Tag Archives: Barringer Crater

A Trip to Hellifornia

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Al Wahba Crater

Being a globetrotter, there have been various trips I diary-milked your reading efforts. I have always felt blessing that the nature of being roady-piper became a source of understanding the secrets of marvelous sites in this kingdom which is by some range long remembered as dry and desert area. Reaching the altitudes or losing the grip down towards the surfaces made me realize that this Kingdom has advertising cards enough to send to the invitees around the world to treasure their experiences. With all the practice of longing the trips somehow, there was one trip which promised to give the unsharpened axe to hit my own head and butt. This trip was expected to be the mega-road-trip event within the kingdom covering almost a week but turned out to be the omen’s curse. Today I am sharing you a painful, embarrassing but a funny trip in six parts.

PILOT

This occurred in Mid-2014. Holy month of Ramadan was ending in July end and I requested almost 1-week internal vacations from my office on the last day and to my exuberance, the request was accepted. Google Map was the binocular of treasure-hunt and more than 35 sites were marked. Participants were approached and succeeded to take three of them.

There were four characters in this road trip:

  1. Gandalf – He had a vision, a road-trip map and stuck on it. Plans had been penned and God’s will was hoped for a peaceful trip.
  2. Alien – He was the first to be approached by Gandalf. He was the co-pilot of Shadowfax. (Old myth confirms, without their mutual understanding, trips wave in the clouds of daydreaming.)
  3. Caesar – This Roman cowboy had an unfinished business but he did join on a condition that he was to be allowed to complete his work. Approved!
  4. Deadpool – This unarmed sidekick had never experienced a road-trip. Teen by age and legal expat by document was making his traveling debut.

 E01 – AAAAAND FUN BEGINS

Gandalf had bought a new backpack from Jarir Bookstore. Alien assisted him. Deadpool had his packing done and by plan, the four creatures left Jeddah after final prayer of the day. As usual, things didn’t work and delayed in wait. The chosen Shadowfax was Hyundai Veloster 2014. All four left by midnight and ate dinner at Raheli station with Arabic rice & chicken dish ‘Matghoot’.

Petrol was filled and left for the first mark. The first mission was to reach Al Wahba Crater which is 367 km drive from Jeddah. But before this, the vehicle stopped at another station, this time for the sake of nature’s call. Deadpool had his embarrassment as he wasn’t used to of not using toilet seat. Toilet partitions were suspicious because few had no locks and water pressure in the hand shower was terribly low as compared to the residential units. Three travelers were done with the cleaning but Deadpool wasn’t coming out as he had his more frustrating adventure debut. The toilet unit he chose had no shower but a small bucket lol. Gandalf checked all the units and found the last one with the toilet seat lol. As Deadpool was washing his hands, he pointed at the unit and he took all his chance to that unit. The sidekick took time again and this time there was no water lol. It was just the beginning and left the station for Al Wahba Crater.

This Al Wahba crater is almost similar to Barringer Crater located in Arizona desert of the United States. Al Wahba Crater according to Wikipedia source is 250m (820ft) deep and 2km (1.2mi) in diameter. It is so deep that if you throw a stone from the top, you will listen its end in 6 seconds. There has been much speculation about the origin of crater. Many believed a meteorite hit the place. According to Wikipedia, many geologists agree that Al Wahba Crater is a Maar crater which is caused by a phreatomagnetic eruption. That is an explosion caused by groundwater coming into contact with hot lava or magma.

There was less but enough time to enjoy the site. The car was parked and stood on the top from where they can view the whitish surface of the base in the dark. All four travelers lied on the rug and focused on the falling stars. It was so exciting to look above the sleeping sky with millions and millions of stars and counting the one moving from its edge. Sun oped its eyes on the surface to bring beauty on the surface and time arrived to move the vehicle towards the spot where the hikers were to descend down.

