Fitness fanatic and Y lensman Shaquel al Balushi finds the foothills of Samkat more taxing than he thought, but no less rewarding.
If you are an avid follower of this page, you will have read of my recent overnight camping trip to Al Khadda beach with my friends, which resulted in some spectacular photographs (all credit to Mother Nature).
As a photographer, I found the area to be an absolute paradise, providing me with some much-needed pictures for the magazine as well as time out from my daily routine.
And beating my last destination, Al Khadda, was going to be quite difficult so I had to put a lot of thought into where I would be heading this week.
But that’s when I remembered: back when I was young and in school, my friends and I used to stare at what we called the “red mountains” from our classroom window. That was probably two decades ago but because I still stay at Al Amerat, I get the opportunity to wake up to the scenery of the beautiful mountains stretching across the morning sky.
Despite that, I have also never been there. Therefore, I made up my mind that this would be my location for scouting this week.
I also had an ulterior motive for going there: to have a long morning workout. One of my buddies had told me that Samkat is known for its amazing trekking paths, which are perfect for a quick cardio session.
I started my drive there at my usual time of 4am, just before sunrise. But driving there was quite easy. You can take the main road to Al Amerat and head out through the exit where the board says “Samkat”. From there you simply follow the path until you see a chicken slaughterhouse, which is the landmark.
So I parked my car there and limbered up with my camera, bags and a bottle of water and decided to start running, with the aim of reaching the foothills of the red mountains in a few minutes.
However, it turned out not to be.
I found myself gasping for breath in a mere five minutes. I quickly blamed it all on the gear and my falling stamina, and decided to walk up instead.
As you walk the path, you can see that the gradient slowly changes from a smooth road to a rocky one as you approach the foothills of the mountains.
This is perfect for adventurers as you can head there with your mountain bikes or even your trekking gear to get your daily dose of cardio exercises. I was so exhausted I could hardly hear my heart beating.
I was thoroughly exhausted now, and slowed down my pace to gather a few pictures of the surroundings. As you get near the foothills, you begin to realise how beautiful the area actually is. There are some stunning rock forms here from earlier landslides as well as trees that look like they were covered in snow.
The entire area looks as if it is covered in a layer of white dust. The rays of the sun refract from this white dust to give passers-by an illusion of the mountains being red.
It all seemed like a page out of an alpine travel catalog from Switzerland, sans the snow, obviously.
I quickly ranked it as one of my favourite spots to trek, and probably even to camp overnight. As for trekking, I particularly liked this place because it is isolated from everyone and everything. There aren’t any people, cars or even the regular urban hustle and bustle.
And just as I settled in for a short break, I saw the morning sun gleaming across the rocks. Suddenly, I realised that despite being alone I was in the company of Mother Nature.
And boy, she never fails to amaze me.
[styled_box title=”How To Get There” color=”black”]
From Muscat, take the main road to Al Amerat and then take the exit when you see the sign for Samkat. Keep an eye out for the chicken slaughterhouse, which is your marker that you are in the right place