Jebel Shams Cliff Walk 2009



Jebel Shams Cliff Walk 2009

More than a dozen members enjoyed the Cliff Walk on a day when haze obscured the ridges on the opposite side of the gorge.

We met several other groups of hikers along the trail which is one of several that have been developed on the mountain.

About 15 families once lived in the settlement of Sap Bani Khamis. The descendents of the families now live in housing above the abandoned village.

According to the information board, the location was chosen because there was a good supply of fresh water and because it offered protection against "enemies".

The families built their houses of stone and used three varieties of wood, namely sidr (zizyphus spinachristi), olive and juniper. Crops included watermelons, peppers (chili), onions, tomatoes, wheat, pomegranate, lemons and basil. Livestock included donkeys, sheep and goats.

The signboard advises visitors: "Please enjoy the tranquility and the spectacular views of this place, but remember to leave any relics untouched!"

It remains one of the spectacular walks in the region!



The painted flag at the head
of the trail



The opposite ridge was
concealed in the haze



Starting out



The view into the gorge



It is difficult to see the
trail ahead



The trail is the faint white
line (left)



The drop to Wadi Ghul
is about 1500m



The first part of the trail
descends about 40m



There are several hiking trails
developed on the mountain



Looking ahead to the
second corner



About one-third of the
way to the village



Markers at the first corner



The temperature was
ideal for hiking



One of our hikers . . .



. . . enjoying the day!



View across the gorge



The trail is well marked



Looking up to the
ridge above



The second leg of the trail



Steps and marker



Looking back to the
first corner



One section where the
slope drops off sharply



Goats keep the sparse
vegetation trimmed



One of the sections
of over-hanging rock



Sheets of tufa material



Tufa built up over many years



The shoulder where the
first corner is located



The typical slope



The group making their way
to the second corner



Detail of some of the
vegetation



Plants appeared healthy
along the trail



Second corner just ahead



Looking back on the trail



View out towards Nizwa



Markers at the second
corner



The village is not yet in view



Descent into another
section of overhanging rock



Stalagmites and stalactites
once existed here



Terraces visible in center
of the photo



The houses of the village
are still difficult to spot



The trail ahead



Pausing to enjoy the view



Terraces in the center
of the photo



Members took hundreds
of photographs



Arriving at the village



Plaque for Sap Bani Khamis



One of the houses



Several houses



Steps leading to the
grinding stone



Grinding stone secured
with steel rope



View from the houses



Houses with soot overhead



Paths, steps and terraces



One of the plants in the village



Detail



Detail



View of the terraces from
the houses



Ledge above the terraces
where pool is located



House with door
leaning against opening



View from aflaj
towards the houses



The reservoir for the
falaj system



The overflow hole of
the reservoir



Hikers near the reservoir



View back along the trail
from the terraces



Ridges marking the first and
second corners of the trail



Terracing



Looking down the gorge
from the terraces



Storage bins above the
terraces



Severn storage bins once
held pomegranates



Detail of storage bins



View from the bins
down over the terraces



The purpose of the stone
column is a mystery



Tufa material



Two goats were curious
about our lunches



Little pottery is found



Members on the terraces
enjoying the view



View from terraces to
area of storage bins



One of the falaj channels



Falaj channels



Tufa draping over the reservoir



Water once dripped from the
tufa into the reservoir



Cool shade before
the return trip



About 15 families once
lived in the community



The village was probably
abandoned about 35 years ago



The families kept donkeys
and goats



Soot from an old
cooking fire



Houses under the overhang



Members starting the
return trip



The slope is quite steep
in sections



The slow ascent back
to the trail head



Returning to the
second corner



The well-defined trail along
this section



The gradual climb towards
the first corner



Leaving the second corner



Well-defined trail



The first corner in the
center of the photo



The hike took about two
hours each way



Several other groups were
on the trail on the same day



The group nearing
the end of the trip



Climbing up the last,
steep section of the trail



View up the gorge



Completing the Cliff
Walk on Jebel Shams

 


Copyright 1977-2011 Emirates Natural History Group
Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan

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