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Shaquel al Balushi and his buddy Imran’s encounter with a rock makes way for an eventful and fun-filled trip to the Wadi Bin Awf.
There comes a time in every individual’s life when he or she will have to surrender to his or her fears to break through the shackles and demons that come along.
And after my last (disastrous) trip to Wadi Qurai, where I got rid of my fears of exploring secluded locations, I thought it was time for me to step up my game and try to tackle my next big fear: heights.
My target was to explore the heart of Wadi Bin Awf – a place that had left me speechless during my last trip there early in 2016. But because I did not have my own 4×4 vehicle then, I had to resort to using my “warrior” sedan – and therefore, couldn’t get too deep into the heart of the wadi.
But things have changed since 2016: I now have my own Jeep, and therefore decided that it was finally time to head into the wadi and explore it in depth.
Accompanying me on this journey was Imran, who had yet again graciously offered to ride shotgun with me on my latest adventure. In all, our drive to the wadi was the usual: banter, scores of music as well as jokes flying all around the cabin. It was all very jovial.
Driving to the wadi was fairly straightforward: you take the road that leads to Rustaq, and make the turn when you see the brown board that points towards Wadi Bin Awf.
In total, it took us almost three hours to reach our location (from my home in Al Amerat). But upon reaching the area, we decided to head deeper into the wadi to avoid spending much time on foot. However, we hit a dead end pretty soon, and had to carry on exploring under our own steam.
The terrain and the surroundings here are unlike that of most wadis. Wadi Bin Awf is a truly breathtaking setting, with numerous trees and large boulders of rocks, which were created over thousands of years when the rains carved through the mountains in the region.
The walk here seemed to stretch endlessly, and we found different paths to reach a particular location – it was like a maze. The only challenge was in finding the shortest route possible. Also, because the surrounding areas were quite shady, we found it easy to lose track of time.
Furthermore, it was also a very cold day, with temperatures dropping to as low as 10 degrees! One thing that I found hard to navigate was the smooth mountain rocks, which had been washed clean by the wadi waters that run throughout the rainy season, making trekking a very hazardous affair.
But soon one thing became clear: Imran was having the time of his life! He was like Tarzan, navigating through the various rocks and terrain. I was soon left behind, and Imran went on his merry way, exploring various areas of the wadi.
When I finally caught up with him, however, I noticed that he was trying to climb up one of the massive rocks. The rock was very smooth but I thought of it as an easy challenge and kept teasing him, to stand up on the rock. With much haste and effort, however, he managed to stand on it, and I clicked his picture. Because he had managed to do it, I too wanted to try to recreate a picture and also show Imran my incredible trekking capabilities.
So, I climbed up on the rock. But when I tried standing up, I realised that it was much harder than it had seemed. It was quite narrow on top, and I couldn’t even keep steady on it. I quickly got on all fours and hugged the rock for safety.
Next, we headed off to explore one of the mountains, which seemed to have been split in the middle – almost as if it had been dissected by a surgeon. The mountain reminded me of a scene in Danny Boyle’s flick, 127 Hours. So, I decided to stay away from it but Imran had other ideas.
Not only did he climb up on to the rock, he also completed a jump from one end to the other. It was very nerve-wracking to look at.
Our trip to the wadi was all about adventure and exciting challenges. Of course, if you gloss over my rock-hugging incident, I think it had been quite an enchanting experience overall.
Head to the centre of Barka and turn left to Rustaq. Before Rustaq is a brown road sign leading you to Wadi Bani Awf. In last week’s issue, we published the incorrect co-ordinates to Wadi Al Khoud.