Gandalf decided not to go down because he knew that once all climb back, then all will be dead exhausted and journey towards the next mark will become questionable. So he saved his energy and the rest descended down. It was a silence in the alfresco. After every 10 minutes, Gandalf used to check from the corner if he could view anyone’s feet touching the surface. In 20 minutes, he finally watched two small ants Caesar and Deadpool on the floor. Like I wrote above that the crater is 250m deep so the microscopic expectations are high from such altitude. Alien was exhausted and had told both the hikers to reach the surface by themselves as he will take rest. Was that rest going to ease his exhaustion? Here began an unexpected change of fortune.

E02 – MISS CALL FROM OMEN!

While lying in his shadowfax with the bags and snacks, Gandalf got a call from Deadpool and updated him that the Alien was in trouble and cannot climb. Before going down, Deadpool called him again informing that they somehow are trying to climb and reach. When they came back, they further informed that he had vomit and excreted loose motion. They had no remedy but Gandalf did know that by distance of 50kms, there is a general hospital in Mahad adh Dhahab. According to Wikipedia, this Mahad adh Dhahab is a gold mining area of Madinah province.

The driver tried his best to reach the spot asap and kept asking if he was feeling better. They reached the hospital and Caesar took him to emergency ward while Deadpool and Gandalf rushed towards the toilet to clear the hours-long unfinished business. Deadpool had finally used a comfortable toilet with a convincing hand shower lol since that stop before Wahbah. The alien informed the clinician that he has a history of lactose intolerance. He had his treatment for the next couple of hours and there was confusion over the ill state of the patient and time of recovery and all the landmarks they were planning to reach on this trip. There was a huge question mark and time was running. Mahad adh Dhahab was the next mark after Al Wahba Crater but from Mahad, they had to reach Al Shahanah Historical Tower in Ar Rass town in five hours by the time 4pm. But it was 12pm already.

Gandalf noticed there was a partition in emergency ward for each gender. Male and female ERs were separate by some distance and located in opposite directions. Surprisingly there was neither water in any dispenser nor tissues and water in the toilets near ERs. Plus, there were no chairs for the patient’s people in ER. So either they sit on his/her deathbed or stood firm staring hither and thither. There was a very old patient who wasn’t able to walk properly. He wasn’t provided a wheelchair; instead his son told him to sit nearby and didn’t help him sit!

Hours later, the doctor had passed him and allowed to take him with them. At this moment the travelers had mixed emotions. Caesar proposed the idea to return back as it was not safe to go ahead with not-fully-recovered Alien. But Gandalf argued that the next stopping is over 500kms from Mahad to Ar Rass, and when they reach the destiny, Alien will take all his rest and fully recover. With the series of useless arguments, they took the risk and the plan went ahead.

E03 – TIRANT & TIRANNY

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Shadowfax: First Blood

Within 10 minutes after leaving the hospital ad driving towards Ar-Rass, the vehicle suffered when one of the tires hit a huge pothole which further reduced the chances of reaching the landmark at time. Not only the tire was punctured but they had doubts over the rim. In the middle of the silent road and extreme sun-heat, the tire was replaced with the stepney small enough to limit the speed below 80kph. The new tire was the demand of the situation but more to the misery was that shadowfax had low-profile legs (17 inch rims) and availability of such leg in a small town was very low. It was 2pm already when most of the shops were closed at that time and if any shop by chance was open, they could not have arranged that particular tire.

Alien was dead sleeping, Caesar was sleepy but Deadpool was very dehydrated because the source of drinking water had also became an issue. This trip was becoming an unexpected curse as nothing was going right. After all these miseries, Gandalf changed his plan to reach Madinah instead of Ar Rass only if the low-profile tire is not found in the coming stations on the road. Caesar was insisting to abandon the trip and return back but he was convinced that the issue will be resolved in few moments. Gandalf crossed Mahad area, long broad road was inviting more exhaustion over patience as every next tire shop he checked, he found no such tire to restore the faith in completing this journey. Every time he stopped, he had to drop all the bags from the car boot to take out the dead tire to show and ask the worker if any life can be restored. And he got the same response that the new low profile tire had to be bought and won’t be possible to locate on the next stop. Finally, Gandalf made his mind to reach Madinah and buy a new tire.

