Trip to Wadi Hidan

This past Saturday, I went on my last trip outside of Amman to Wadi Hidan, a wadi located near Madaba. A few of my friends and I from CLS went with a tour group, Jo Hiking. The cost for this hiking group included the transportation to and from the wadi, guides, photography, and lunch, so it was a pretty good deal.

We met at a hotel in Amman (there were other people who went on the trip too, so we totaled about 14 people) and then took a bus to Wadi Hidan, stopping along the way for a quick breakfast.

At about 10:30 we started our hike. Wadi Hidan is a hike that focuses on swimming, so for a lot of it, we were swimming in deep beautiful clear-green water, with tall rocky cliffs on either side of us. The wadi also had many areas where we had to jump off ledges into the water, slide down waterfalls, and climb down the sides of the slippery rocks using ropes– good thing we had guides with us to help us through it all!

The second half was the “harder” half, though personally I thought the first half was harder since it involved more heights. The second half was mainly climbing over rocks to make our way through the wadi. We ended by looking over a huge waterfall that let out over a gorgeous area of water surrounded by hanging trees. It truly looked like something from a fairytale. We couldn’t keep going because only professionals can climb down the waterfall, so we turned around and climbed the rocks to get out of the wadi and then started the long walk back to the bus by walking on the rocks that overlooked the wadi.

We got back to the bus at around 8 PM, thoroughly exhausted, and ate a quick dinner (that was supposed to be the lunch). The walk, though, was beautiful, and I loved the views the whole time. The only issue was that the guides said they were providing lunch, but they did not tell us that the lunch was given at the end of the hike once we got back to the hike, so no one ate a large breakfast and no one brought snacks or a large amount of water. The hike was supposed to end at about 3 pm, and we were all very hungry and thirsty by then (because they did not tell us to bring food for the hike), so when we got back at 8 without really eating all day and with limited water, we were quite exhausted and very dehydrated. Well besides the tour group’s not-amazing planning, it was a wonderful day and I got the visit the last wadi on my to-do list in Jordan. Though I am still partial to Wadi Hessa as my favorite wadi ever, Wadi Hidan was still quite beautiful.

Speaking of, from the wadis I have seen, here is my list of my rankings of the wadis I have visited in Jordan:

1. Wadi Hessa

2. Wadi Mujib

3. Wadi Rum

4. Wadi Hidan

Even though Wadi Hidan was last, it was still so amazing– it is basically a list of beyond perfectly beautiful to perfectly beautiful because all the wadis here have wow’d me so much.

Wadi Hasa

This past weekend was so wonderful. Truly one of the most amazing weekends of my life as I saw one of the most stunning places I have ever seen: Wadi Hasa.

Wadi Hasa is not in all the guidebooks and in fact, many Jordanians have never heard of it. It should be heard of though, for it is the longest canyon in Jordan and is unimaginably gorgeous.

It is, though, quite a difficult hike (8-9 hours walking/climbing for two days) and you need someone to guide you through it. Luckily, we have a guy on our program who lived in Jordan for two years and is quite familiar with Wadi Hasa, so he offered to lead us through the wadi. 21 of us from CLS went, and I’m so glad that he took us, because without his guidance, it would have been extremely difficult to make it through.

He is friends with a bus driver, so we were able to have a bus drive us the two hours to the wadi at a good price. On the way over, I was constantly reminded of Oman: little coffee shops lined the road and there were small square buildings interspersed in the dusty desert ground. We finally drove through a mountain to get to the start of the wadi and the view was breathtaking. It reminded me of Jebel Shams in Oman with its rocky landscape interspersed with small shrubs. We saw almost no one, though there were a few small houses, tents, and some indoor areas for farming. The landscape shifted to being interspersed with more greenery and then we finally got to a river, tumbled out of the bus, and began our amazing and crazy journey for the next 48 hours.

The way the hike works is that you follow the river that runs through the wadi. The river, however, is interspersed with small waterfalls and strong rapids, so though following the rapids, one has to frequently walk around the rapids by climbing over tall rocks to avoid an even-harder path.

I have to admit, the first time that we had to avoid the river, I was really anxious about the upcoming journey. I have never done anything like it before, so with zero experience, I was worried about how I would fare. We were climbing up rocks, sliding down the sides, crawling through small crevices, and trying to not slip and get our bags wet when crossing the river. Luckily, our group really came together and the more experiences members really made sure that everyone safely crossed each barrier. The journey became more and more beautiful (and more and more difficult), but once I started to get the hang of things, I was able to enjoy myself more.

By lunchtime, we were all extremely exhausted, but there was still a long way to go, so we ate quickly (with the food we packed—there is nothing in the wadi—no people, houses, anything). The landscape became less rocky (yay no more climbing over boulders!) to walking alongside the river. By about 5 pm, we made it to our goal for the day, which is the natural hot springs. The water there is red and is really really warm! We first cooled off by lying in the river and then sat in the hot springs for a bit. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing/swimming and then we slept on a flat ledge near the hot springs. We built a fire and then slept on sheets under the stars. It was warm when we went to sleep but quite cold when we woke up at 5:30!

The next day was more difficult because my whole body was so sore. Most of us were also short on water (luckily, we had a box of tablets to make water drinkable, but it is not advised to drink tons of that water, so there was a lot of water conservation going on).

The walk was even more beautiful on Saturday. It started off as almost tropical, with clear water and green plants lining the stone walks on either side of the river. It then suddenly became more desert-like, with rocky mountain walls on either side of the river. The rocks turned more and more red and suddenly there were smooth ledges for us to walk on and overlook the water. We took various breaks throughout the day to swim in water to cool off and 10 hours later, finally arrived at the end of the wadi, so dehydrated. Luckily, some people from the program went a bit ahead and had water waiting for everyone when we arrived.

I really can’t describe the beauty of Wadi Hessa nor can my photos do justice to show what I experienced. Though this was definitely the most physically challenging thing I have ever done, it was also so fun and invigorating. I know now what people are talking about when they speak of Jordan’s wonderful natural beauty!