Sunday, 12 April 2009

Fujairah Rocks... real rocks....

Went on mega hike in Fujairah mountains at the weekend. We had been talking about doing this for ages but the friend with the car had been too busy. He finally had a free weekend so we all got up ridiculously early for a Friday and headed out from Sharjah on an almost empty road. Somewhere between Masafi and Fujairah we pulled off the road, parked up, stuffed 4 litres of water in each of our backpacks and got walking.

We started on a dry river bed and then went up and up and up. All the potential paths up are essentially water runs and as you get higher you can see exactly where all the different streams come down. Easy to see how sudden heavy rainfall could cause flash floods and make it a very dangerous place to be. We were really lucky with the weather. It was perfect for hiking. Overcast enough to block out the worst of the sun but not dense enough to pose any serious risk of rain.

There was really nothing much up there except goats, a few birds, trees and cane reeds, a light scattering of wild lavender and some other mountains shrubs and flowers. We did also see a couple of tiny lizards, some cool psychedelic orange wasps and a lot more flies than expected when we got out the food! However, what was most amazing was all the water. We came across a lot of tiny springs that just appear out of nowhere and then disappear back into the ground after just a few metres. The biggest one had actually eroded three downward tiered pools and it was weird to see a toad living in the biggest one along with some toad spawn, other pond like creatures and a dead beetle. It is so barren up there otherwise this was really unexpected. I guess the springs all go down into an underground aquifer somewhere nearby. Maybe they end up in Masafi bottles. So next time you buy a bottle of Masafi just remember the toad got to it first!

There were a lot of holes in the sides of mountains, some were tiny but others looked like quite large caves. We couldn't work out if these were naturally occurring or had actually been gouged out at some point. When we got up to the highest point there were a lot of large rocks that were so deeply red they looked as if they had been painted but the rock types were pretty varied so there was a range of colours in general. I am not great at identifying rock but I found a small piece of something full of shiny gold bits which could have been Dubai bling rock. Otherwise it was granite and many softer shale-type rocks which created a lot of loose scree and gravel. This made coming down quite hard especially because we took a different route down which ended up being steeper than the one we took up. This got quite challenging at times and I have an impressively large bruise on my ass to prove it but I am really glad I got to do it especially knowing that I will outta here in a couple of months. So thank you to friends with cars! Getting a taxi driver to wait at the side of a road in the middle of nowhere for 6 hours just wouldn't have been the same!

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