28-Apr-2002 -- Desert rose and unexploded ordinance marked this day.
What a day of desert adventure! The Confluence is less then 10 km south of the al-Suways highway in a sometimes-used artillery range. The area lies in the bottom of a large plain with steep, imposing 1500+ meter escarpments both to the north and south. There is quite a bit of vegetation at the site as it lies within the wash of a wādiy. A spent rocket lies two meters to the south of the actual Confluence. Many exploded and unexploded (or dummy) shells and rockets litter the immediate area. We were very careful to stick to well driven tracks.
We managed to stretch our approach from the south into nearly 80 km of off road through the beautiful Eastern desert. Stopping at an unusual, unexplained rock pillar, at multiple caches/discard piles of desert snails (we are still investigating what creature makes the cache and eats the snail) and at numerous Desert Rose gardens.
We started from Cairo, heading East on the `Ayn sukhnā-Highway, and turned off-road about 20 km directly south of the Confluence. We calculated that we would reach the site within one and a half hours. The first two hours went well with many steep descents and rocky climbs through beautiful unspoiled Eastern desert. An additional two hours off-road put us on top of an imposing escarpment with the Confluence within view and less then 5 km away. It then took nearly three hours to backtrack, and then backtrack again to find our way out of the maze of canyons off the escarpment and into the large, plain that contains many Desert Rose gardens, rocket bodies and the al-Suways highway.