30-Apr-2005 -- Having determined which way was up and which was down while visiting 26N 32E, we headed to 25N 32E. We went back to the Luxor-Kharga road and turned southwest. We carried on for 20 km or so until the road turned west. We stopped for a quick lunch and then headed south across gravel plain that was really good driving. Less than half an hour and 25 km later, we were on the point. Not much to say about the point, rolling gravel in each direction. No chance of spotting any errors in the four cardinal photographs at this Confluence.
Not satisfied with taking the easy road out and down the scarp via the blacktop, we headed east aiming for the head of a wādiy that I hoped would let us descend into the Nile valley. This is where the trip got interesting, we hit well defined wādiys about 5 km before the point I was aiming for and we were forced to follow one of them out. It got steeper as we progressed and more scenic. There were remarkably soft spots of sandy gravel in the bottom that required us to drop our tyre pressures. Then we started encountering sand drifts and plugs across the wādiy that added to the challenge. Generally, there were relatively easy climbs with steeper fall-offs to get down.
We then came to a large plug that was going to a challenge. The wādiy rubble prevented a straight run at it with any speed, so it was run along the base of the dune and turn up at speed at the edge of the dune and a quick change down into first to get me over the top. Sa`d who was following with Khayruddin was not so confident, bottled out and got stuck. After a lot of digging in a very hot wādiy bottom we got him out and Khayruddin dodged the hole we had dug and got it up. We were quite relieved, as we were not sure if we could have gone back up the wādiy against the slipfaces.
By this stage the scenery was lovely and epitomised the enjoyment of confluence hunting, going to naturally wonderful places you would not normally plan to visit. We crossed a few more relatively easy sand plugs before we reached the last, a knife-edge dune across the whole wādiy with no easy route. So it was pick the smoothest route to get maximum speed, gun it and judge it to just get enough speed to get you over without slamming down on the other side. Never an easy manoeuvre and I backed off a little too early and ended up straddled across the dune crest.
Never mind, Khayruddin has watched my mistake, he can improve, get over, and pull me off, I thought. He did do a little better, but only just and we ended up with both vehicles grounded, side-by-side on the crest of the dune. So it was out with the shovels, which is not easy when your back bumper is neck high! It was not so hot here as the wind was blowing a little making sure we got more than our fair share of sand blowing off the crest filling our faces and orifices with sand. Half an hour later we were both off and it was a wādiy bounce-out to the west bank of the Nile. This is a very scenic but narrow difficult road to drive, especially at dusk, but we made it and it was back to the hotel for a couple of showers to get all the sand out.
Continued at 24N 33E.