Wadi Dana – Valley of the Rising Sun

Jordan is a composite of valleys and gorges, gullies and canyons, gulches and sand. Dry, warm air is blown through every nook and cranny, a stark contrast from the moist, muggy air I’ve grown accustomed to breathing in the south of India the last two years.

In fact, the only real similarity between Kerala and Jordan in my mind is how different they are (if you have been to both and think they are birds of a feather, let’s agree to disagree) – particularly climatically. I took advantage of my enhanced ability to physically exert myself without rapidly dripping sweat as often as possible during my time at Feynan; I accompanied the guides on as many activities as possible, and also did a fair bit of hiking on my own.

One of my favorite (as well as most convenient) hikes was from Feynan up the first valley to the north-east: Wadi Dana. I spent at least 24 hours walking in this valley on my own – and probably nearly that long with guides and guests. It was a boon to watch the lodge’s Bedouin guides walking through the lands they grew up in, as well as learning about the area’s natural bounties from them; every hike yielded a treasury of information on goat udder infection remedies, headache alleviation; arthritis, diabetes, and chronic headache treatments – all sourced from plants that appear to an outsider’s eyes as weeds growing from the cracks in the mountain. I learned how to sanitize my hands with “Bedouin Soap”, how to find a decent snack when feeling peckish, and what type of branch to use to make a splint if one of your goats breaks its leg (although I wasn’t taught how to actually do so, I was in someone’s tent and watched it being done), as well as several other folk remedies and fixes based on native plant life. Continue reading