Rebecca was planning to travel to Vienna the weekend of April 24-25 to visit her friends, Jami and Tarina, who were on a European vacation. It just so happened that the UAE Trekkers were planning a trip to Snake Canyon at the same time. I thought this was great timing because from what I knew about Snake Canyon, Bec might not be comfortable with the use of ropes and swimming. Once I got back from Nepal, however, I learned that the Snake Canyon trip had been re-scheduled to April 17-18. After discussing with Rebecca, we agreed I would do Snake Canyon on my own.
Snake Canyon is a deep gorge that has been carved out over thousands of years. It is necessary to climb and jump into water-filled pools and narrow passages. We would be going through the canyon on Saturday morning after camping overnight at the start of the trail.
I was at the local Spinney’s food market at 5:00am on Friday, April 17th to meet some of the Abu Dhabi contingent of the UAE Trekkers. Once drivers and passengers were assigned, I was soon on the road with 2 school teachers, Katie from England and Sinead from Scotland. We passed into Oman through the Shakhla Khatm border and drove to the city of Sohar on the Gulf of Oman Coast. We arrived at the designated supermarket around 9:00am and met up with others including those from Dubai. We had some breakfast and coffee before shopping for our camp cooking supplies and getting it packed into coolers.
Back on the road, we convoyed another hour and a half to reach the town of Rustaq located on the eastern edge of the Hajar Mountains. For those who remember a previous post, Rustaq is not too far from Jebel Shams. On the way to our camp site, we stopped at the start of a wadi for an afternoon walk and swim. Amy, the founder of UAE Trekkers, noticed that the water level was the lowest she had ever seen it. This didn’t stop us from exploring the wadi for a while it just meant there was not enough water for a swim. I found it interesting that the pools of water that we did see were filled with frogs and fish which seemed so strange for such a hot desert climate. We did see a little snake, which I believe was a non-venomous Wadi Racer (Coluber rhodorachis).
We arrived in camp and got the tents set up. I volunteered to BBQ which turned out to be an insane amount of meat, but I really enjoyed it as I don’t get to grill too much these days. After dinner, we sat by the camp fire and watched the stars (2 more things I don’t do much of).
The next morning, we had breakfast and broke camp. We had to drop a few rendezvous vehicles off at the canyon exit, but once everyone was back at the camp we started in. Everyone was required to wear a helmet and wetsuits were optional. Although it was 40°C in the sun, the shady canyon can keep the water quite cool. I decided not to wear a wetsuit because of the low water level. Amy asked me to carry a few of the ropes and I enjoyed tying/anchoring the ropes and lending a hand to people who required a little help in some places. Carrying the ropes also means you’ve got to jump off a few cliffs into the pools instead of using the ropes. We spent about 4 hours exploring the canyon slowly hiking, climbing, and swimming our way downhill. The rock formations are beautiful and the water so clear in some places (and not so clear in others). It was a great time and had been on the list of things to do.
We had a late lunch at the vehicles, got packed up, and were soon headed for home.