All were dead slept and there was no sign of life during the destiny as the stepney-bound vehicle was driven at not more than 50kph to avoid further more obstacles and reach Madinah safely which was 200kms away.  The current scenario was exasperating Gandalf as the vehicle wasn’t able to gallop. All what he saw was a range of mountains stretched at lengths on both sides. All he could do was pray to Lord to avoid further curses and not to involve in any intrusion. With remaining distance dropping, the color of sky changed with the hailing darkness inviting the four retired veterans of hope to Madinah. Caesar woke up and witnessed the Holy Mosque. He forwarded his wish to visit the Holy Mosque but Gandalf refused to take him at the site due to the fact that the visit will cost hours and waking up early in the morning for the next destiny will become impossible due to reckless sleep in late hours.

After the tire recovered from a shop, the travelers quested a suitable hotel and found an acceptable shelter with only one room and a toilet. For Gandalf’s misery, the toilet had no lock but was bound to take bath while holding the door from one hand, embarrassing. The alien was taking a much proper rest and it raised Gandalf’s hope that his co-pilot will be all fit and on his legs by morning. For dinner, Gandalf and Caesar looked after a possible restaurant and to their huge surprise; there was a Pakistani restaurant open in late hours. The demanded food was getting prepared and took almost half an hour and while returning back; the pilot lost his way and took further half an hour. Indeed Gandalf had breathed an ill-fated day.

Before all fell asleep, Gandalf and Caesar restored their argument over hopeless future of lengthy trip. Caesar’s incomplete work had no ending as he was supposed to submit his work via internet that very night. He wanted to go an internet café nearby to finish the work but there was no such place. Then he decided to look for available flight seats, go airport and give up the trip. Somehow he postponed this decision. Yep that was Day 1.

E04 – GOOD MORNING BAD DREAM!

No special dreams were arranged for few hours as everyone woke up with best hopes and high spirits. Due to exhausting schedule and collapse of timing, Gandalf altered the plan and skipped the plan of driving towards ar-Rass town and Uyun al Jawa city which were the sites to be reached after Mahad adh Dhahab. His next stopping was Hail city which was landmarked on Gandalf’s original treasure-hunting map. Alien was still not fit and worried Caesar was still not confident to precede the next mark. Gandalf was determined with high hopes. They checked out from the hotel wearing backpack and bags in hand. Dropping from stairs of the hotel, Gandalf was informed that the condition of kidney patient had deteriorated again; I mean the new tire of vehicle had lost all the blown air. It was a major shock, sudden punch on the lurking face, start of another hopeless episode of lengthy trip and beginning of bad morning with uninvited curse.

The faces were dropped to meet a new low. They didn’t have enough money to checked-in the same hotel nor can they all sit in the car to increase chances of further problems in the vehicle. It was hardly 6 in the morning and to injure further expectations, it was Friday; so the chance of meeting a mechanic in an opened shop at this time was also very low. So the refugees took their bags out from the vehicle, and sat in the waiting area and let Gandalf drove the effected vehicle in hope to spot a mechanic in any part of the…. city.

Gandalf drove the vehicle hardly at 10kph. Embarrassment was that a lot of people were staring the vehicle and its driver. In fact some labor-class Pakistanis were smiling at his fate and whispering the case to the others. It was very awkward experience, in fact more annoying when he was at traffic signal and had to hark horns of crazy drivers behind despite the fact that he had turned on the hazard lights. He drove in this fashion for 20 minutes and to his surprise, he found a Pathan mechanic in one shop working on the other vehicle. Sigh of relief!

The mechanic’s verdict was dispiriting one and he declared the rim to be more problematic than the tire. He advised him to drive slow and safe but change the rim asap. Gandalf returned back to hotel to see sleepy faces. He was still positive to overturn the curse and proceed towards his plan. When they came to know he was still reluctant to return back, Caesar insisted to him to reconsider his courage.

