Cycling to the lowest place on earth

I stood at the top of the trail and pondered pedaling down into the valley. Something inside me wanted to turn back and said that it was a bad idea, I ignored and held the brakes on a long rough trail into the Dana Biosphere…

Locals on the trail to Feynan village, Central Jordan.

Locals on the trail to Feynan village, Central Jordan.

I sat at the top of the trail for close to an hour, where I finally decided to pedal into the valley.

I sat at the top of the trail for close to an hour, where I finally decided to pedal into the valley.

I left Petra and picked up supplies to give to the local Bedouin in the remote village of Feynan. During my last day in Petra I met a man who had visited the village earlier and had mentioned the poverty and poor living conditions of the Bedouin there. School note books, several dozen pencils, 4 kg of sugar, black tea, lighters and bread filled my already stuffed panniers, and I pedaled a long steep 60 km to the historic village of Dana. From Dana it is a 30 km hike on a steep trail down into and out of a protected reserve, and spent close to an hour contemplating my next move. If I take Gaby down into the valley there is no turning back, I watched the sun move behind rain clouds and freewheeled into the canyon….here we go I thought.

Rough segments on the trail to Feynan village

Rough segments on the trail to Feynan village

After a few km, I was about ready to give up. The road, a parts, was so steep and rocky that it was too dangerous to ride and I had get off the bike and push. I looked back to the top of the mountain and wondered if I should turn back. I decided to call it a day and slept a few km from the trail head, listening to the howl of Jordanian wolves throughout the night. Local Bedouin had warned me earlier not to camp in the canyon, but I ignored their warnings as I thought it was an attempt to sell me a hotel room. All night I head the wolves hunting and I shivered at the thought of them finding my tent. I awoke the next morning to the sight of goats eating my prayer flags strung across the top tube of Gaby. After a few cups of Bedouin sweet tea I decided to push on and had a long hard day pedaling through rivers, up rocky trails and on sandy roads leading into narrow canyons, finally I arrived at the remote village of Feynan.

The trail went up steep mountains, down cliffs and through muddy wetlands

The trail went up steep mountains, down cliffs and through muddy wetlands

I stopped for tea, and ended up dressing several of the inhabitants fly infested, pus filled, flesh wounds with my first aid kit. I didn’t have any gloves and after about an hour my complete kit was empty, the locals had used all my bandages, antibiotic ointment and alcohol wipes! I dressed a total of 5 wounds then was offered a place to stay and served sweet tea with fresh goat milk. Outside the village I met a Bedouin man who worked for the school department, he invited me for more tea and I gave him all the school supplies to distribute in need. He offered me a place to camp and I slept easily in the warm spring night, dreaming of infected wounds.

I was definitely rocked out upon arriving at the village

I was definitely rocked out upon arriving at the village

The next day I pedaled north to a small village south of the Dead Sea called Al Mazara. There I met with a friend from Dahab, Egypt and we loaded up on supplies and hitched to a nearby Wadi for an adventure. We hiked through the Wadi (canyon) for several hours and found a nice sandy spot to camp. We gathered wood, built a fire and swam in the river till nightfall. Telling stories, eating humus and drinking tea till late evening. Rain came by surprise and soaked my tent and our sleeping bags but the night was warm and the good vibes continued on.

Wadi Numera, canyon leads to the Dead Sea

Wadi Numera, a long hike in the canyon leads to the Dead Sea

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The canyon was so narrow in certain areas that sometimes I had the impression I was in a cave.

Today we hiked out of the canyon and tomorrow I am headed explore more of the Dead Sea.

12 thoughts on “Cycling to the lowest place on earth

  1. Yay … Julien … NO WORRIES … Yay …!!!! U made it to the HIGH PLACE and now to the low place … Wow!!! as above so below … here we go!!! sending aloha and galloping horses for the new year!!! love and peace … jeff

  2. Hi Julian glad you are doing ok. It is spring here and we finally got a little rain and the foothills are turning green. My daffodils are blooming. There is finally a little snow pack and today I could see the Sierras. Stay safe and trust your intuition. Carla

  3. Dear Julian, I follow your story with awe. Bless you my boy! All is well here, it will soon be time to go to the cabin. Take good care of yourself. Love, Grandfather Todd

    • Grandfather!! Good to hear from you! Thanks for following me along the road, I miss the cabin and family! Last night I slept in forest that seemed similar in some respects to camp sierra. It may be a few years till I make it back to the pot holes but there is so many new things and experiences to be had before then!

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