Walk on the Wild Side

We spent time in two of Jordan’s nature reserves — Dana Nature Reserve and Wadi Rum.  Both were spectacular, and furthered our affection for this great country.  I tell you, the wonders of this country are beyond what we ever expected.  This blog will cover Dana, and a later blog will cover Wadi Rum.

Dana, Jordan 283 Dana lies about an hour and one half south of Amman, and we stopped there en route to Petra.  Our original itinerary didn’t include Dana, but we leaped at the chance to hike in a park, and were glad we did.  The park is set up a little oddly, in that you park at the visitor center, and wait for a park ranger to accompany you on a shuttle bus down to the hiking departure area.  We definitely drew the short straw on the guide front, and got someone who didn’t seem to have a clue about what was up at the park.  So we knew we were on our own, sort of. 

Dana, Jordan 293 We ended up hiking with the park’s guide (clueless), our A&K guide (who was equally uninformed) and — for some reason — our driver, who seemed to field a steady stream of cell phone calls, and yak away in a very loud voice, either on the phone or to the other guides.  Subtle suggestions that we wanted a little peace and quiet in the park didn’t yield results, so we finally told them they either needed to be quiet or go back on their own.  When we arrived, the prior group was meeting their naturalist, who seemed on the ball, so it probably pays to try to line up the right naturalist in advance.

Amman by Gibson 218 Our hike got off with a big shock — Gibson turned over a rock, and turned up a Death-stalker Scorpion, among the most poisonous in the world.  Gibson got down low (probably way too low!) and took some extraordinary photos of the Death-stalker.  It sounds and even looks like a character from Star Wars, and we were thrilled to see it.  That said, we all recognized that we’d be camping out in a couple of nights in Wadi Rum, and hoped that this would be our last scorpion encounter!

Dana, Jordan 339 The rock formations in Dana were quite interesting, reminding me a bit of some of the great U.S. parks in Utah.  The colors were brilliant reds and oranges, with intricate patterns from erosion over the years.  Our trusty guide at one point informed us that, “These are rocks,” which definitely raised our understanding to a higher level.

Dana, Jordan 298 Mid-way through the hike, Sterling called out that she had sighted a Nubian Ibex, an endangered species.  This was quite a sighting, and we got great views down through the canyon for ten minutes or so.  at about minute nine, our guides figured out where it was, and agreed with identification.  They went on to say how lucky we were to see it, since they had been in the park many times and never seen an Ibex.  Big surprise there :-) .

We got some great Dana photos, which you can feel free to check out.

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