Then the silent Alien, his best-man in all the trips, requested to drop him at bus station so that he will return back home and the rest may continue their journey. His illness had seized him to bring any positive intention for this trip. He had given up. This was the moment when Gandalf lost his edge and realized the highly promising trip is meeting its unfortunate conclusion. His determination met a severe low and dropped all the plans. It was finally concluded that they were collectively giving up the plan and returning home. Alien’s giving up was the only way to overturn his decision. It was a very sad but acceptable end of the trip. Taking a chance out of this concluded bad luck, Caesar humbly asked in soft tone if he could now let him visit Holy Mosque!!! He still refused and left Madinah city.

E05 – THE FASTEST SLOTH TO PENINSULA

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Shadowfax: Last Blood

The time was hardly 8 in the morning and the vehicle was driven at mere 40kph. It was a huge drop in speed to escape any remaining curses. The temperature was heating high and all were dead sleeping once again. It was a very ugly traveling debut of Deadpool who had toilet and dehydration issues the whole time. He had given miserable updates to his family at home during the whole trip and this time he had informed that they were returning back.

Distance between Madinah and Jeddah is roughly 450kms and the cars at normal speed reach the distance in 4 hours and 20 minutes. But in their case, the calculations and expectations were painful. Gandalf had to play his random songs to normalize his mood because he was still enraged of this terrible fate. Caesar was excited to return back and that excitement was infuriating him. So whatever random song he asked to keep it play, he tuned to the next song and behaved like a sheepish child. After some time he was back to normality because it was foolish to depict sadness on the concluded one.

Less than 100kms were left when the rim changed its mind again and decided to irritate the travelers by excreting air from the tire. It was noon and sun was above their heads on a highway full of running trucks. It was easily the unluckiest trip ever suffered and the stepney tire was fixed again. The vehicle in most part of the journey was at pace lower than the heavy vehicles but faster than any of Terrence Malick films. They finally reached home in almost 7 hours. More than half of the duration was taken in driving the vehicle at 40kph which forcibly turned into max 80kph later. Gandalf was physically done and dropped himself to bed with body ache. He was not in his senses and all his ears heard were from his father in the other room saying “Perhaps God had not accepted this plan”.

The remaining days of the short vacation were also spent mostly in pain as Gandalf suffered loose motions on long run. Perhaps he was lucky to return back on time to suffer this at home instead of the places he had never been too.

This unforgettable incident happened in 2014 but I began to write somewhere in Oct.2015 and is now finally completed by the end of July in 2016. I don’t know if I should thank the participants to make this trip unforgettable (for sad reasons) but I would like to apologize to them for rude behavior caused from the events full of misfortunes. The real identities of four characters I named in this blog will not be disclosed.

May you readers and travelers not face the obstacles and enjoy the trip with excitement, Amen.

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The Four Principle Characters of The Story

One Morning At Wahbah Crater

Al-Wahba Crater

Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” He was right… He is right… I guess he was the lover of his dreams who believe to shape his dreams into reality. He dropped high school to join the army but was rejected for being underage. Drove ambulance in France, after the armistice was signed in WWI. He was a cartoonist for a newspaper company but the big boss didn’t like his creative ideas. But he kept dreaming big which soon became reality. To date, no man has ever won more Academy Awards than this dreamer, 26.

Sparingly, I indulge myself in dropping from all social workouts, crop the tyranny of bumbling de facto and focus on the belle of my utopia. Sit on tip of the iceberg and profess heaven.

Suffering the boredom in the Kingdom of the driest land with no drop of rain on my naked head, I chose long-distance-traveling my habit like jumping like a rabbit. Tired of working trauma, I chose a path of glory like a mallory. With me joins two more adventure-bonafiders. Time to travel somewhere, make a plan, choose our destiny, and off we go.

Mr. Disney’s dream met an end as toony, but we ended to dream a lil moony. There is a crater, a volcanic crater, in the Kingdom where I live. That view astonished us and we planned to go there. On the first attempt, we couldn’t drop down the surface as we couldn’t locate the spot where we were supposed to descend and the plan went like a toxic fabricator. But the very next chance we got, we didn’t miss it. Here go the three musketeers again…

Pack up your bags, fill the petrol, and set the navigation on your mobile to safely reach your destiny. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, all live in Jeddah and the mark-point is 437 km away from us. And for your kind information, there is no d’Artagnan on the whole trip. The chosen transport of legitimacy is my Hyundai Veloster 2014.

