13-Apr-2009 -- This report is the second out of a series of four confluence visits. The story starts from 31N 36E.
During our trip from al-Karak to Wādiy Mūsā (this is where the famous ancient Nabataean town Petra can be found), we passed through the desert town Ma`ān. Here, we had originally planned on staying the night – but one hotel was closed and the other turned out to be a construction site (or call it a rubbish dump, you would be more precise). So, we decided to visit the Confluence which is 26 km from Ma`ān that afternoon and then move on to Wādiy Mūsā. We took the road signposted for 'Saudi Arabia, Yemen', and came as close as 6 km to the Confluence. In a curve we parked the car directly at the side of the road. While Elionora stayed in the car, I ran to the Confluence. For these relatively short distances I usually just take camera and GPS receiver with me. This way I can advance quickly, reach the Confluence, and return before getting thirsty or hungry. This visit was no exception. The gravel survace allowed quick progress. Only my shoes were too thin for running on rocky surfaces. Suddenly I noticed that I had stepped on a thorn, which had penetrated my shoe. In order to get rid off it (and the pain), I took the shoe off, the insole out and removed the thorn. Meanwhile – unfortunately – the strong wind had blown away the insole, which meant to run with even thinner shoes. However, after 40 minutes of running, I reached the CP that is located in a flood plain. I saw some tyre tracks nearby, a pile of stones with a bird in it (probably not a confluence cairn as it was about 30 m away). In a nearby wādiy, I noticed some bonsai stylish trees.
On my way back there is a little incident to be mentioned. While I was running and my concentration focussed on avoidance of stepping on sharp rocks, I did not realize that someone was following me. Only when they had caught up with me up to 20 m they started yelling at me. I turned around and saw two guys armed with a long rifle. They seemed to be very nervous – screamed loud in Arabic – still without breath from chasing me on foot. Their jeep was parked some 100 m away behind a dune. Even though I stood still and raised my hands, they fired a warning shot in the air. I said in Arabic that I don't speak Arabic. Actually, I wasn't afraid at all – probably I was too surprised to get a feeling of anxiousness. Their hands seemed to ask 'what the hell are you doing here?' Obviously running in the desert is something that rises suspicion and requires an explanation. I pointed towards the road (that was still 2 km away). They still kept on pointing the gun at me. Then, I showed my camera and said 'photo'. This seemed to be sufficient explanation and they suddenly calmed down, turned around and were almost as quickly gone as they had come. I dared to take a picture of them (without looking through the camera) and got one of the guys mugged on one corner of the picture. When I reached the car, I did not instantly tell Elionora about the little incident in order to avoid unnecessary worry. So we peacefully continued our trip to Wādiy Mūsā (Petra), where we stayed for the night.
CP visit details:
- Beeline distance from car parking: 5.8 km
- Walking time (incl. return): 1 h 30 min
- Time at the CP: 15:58 pm
- Measured height: 938 m
- Position accuracy at the CP: 3 m
- Minimal distance to the CP: 0 m
- Vegetation: small “bonsai” like trees, generally the flora is quite meagre.
- Distance to a road: 5.8 km
- Distance to a track: 5.8 km
- Distance to houses: 6.6 km
- Topography: generally flat, slight hills
- Weather: sunny, 25° C (felt temperature)
- Description of the CP: Located in the southern part of Jordan, in the desert in a little hollow.
- Given Name: The Warning Shot Confluence
Story continues at 32N 36E.