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Exploring the Wadi in the Pick-up

Yesterday Eddie, Ania and I decided to paddle to Smuggler's Bay, a rather large secluded beach about 3 miles up the coast from our house. It typically only takes a little over an hour to get there even in the short sit on top kayaks we have. Unfortunately the sea had other plans for us. It took forever just to paddle to the point (a rocky bit of land we use as a reference point) because the sea was pretty big and the swell unorganized. Before the point, the swell was maybe 2 to 3 feet, but grew to 3 to 4 feet once we reached the point. We would have had an easier time had we had rolling swell, but each wave was covered in its own chop and the kayaks couldn't smoothly float over the swell but were banged around in different directions each time.
Typically, the winds and wave heights grow higher here in the afternoon. Ania fell off a boulder problem a month or two ago in India and injured one of her ribs, which started to ache as we paddled. We decided it would take another 30 to 45 minutes to reach Smuggler's Bay, and then we would have to immediately return knowing that we had rougher seas and a longer paddle to get back. Eddie would probably have to tow Ania back because of her rib. We decided the trip wasn't worth the risk or misery and turned around at the point. Swimming and body surfing on the beach in front of Paul's was much more fun than struggling back from Smuggler's bay.

Then we swapped the van out for the pick-up and headed into the wadi to check out one of the newer climbing spots we take clients and try to get all the way up the wadi before dark. The new climbing spot is pretty cool, a smooth vertical climb up a dry waterfall (it isn't dry when it rains!) and a complete arch to the left. I'll post photos of it next time I go there. We drove most of the way up the wadi, through this really narrow solid rock section that was just amazing. At one point, the rock is just barely wide enough for a truck to get through. It's just solid rock that you can feel and see how the water has sculpted the rock in that tiny passage. The rock is smooth and round. I'm sure it pounds and crashes through there. It's hard to imagine what it looks like full of water, how the rocks and boulders and crevasses shape the rapids.

All of us want to find a safe, dry ledge up high in the wadi to sit out a proper rain storm and watch the chaos unfold below us. We got to a split in the road, by a fenced in mosque and realized we would have to turn around soon to make it out by dark. We decided to drive another three minutes on one of the roads, and had to choose which one. Ania said the one to the left looked new, curvy, steep and more interesting so we took that one. I was glad to have the pick-up with off road tires and 4 wheel drive because I needed it to get up that hill. At one point the road took a hard left and looked pretty washed out and loose on the left hand side, not wanting to dig the left side into a little ravine, we got out and walked to the top of the hill. We were greatly rewarded when we got up there. Almost magically, there were large villages on the tops of the hills, which had surprisingly large flat areas. You would never guess that the tops of the mountains in the wadi were so flat and that so many people lived up there. There are little clues as you drive through the wadi, even in the narrowest, steepest sections there are big white water tanks that maybe hold two hundred gallons or so. The Omani army drops them off with helicopters and trucks so that the villages have clean drinking water. As you drive through the wadi, you wonder where the village is and how on earth they get to the water. I drove up out of the rocky narrow wadi, up this crazy steep, hairpin washed out dirt road, to find a large village atop a flat mountain.
We needed to head back as the sun was starting to go down, and Eddie wanted to drive, so Ania and I jumped into the truck bed to get a better view of the wadi. Going down that crazy steep hill we sat with our feet against the front of the bed to keep ourselves from sliding downward.

At one point Eddie sped up to get up a hill, Ania and I were deep in conversation and not paying attention, rolled backwards and watched out feet go skyward simultaneously. We were sure Eddie did this on purpose and thought he must be having a good laugh. Turns out it was purely accidental and he missed the whole ordeal much to his regret.