The total distance towards the destination point is 437 km. We will reach within 5 hours at a limited speed of 120 kph. The route or plan is simple, we will drive (A) from Jeddah towards (B) Makkah which is 75.7 km away. While reaching Makkah, we will move (C) towards Al Huwaya which is 116 km. From Al Huwaya is a long straight road (D) towards a village known as Umm Aldoom which stretches 184 km. From Al Huwaya is a short road (E) 28.5 km towards Nimran which makes you reach the crater (F) with the remaining distance of 32.7 km.

Route to Al Wahba Crater

On our way to Makkah, I had a mini-shopping at one of the stops. To ease my brain to an extent, I bought a large can of Pringles (original), 6 cans of Bison energy drink, a couple of Galaxy Ripples, a packet of Klast chewing gum, and a few bottles of mineral water. Had dinner at the same stop with a local franchise named ‘Al-Furooj’ (not to mix with a U.A.E. fast food chain with a similar name) with 4 pieces of chicken, french fries, a large size of 2 loaves of bread, and dozens of garlic sauce. I am an extreme lover of garlic sauces and is a compulsory appetite with fast food franchises.

The Dinner is Served!!
The Dinner is Served!!
A combined love of appetite for garlic sauces for the eaters...
A combined love of appetite for garlic sauces for the eaters…

During the travel, we had many chilling moments like cracking jokes and singing. But the most hilarious of all was teasing the opposite side of cars by flashing the light over them, as a result, many drivers braked the car in fear of crossing the speed limit. Once a group of almost 10 cars was coming from the opposite end. We were ready to buzz up the consequence. When flashed, all of them fell astray and braked. We had gone fuckin’ crazy but our madness stayed for only 20 minutes.

There are so many curves on our way but the car normally runs faster than 150 kph when there is no speed limit sign. We crossed scores of towns and villages. While reaching Al Huwaya, I took the Airport road which you might assume is a notable road. This road makes way to Prince Sultan Military Hospital (on your right), Taif Airport (on your left), and a Sports Complex (on your left). This road will make any driver wild to drive faster as he wants. It is due to the fact that it is then direct access to reach places like Dammam and Riyadh and even Bahrain and you won’t see the few speed limit signs or cops.

After almost 150 km on this road, a bridge towards the next stop a village Umm Aldoom comes after crossing Radwan town as I turn left towards a dark path trusting on your car lights. As most of our journey at the night was dark because of the lack of street lights but that path was darker than the rest. On this path, I saw small pups running out of life in the middle of the road as unexpected travelers are about to unexpectedly squeeze the tiny creatures.

Before reaching Umm Aldoom, I turned left towards Nimran and from there, it is almost 35 km from the place of the volcanic crater which is called “Al Wahba Crater”. The musketeers left home at night and reached the spot before sunrise. A breeze blew due to the higher altitude. One of my friends taking a nap in the car and the other striving his best to take the best pictures from his DSLR.

Two Fridays in a row have I turned my intention to view the majestic site. While I reached the spot on the first attempt, I wasn’t able to view it because of car lights. But I noticed on my right some whiteness at the bottom and told my friends to turn off the lights. The rest was a beauty. At night, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful galaxies of stars above which is probably hard to find in any Saudi Arabian location. My friend made the most possible glimpse of happening above the sky. Watching those stars justifies David Bowie‘s take on stars in his 1972 song ‘Starman’ as if there really is someone who wants to break down and come and meet the earthlings. 

An Eternal Beauty captured from my friend's DSLR
An Eternal Beauty captured from my friend’s DSLR

There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
Hes told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me:
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

The sunrise charms the place as we waited for a time of visibility of the route to descend. We found the route and prepared for descending.

Al Wahba Crater according to a Wikipedia source is 250 m (820 ft) deep and 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter. It is so deep that if you throw a stone from the top, you will listen to its end in six seconds. The bottom of the crater is covered with white sodium phosphate crystals. It is under the protection of the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD), which is responsible for developing and implementing plans to preserve wildlife in Saudi Arabia. This crater is almost similar to Barringer Crater located in the Arizona desert of the United States. 

