Wadi Shah… My first complete trek…

You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going – Marie Forleo

This is the prequel of the treks I have written so far, could say my first serious one. I get to know about Wadi Shah from my friend, I met in Dubai. He is a pro trekker who frequently organise trekking trips across India. Before I met him, I have never been to trekking at all. He was in Dubai, on visit, desperate to go for trekking as there is quite few options available in UAE, which is difficult to go and come back if you don’t have a car. We were in touch and we try to explore Wadi Shah with a thread from internet. Wadi Shah is in Ras Al Khaimah on the way to Jebel Jais. It’s a round trip (loop). It was difficult to get to the starting point since the map was directing us here and there since there was no proper road to the starting point. After some time, somehow we figure out the starting point. The network signal was not strong enough for internet so the map was not functioning well. We figure out the route around 3 O clock and we explored the route for two hours to reach a dead end. But the route was really scenic with many dry waterfalls welcoming us. When I came back and check the GPS location of the images taken, I realised that, we took wrong turn.

We went there one more time after a failed attempt for Stairway to Heaven due to rain (I did Stairway to Heaven later). We reached there in the afternoon. We follow the route properly for more than 3 hours only to find out that we covered only less than 20% of the route (by checking the co ordinates later). Wadi Shah route is a round trip around 15km. It was raining as well, so we turned back before getting dark. I keep on searching for more details of the route, couldn’t find much information. Finally I found a trail in Wikiloc.com and I downloaded the GPS path to the mobile.

01-Wadi-Shah-Starting-Point
Starting point, you might see people playing drums and camping here
00-Wadi-Shah-different-routre (2)
Dry waterfall on the wrong route….
00-Wadi-Shah-different-routre
Dead end on the wrong route, But totally worth it!!!

On a random Saturday, something took me there in the afternoon and I start to follow the dream (the map really). I have no idea what was lying ahead after a few kilometers. There was nothing other than a few goats and birds which scared me from nowhere as I was moving in absolute silence. The sound of flying birds and running goats hallucinate me. I feel like someone is walking around me. Then slowly, I became comfortable with those sounds of nature. 40% of the journey was uphill via valley, so that I did not deviate from the path as there is no other trail to get lost. Then I saw parts of a village, looked like abandoned or unoccupied for long on the way. At the end of the valley, there was no clear path ahead. Eventually, I end up in in a place surrounded by huge rocks, realised that I am lost. Then I checked the map and came to know that I deviated from the trail around 500 meters. So I turned back, figure out how to follow the map, with my wrist watch compass for direction(Till then I was just walking with wild guess and fortunately I was on right track ). After sometime, I was able to get back to the track and follow the path (trial and error method).

04-Wadi-Shah-Starting-Desert-Flower
The little things aren’t always little….
06-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Tree
In the middle of emptiness…. Ideal place for meditation
08-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Rock-Caves
Burial place or Place to keep something safe from wild (I didn’t see any ghost over there)
09-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Mountain
Hallucinating, Valley to nowhere with nobody!!!
10-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Valley
Not really recommended as I spotted some snakes later….
06-Wadi-Shah-Trail
Warning!!! Not for fainthearted…

The village was interesting. The houses in the villages were similar and basic. All the houses are locked or closed to get rid of goats, but a human can easily get in. There were many big water containers, but I didn’t have time to check whether they are empty. Later I realised that those containers are filled with rain water during the rainy season and store it for the whole year(Water is not transported from outside). I passed the village to reach an empty area. I feel like I was walking through a silent graveyard. The unexpected sounds became familiar to me. I start to realise which is what, whether its a moving goat or a flying bird. There was some bones of random animals scattered around, mostly goats I guess. After some time I reached the highest point of my trek. The sun was about to set giving the mountain a golden glow. I couldn’t really enjoy the view for long since I was running out of time. I was not confidant enough to go back in the same way and I was running out of water.

14-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Village
Villages after going up the valley
16-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Village-1
Entrance to one of the houses in the village
17-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Village (2)
Ignore this fellow…
18-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Way
Follow the goat shit…. if you are really lost….
19-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Ground
Play ground, big enough to play football!!!!
21-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Goat-Danger
RIP dude…
20-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Top
Highest point, epic, scenic, whatever…

After passing the village and flat trail, I tried to cut short the trail, but in order to work that out I would have to get down 100 meters straight downwards over the rocks, which is not possible with out some gear and mountaineering experience. I lost around half an hour to find the shortcut and then get back to the trail. I was really surprised to see a small farm over there (or something like a farm). It was not visible till I reach there because of the geometry. There was some donkeys and goats over there. On the way I saw a snake, make sure its alive by using a stone with out hurting it of course.

22-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Farm-Snake
Snake near the farm… Very much alive!!!

There I met two guys who take care of the farm. They speak Hindi. I got some idea about the place from them. They offered me tea and dates, but I was running out of time. They saw me earlier going in wrong way, they called me, but I didn’t hear (may be I ignore it as a hallucination). Its 2-3 hours downhill trail to reach back to the road if you know the way. Donkeys are used to transport the items they need to that place. They warned me, suggested me not to go down in the dark. They try to scare me by telling the story of helicopter evacuation to rescue the stranded trekkers and a foreigner who spent whole night since he cannot figure out the way down and they helped him in the morning to get back. They told me I can stay in their place at night. But I said it’s Saturday and Sunday I have to go to work. I asked them whether they can accompany me and  I offered them 50 dirhams (UAE currency), but they want more. I don’t want to bargain and it was getting dark, so I have to start walking(Around 6PM). I was not sure whether I can make it, so I told them, if I am stuck I will come back for your help(that was my backup plan). They were quite sure that I am not going to make it.

After sometime, it was completely dark. Those guys were coming behind me far yelling that is not the way and asking whether they should accompany me. When I hear them saying I was on wrong path, I tried an alternate path. But soon I realised that I was on the right path, so I came back to the trail from the alternate path. I was on trail in absolute darkness for an hour. I have to pull out the torch as mobile flashlight has nothing to do as darkness get darker. They were like 500 meters behind me asking whether they should accompany me. Since I was advancing as per the map, I got a wild confidence from somewhere, I told them I can make it with out their help. Still they try to scare me with the helicopter story, but I didn’t buy it.

23-Wadi-Shah-Trail-Descent-Dark
Running out of time as well as light!!!! Save my soul!!!

So I continue downhill through the valley. The trail got harder and many sharp rocks start to appear on the way. Goats were really helpful (donkeys as well). They shit on the trail, so I followed goat shit whenever the trail ahead is ambiguous. Goats were right, otherwise I won’t be able to comeback before sunrise. I saw some lizards in between the rocks, but no snakes luckily. Every 10 minutes, I make sure I am on track by checking my position on the map(I don’t have time to get lost again). I was able to see the road from far after one hour. Till then I was not sure that I can make it. I drink water from a big tank on the way as I finished my last drop of water two hours ago and it might take another two hours to reach the car (I was not sure how hygienic the water was, the water might be stored for the camels. I learned another lesson!). I reached near my car after 9 O clock, took off my trekking shoes and set the destination in GPS. GPS says 275km to home,…. 3 hours drive….

I recorded my trail with Wikiloc app and I didn’t add photos to the trail(thinking I will add them later). The map is not perfect as I deviate from the path may times. The spikes outwards means I was lost. I planned to go there for more photos and better map, but didn’t really work out so far. Click here for Wikiloc log

 

Wadi-Shah-MAP-Log
Trial and error to find the route, so the map is zigzag…

 

 

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