For a long time I’ve been wanting to go to Snake Canyon, to do the canyoning, but also to really do the Via Ferrata which is attaching yourself onto steel wires above the Wadi floor and going for a wander up the side of the Wadi walls and across the actual gaps in the earths surface! Unfortunately the Via Ferrata had been shut for maintenance and has remained shut since!
So we set off to Oman – two trucks, mine and Hussain’s – 8 people and we were away. Our destination was a little place called ‘Second Home’ not far from the Wadi entrance (Wadi Bani Awf) . It’s pretty basic rooms but very comfortable and a really cool place to bed down for the weekend. Some of our party weren’t too thrilled about it, as were afraid of various bugs that may or may not have been around. We left early on a Friday morning and actually left pretty much on time, which is unusual, especially if Laura and Keri are involved. It was also a first trip into Oman for one of our new family members, Ana Banana from Portugal. It was about a 4 hour drive, including the border crossing (don’t forget your passport and make sure whichever car you are in is covered in Oman insurance wise)
We got to Second Home and dropped various bits and pieces off and then into the Wadi. The plan was to drive to the bottom, leave one truck there, and then we all piled into the other one and drove up some pretty gnarly roads to get to the top and start our descent. As it happens there were 2 other hikers that day and so I packed 10 people into the Raptor and we headed up to the entry point. Once at the entry point, we got our helmets on, (if you have someone that knows the route, you don’t need a guide and you can pop to Adventure HQ and hire the helmets for a very reasonable rate. And then we were off! We only had 1 Go Pro and the video still hasn’t been edited into anything actually worth watching, but no other waterproof cameras, so not much evidence of the actual climb down. But – it’s AWESOME – you basically negotiate the Wadi to get back down to where you leave the other truck. This involves a little bit of walking, scrambling, jumping from heights, swimming and in our case, near death experience, at least for Laura anyway! Admittedly it did get a bit chilly as the day wore on and we were in the shade of the Wadi walls. Even better was the fact that Joe aka ‘Wookie’ managed to fill his dry bag with water on the way down, so when we made it to the sun again, there was a lot of wet cigarettes and everything else! Yes there is a specific way of doing a dry bag up, so that there is a seal Joe!!!!
We got down the Wadi and no one actually did die, Laura nearly did and she cut her finger too! It was scary.
So after a couple of hours of walking, jumping, swimming, freezing, chatting, eating and general fun, we got to the bottom and popped out, just by Hussain’s truck as planned. Plan now, was Hussain drives me back up to the top, pick up my truck and we all go home (Second Home) for much deserved BBQ and refreshments.
Keys Hussain? ‘ I passed them to Matt at the top’. Matt? Where’d you put them? ‘ In the central console in your truck’ he says. I see, so just to clarify, we are at the bottom of the Wadi with Hussain’s truck, the keys to which are safely locked in my truck at the top of the mountain? ‘Yep’
Luckily for us, as Hussain is an Omanarati, he speaks quite good Arabic and the local farmers kindly agreed to take us back up to the top! But we couldn’t go in the car they had, as they didn’t think it would make it, so they went and got a ‘better’ car that would make it. I had my doubts, but they got us up there and chatted happily about life to Hussain, who translated. They thought I was Filipino 🙂
A little later than planned, after saying good bye to the friendly farmers, who would not accept anything as thanks. We headed back down the mountain and picked up the tired Canyoners. Well worth a trip, highly recommended as it’s great fun and exhilarating – the evening was filled with good humour, good food and ample refreshment and a lot of recounting the days’ adventure.
Eventually we all went to bed, some a lot later than others, although they regretted that the next morning when we packed up and set off. Pit stop at the Hatta Fort hotel (this is the right link, but was having issues at the time of writing) on the way back for lunch was a good call, especially as Hussain’s truck and it’s occupants obviously looked very dodgy and got held up at the border for quite some time! That’s a story for another time.