04-Apr-2004 -- We were on a 9-day trip to the northern area of the Kingdom and had come from the Ḥā'il area. We had already visited three other confluence points.
After visiting the confluence point 27N 40E we returned to the main Ḥā'il - al-`Ulā road and drove for an hour and refuelled at the al-Jaharā' junction with the Taymā' road. The small gas station was surprisingly well stocked. It even had ice for our coolers which pleased us as it is quite hard to get ice out of the main centres, especially when it is still not summer.
We left the road directly across from the gas station with 19 km to go in a straight line to the confluence point, which was near the big Jabal Bird that we could clearly see in the distance. The main tracks headed in a northeast direction across sandy plains, and there were many big camps with the black goat hair family tents, with the women out tending the goats. There were good pastures as there had been recent rain in the area and fresh grass made the sand appear green. As we turned more northerly there were less tracks with fewer camps and the sand got softer. To avoid becoming stuck, we let some air out of the tyres and wound our way over the small dunes.
As we got nearer the confluence point there was a lot more sandstone rock and nature sculptured outcrops with patches of soft sand. The actual point was in the middle of a flattish rock, which gave a bit of height for some good photos. As usual, we recorded our success by making a cross from a variety of smaller rocks gathered within a few steps. It was a very nice view in all directions of the various sandstone outcrops, and the huge Jabal Bird in the background. A very pleasant late afternoon with clear sunny skies area.
Not far away from the confluence point, we camped at the base of a large sand stone jabal near Jabal al-Bird. After a glorious sunset, and with a full moon, it was a very clear cool night with great stars, and we needed our thick Bedouin coats and plenty of firewood to keep warm - quite a contrast to camping 2 nights earlier in the ḥarrat near Ṭāba, which had been a very warm night. In the morning we found various good petroglyphs. In particular, we were very impressed by a drawing of a horse with a very fine simple style which we had not seen before - probably 2,500-4,000 years old, but it looked quite modern in style.
If time had permitted, it was an area that we could have stayed in for a few days exploring the various smaller jabals as well as the big one, and looking for more petroglyphs. On the way out we tried to go west direct to the paved road, but the sandstone rocks made it too difficult. So we turned on a south westerly route which improved as we got out of the sandstone and onto sand tracks which led to a small village (no name on the maps) which was approximately 12 km north of the junction on the Taymā' road.
Continued at 28N 38E.