Sand leapt from the floor of the desert like crashing waves as we sped through Wadi Rum and left behind a whirling path of tyre tracks. The ride was full of wind and haze. The faster we drove the hazier it got, and the line between desert and sky merged into one almost invisible horizon.
The desert seemed to have swept the land bare of any people and life. The sight of a tuft of grass sprouting from the sand was surprising, and the sight of a tree brought suspicion. It looked out of place, and its green vibrancy contradicted the hostile heat of the sun; I questioned whether it may be a mirage but I learned there was a spring nearby and felt a little silly. “Silliness brings delirium” I muttered to myself before replenishing my droughty mind with water to my lips.
We drove into stretches of shadow created by huge canyons – the taller they rose towards the sky the more their shadow claimed of the desert, and the happier I was to dwell in the shade. I tried to imagine what it would be like to work under such heat, but couldn’t; the relentless British weather of rain and wind was far too deeply grained into my consciousness.
We let our imaginations take over. As far as the eye could see lay vast, seemingly unchartered land. As we sped through the desert at speeds of over 60mph on the back of an old, battered Jeep, clinging on for dear life, the nostalgic memories of repeated childhood viewings of Indiana Jones, Jewel of the Nile, Star Wars and The Land That Time Forgot became a reality. ‘So these places really do exist!’ I thought to myself, trying to gain a grip on reality, and put into perspective how lucky I was to be experiencing something as awe-inspiring as this. This baron, alien landscape was the land of dreams I wasn’t going to wake up from.
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher ~ William Wordsworth
At times our driver came to a halt and we stepped off onto the sand, stained in hues of rich oranges and red, and enjoyed the landscape at a slower more intimate pace; rolling down sand dunes and lying flat with my arms and legs spread out like a star as though surrendering my body to the sky.
Then we explored the space between Khazali canyon, climbing into spaces and ridges to reach Petroglyphs etched into the rose coloured walls over 4000 years ago.
Heading towards Khazali Canyon that homes Nabatean rock carvings created over 4000 years ago.
Petroglyphs in Khazali Canyon at Wadi Rum.
I could have been there for days spread out like a washed up starfish but alas there was more to see of this wondrous landscape so we climbed back in the jeep. Grains of sand had made its way into my hair and rubbed between my toes – I removed my pumps and turned them upside down and a stream of sand poured back onto the desert floor.
>We continued on, driving past the Seven Pillars of Wisdom made famous by D.H. Lawrence, and bumped up and down to the natural waves of the desert until we approached the side of a mountain, slowly emerging from underneath the cliff face were black rectangular objects, and as we came nearer and nearer, we soon realised that they were our cabins for the night.