There has been much speculation about the origin of this crater. Many believed a meteorite hit the place. According to Wikipedia, many geologists agree that Al Wahba Crater is a Maar Crater that is caused by a phreatomagmatic eruption, which is an explosion caused by groundwater coming into contact with hot lava or magma. As far as size is concerned, maar measures 200 to 26,000 ft across and from 30 to 660 ft deep. The other notable characteristic of Maar is that they form natural lakes.

David J. Grainger, the Senior Geological Editor with the Saudi Arabian Directorate General of Mineral Resources, stated about this crater in the journal ‘Geology Today’ issued back in January 1996 that “A Quaternary phreatic event drilled out a crater 2 km in diameter through Proterozoic basement rocks and Quaternary lava flows. The crater is rimmed with a tuff ring of debris from the explosion, around which were diverted Holocene basaltic lavas.”

Descending way down to the crater was expensive thinking for me as I never had tasted such an experience. Descending and climbing a mountain or a crater for me is no less than landing on a moon or reaching the peak of Mount Everest. It took me hardly 25 minutes going down. There is only one route to descend which I praise the work done on it. From the beginning to the end, the route is easy and conveyed, and don’t need a guide to whom we follow. In fact, the henge of stones welcomes you to step on them to move straight where destiny meets its end. For a couple of minutes, we stopped and took snapshots and made videos of the beautiful crater. Not to our surprise, there is no mobile signal over there.

My ears got close-open the whole way down as air resistance reduce. While gazing down; large stones, thorns, and bushes look microscopic as only the saltville is everlasting eye-catchy. Once, my friend and I lose the plot and took the wrong route as we contested to go down against large rocks. We succeeded in the contest.

But later on, a couple of steps later, we realized that the forgotten route was only a couple of steps behind the route of coming down from stone. It was a hilarious moment.

I land down with a scream heard only by my fellow musketeers (we three friends were the only humans existing there) with a bottle of mineral water almost finished with the assignment of climbing back remaining.

Land down, rock on, and musketeers-come-geologists explored the land which is covered with white sodium phosphate crystals. Numerous wild plants, thorns, and bushes breezing and hushing. The normality of a straight walk is suspended beneath the field as you are about to walk and examine the face of the land. I’m not a student of petrology or geology so I am not able to give a genuine explanation of the surface. 1/3rd layer looks like a whipping cream frosting over a cake or Mövenpick chocolate chips ice cream. Many layers have scoopy curves and you have to be very careful of walking over there more than a pedestrian. 

I walk the maze of moments
But everywhere I turn to
Begins a new beginning
But never finds a finish
I walk to the horizon
And there I find another
It all seems so surprising
And then I find that I know

This world simply fits with Enya‘s “Anywhere Is” as it is pretty strange when you really walk the maze of moments. I am lost in this saltville, my shoes are hitting hard with different layers and rocks altogether as if shoes began screaming and scolding me, “Where the fuck have you landed today?” When I touched the layer of skin, it is like papadam, simply touch it and crack it.

There are many many lava stones and quizzy paths of dead branches and bushes. Few bloggers and visitors claimed they saw a snake in the field but we couldn’t. Although we did see tiny lizards and I’m sure they may be excited to see our presence in this silent theater.

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With a kilometer walk of the diameter, a shadow of comfort was naturally installed with a pale of lively grass as we intended to take a rest on one of the corners. The intensity of the heat was growing as time had reached 8 in the morning. While sitting a couple of minutes on a rocky surface, our ASSets had droned army of red ants as we changed the sitting place in fear of the army’s revenge keeping in mind that the unity in ant’s army is more peculiar to unity in Mousquetaires de la garde.

Going back to where you come from is the devil wears prada. And the song tickling my musical mind is James Blunt‘s High. Your return to climb from here is like a filmmaker anxiously waiting for a weekend box-office report for collections. I am not crushing my feet, in fact, my feet are crushing me towards the same all odd layers. In normal cases, hikers first climb, then come down. But my case was contrary to the fact of being my first hiking experience with the harsh truth of carrying a stocky weight beyond normality. 

