SLC via Zion and we were continuing the desert adventure.

I’m so glad we took their advice. It was less than a mile up to the toadstools and it’s always fun to see unique desert formations:

Toadstools, Kanab, Utah

Toadstools Trail

Toadstools Trail

Toadstools Trail

Toadstools Trail

As we approached Kayenta, we stopped at a flea market where I could not resist an Indian taco. I’d been craving one for weeks and I intended to make the most of the trip through the reservation:

Navajo Taco

From Kayenta, we cut north on US-163 through Monument Valley. We stopped to take a picture of this goat and then the following rez dog did NOT want to let us get going again.

Rez Dog

Seriously, we played the “He’s in front of the car. … He’s next to the window! Go! Go! … Oh wait, he’s in front again” game for a long time. SO MUCH LAUGHTER.

Goat

We continued north through Mexican Hat and headed on to Goosenecks State Park. We enjoyed a nice walk along the canyon rim before heading out for free camping on BLM land adjacent to the State Park. I’ve camped at the park before and it can be spectacular but I didn’t feel like paying the $10 and as it turned out we found a spot that was also super amazing as you will see.

Sprocket at Goosenecks

Goosenecks Selfie, Beth

Goosenecks State Park

Here is our campsite for the night. It wasn’t the edge of the canyon but the sunset on the mesa behind camp combined with the silhouettes of Monument Valley in the distance were really tough to beat—especially for free.

Mule Point

Mule Point

Teton Sports

Sprocket and Monument Valley

We tried to sit on the tailgate of the car with our beers but it was too cold so Kelly and I retreated to the front seats of her car to escape the cold, shared a few beers and talked for a long time about anything and everything. Finally, Sprocket and I headed to bed. I was too cozy in my TurboDown to share so I gave him my Millenium Blur. He was happier about it than he looks. I promise.

Sprocket in Millenium Flash jacket

#TryingStuffInJordan, Part 3

Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my #TryingStuffInJordan adventure!

Day 7

After breakfast, we headed south from Petra and soon found ourselves in Wadi Rum loading into trucks for another 4×4 adventure. As we headed out into the desert, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to the American Southwest. It all looked so familiar and so different all at the same time. After we looked at some awesome petroglyphs (seriously, they were petroglyphs with camels), we stopped at tent for some Bedouin tea. Before we sat down to tea, however, Mohammed told us that everything was harder in the desert and that we should run up a near by sand dune so that we’d understand. A handful of us lined up to run the dune. I certainly knew that running a dune wasn’t easy but I was going to give it a shot. Ow.

Photo Courtesy TheActiveExplorer.com
Photo Courtesy TheActiveExplorer.com

Wadi Rum

We stopped for lunch and were given two options for the afternoon: we could either go on a scramble to a rock arch or ride to a longer arch with less of a climb. I opted to join the scrambling group. Our guide lead us swiftly up the mountain to a gorgeous rock arch. After our hike we drove to a camp in the middle of the desert. We spent the remainder of the evening scrambling to the tops of rocks for sunset and bidding Heather adieu. (She was headed off to Bali for a friends wedding!) We capped off the night with a delicious dinner and some dancing with the Bedouins around the campfire. Some of us went for a moonlight walk and then slept under the stars.

Bedouin camp

Wadi Rum Sunset

Captains Camp Wadi Rum

Day 8

First thing in the morning, we loaded our stuff back into the trucks. The #omniten, however, hopped on to camels for a ride back to breakfast and the bus. I must admit that riding a camel wasn’t the most comfortable experience but it was one that I would not pass up when in Wadi Rum.

Camel

Wadi Rum camels

From Wadi Rum, we drove to Aqaba where we immediately boarded a boat for some water fun on the Red Sea. After jumping off the boat some of us did some snorkeling over the reef. It was really nice to be out on the salt water enjoying the sunshine! After dinner, it was time to say goodbye to Seth’s beard. Mohammed, our guide, took us to a barbershop where Seth (plus a few others) got their hair trimmed.

Boat time

Beth

Jordanian Flag

Day 9

After breakfast, we started our day with a drive from Aqaba up to the Dead Sea. After glimpsing it earlier in the trip, we finally got a chance to stand at the lowest point on earth: -1,400′ below sea level! We floated in the sea and basked in the sunshine.

Mariott Dead Sea pool

Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo @Calebfarro
Photo Caleb Farro

Day 10

After having floated in the Dead Sea I was out of ideas on what there was to do in Jordan! As we should have expected, Columbia and the Jordan Tourism Board had one more awesome adventure cooked up for us: canyoneering in Wadi Muijb. Although the water was just a little bit chilly it was a blast to float the water, scramble up waterfalls, and enjoy the big waterfall at the end.

Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo courtesy Seth Yates
Photo courtesy Seth Yates

Day 11

After all the fun of the previous ten days, it was time to head back to the airport in Amman. The thirteen hour flight to Chicago seemed longer than the flight to Jordan, mainly because I didn’t sleep on the flight. It was sad saying goodbye to everyone in Chicago: my favorite part of both of my Columbia trips has been getting to adventure with so many awesome people. I miss you all!

Photo courtesy Caleb Farro
Photo courtesy Caleb Farro

Thanks so much to Columbia Sportswear for another amazing #omniten opportunity. Thanks also to the Jordan Tourism Board for your hospitality!

New Mexico Scenery

After our antler hunting adventures, it was time to press on north towards Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The open spaces of New Mexico are so appealing and I snapped lots of photos along the way!

New Mexico Scenery

New Mexico Scenery

New Mexico Scenery

Distant hills

We parked alongside the road and checked out the lava at El Malpais National Monument. I would love to come back to this area and drive the Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway and do some hiking and caving in the National Monument.

Lava, el malpais national monument

Lava

F on lava

Lava

Then just north of where we stopped is an area called “The Narrows” and the scenery got spectacular.

Rocks at El Malpais

Rock Formations

New Mexico Scenery

Rock Formations

Oh New Mexico. You deserve more of my attention. Someday.

New Mexico Mountains