01-Jan-2007 -- After completing 19N 52E, we spent Hogmany and celebrated New Year in Ṣalāla. We set off on Monday, 1st January towards Muġsayl and a spectacular winding road that takes you from sea level to 600 m+ in a short distance. Soon we encountered a military checkpoint, who wanted to know where we were going. After checking our passports and car documents, we were soon on our way.
Once passed Arift we headed north, still on sealed road, passing several eagles that were sitting by the side of the road. We then left smooth road for gatch (unsealed road) and headed west towards Yemen, with two stops, one for lunch and also for the dogs to do their business, and another to admire a spectacular wādiy, that we later descended into and crossed climbing once again up onto the other side.
Eventually we reached another military checkpoint, however it was not blocking our way into the wādiy and we now entered the final several kilometres. Going was easy at first with well-established tracks, but soon we were travelling at a slow pace and frequently checking the route by foot first, then we met Sulaymān, the Wāliy of the wādiy. Sulaymān jumped into Mike's Land Cruiser and guided us to a point where we could travel no further and only about 2.65 km from the Confluence point.
We had left Ṣalāla at 10:00 a.m. and it was now after 3:00 p.m. We had a maximum of 3 hours daylight left. Our plan was to do this confluence point as a day trip, and return to Ṣalāla. My wife SC and and daughter Yanni had flown down from Dubayy to join us for New Year and this particular journey, their return flight was the following day. Additionally, Mike was planning to drive Be's Pathfinder with a broken front suspension to Nizwā, leaving at 6:00 a.m. the following morning at a slow pace of 80 km/h, so a decision was made that Mike would drive SC and Yanni back to Ṣalāla, and the rest of us would camp in the wādiy.
Fortunately we had plenty of food and our vehicles (Land Rover Discovery, Nissan Patrol, and Toyota Fortuner) had not been fully unloaded at the hotel in Ṣalāla. We had a pleasant evening, feasting in a moonlit wādiy and the following morning in a cool 11°C we set off at 7:30 a.m.
Initially the going was easy, then some mild climbing before we reached the top of one plateau where we spotted a large gazelle, which soon ran off. It was easier going, and we soon reached within 300 meters of the confluence point, which was on the other side of the wādiy. We descended into the wādiy and ascended the other side relatively easy, where we found the confluence point and a pile of stones, somebody had been here before but nothing had been posted on the site when we left Dubayy on 27 December.
It had taken us 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the point on foot, so we had a break with some energy bars, biscuits and water before returning back to our vehicles, which were 3.6 km away (in a straight line). Once back in our vehicles we returned to the end of the wādiy and three hours later we were back in Ṣalāla.