While stepping down, I roughly had drunk 3/4th of the bottle of mineral water and by mistake in preparation, this was the only bottle in quantity I carried for both scenarios. Now it is all up to my supernatural instinct to climb the I-M-POSSIBLE mark where my car is waiting for us to go back. One of our friends reached the destiny first, so the other musketeers are in different awe. One caught asthma and the other overweight hiking debutant met extreme backache and that’s me.

As climbing demands more muscles workout, my pain had no stopping as even my ribs began squeezing. Till climbing the 50 m mark, both geologists have stone-rested like a dozen times. Sunshine is disturbing while its heat is perturbing. Exhaustion has no limits as we have begun breathing heavily. While stepping a few stones more, looking up the trail is like looking at a hawk staring at you. Like I stated before that, descending took us 25 minutes but back-bite epic climbing clocked almost 90 minutes to reach the point. I had climbed almost 200 m with my friend where I began stumbling and becoming hopeless of ever reaching the mark. The back pain knew no bounds and suddenly found a long-lasting shadow. I dropped myself over there, unable to verbally communicate with my asthmatic fellow. Lying towards and beneath steepy wall and over hundreds of pebbles. That resting site was more than a bed of roses for me as I took a nap for approximately 20 minutes. I wonder how Aaron Ralston survived but in those exhausting moments, the movie “127 Hours” is what precisely reminded me.

Woke up with a pin drop silence but breezy sounds and hopeless desire. I began invoking God for safety, strength, and courage. Feeling extremely thirsty with the last drop of hot water remaining in the bottle. I finally drank it and stood up. When I backed my fellow and myself for the run, our mileage crossing friend came to us like an angel with a shopping bag of mineral water bottles, orange juices, and Bison energy drinks. To my good luck, I passed the car key to him before climbing. This time I sat with comfort drinking all possible drinks and enjoying the sudden breeze confirming the approval of my invocations. Now I muster up my courage and within 15 minutes, we have reached the point. Despite my physical exhaustion from climbing, I was fit for driving back with a Bison drink enough for cheering me like Stone Cold Steve Austin‘s “Hell Yeah”. 

Towards all your long-distance traveling, one thing which will impress you is that you will prominently find a petrol station and masjid at almost every stop in 10-20 minutes that will ease every Muslim traveler to offer prayers at a time and every driver to fill up the fuel before an FML moment. On such a destiny, you will find many small towns with a couple of masjids and many small muddy and concrete houses. I saw a caravan of camels intersecting our way, one of them actually stopped in front of the car reminding me of Robin William‘s “Jumanji” scene. 

To sum up my experience by forwarding the readers some interesting ideas, you must note the to-do-list for further enjoyment:

a. Better you leave for this Crater Trip at night to reach there before sunrise and enjoy a cool breeze. Prefer hiking at dawn. 

b. Going in a group of 10??? If you are willing to reach there at midnight, then better take a bedouin tent with a couple of thick mattresses.

c. Make a BBQ and cook lamb or chicken (roasting marshmallow is plus)

d. Campfire, Playing Guitar and Singing

e. Compulsorily have a backpack for hiking the crater and do prepare a checklist.

My Wahba-Crater Hiking Checklist:

  1. extra water (min 3 large bottles)
  2. pack of snacks
  3. first-aid kit
  4. pocket-knife
  5. extra pair of hiking shoes
  6. whistle
  7. bandana or hat (for sun protection)
  8. pair of gloves
  9. binoculars
  10. insect repellant
  11. toilet papers (plastic)
  12. plastic bags (garbage)
  13. duct tape
  14. 2 sets of hiking ropes
  15. small microfiber towel

In the end, I am thankful to my fellow musketeers who made the trip delightful, unforgettable, and worth of adventure. I am hopeful of my new hobby of adventure will touch new heights in my life. To rise high, you should dream high.

Oscar Wilde once quoted, “A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

The Three Musketeers - Myself (left), Alpha (center) and Taha (right)
The Three Musketeers – Myself (left), Alpha (center) and Taha (right)