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  • 1 Post By Alexander
  • 1 Post By stuxtttr

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  #1  
Old 1 May 2012
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Siwa: Desert Hiking in the Heat of the Great Sandsea

Hello Desert Hiker,

only those, who visited the desert usually understand, why we take the exertions of a desert hike.
Days of heat, physical exertion, lack of hygiene, sand and dust.

Every time I come back from the desert, I am inundated with questions about why I do this.

Who never has experienced that silence and solitude, the incredible satisfaction that befalls one, it can be hard to understand.

Siwa: Desert Hiking in the Heat of the Great Sandsea

With the first call of the muezzin, trying to drown down the barking of the straying dogs and the crowing of the chicken, I am on my way to the south, heading to the Great Sandsea. 21 liter of water, dates and only the essentials you need in the desert are stowed in my backpack. I leave behind all unnecessary, physical and mental burdens.

At the end of the oasis I become aware, how Siwa has changed since my last visit. On the left an right new houses and apartments. A path of approximately one kilometer was burrowed into the sand.

Property mainly purchased by Europeans, preparing their retirement or holiday domicile.





Actually I expected to be the first being in the desert on this beautiful morning. But there are Siwi residence, looking for a silent place for the first morning pray.



The first 8 - 10 kilometers are the most exhausting. The heavy burden on my back, the continuing elevating terrain and the soft sand are demanding every one and now for a break and a sib of the still cold water.







Every shady spot is welcome to have a short break. There is not a lot of shadow in the desert, especially when you need it.




Close to high noon, my trips become shorter and shorter and the breaks more extensive. It seems that this year the temperature is exceptional high. What I would give now for a cool shade.



Approximately 2 kilometers further I discover some rocks. Shadow! 8)



The thermometer reveals, why I am feeling so weak. 51 degree Celsius are drying out my body. In the shadow still 37 degree.




I move as deep as possible between the rocks, where the temperatures are comfortable. Believe it or not. After a few minutes I found myself in the dreamland and woke up in the early afternoon. ops:



How can fauna and flora manage to survive in the desert at these temperatures?



Walking on the beach? You can find million years old fossils partially in excellent conditions as you can find them usually on an exotic sand beach.



Like a flower does this white sea urchin skeleton look like





to be continued

Cheers
Alexander
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  #2  
Old 1 May 2012
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My original plan was to come Bir Russia as close as possible. Due to my water consumption of the last years I calculated a daily need of 3 - 3,5 liters. However, as I recognized in the evening, my water consumption increased to 4,5 liters due to the high temperatures. So it was clear for me, I will not even come close to Bir Russia. But how do we say: The journey is the reward









The temperature does not significantly decrease during afternoon so that I use every small shadow crossing my path for a short break. The lukewarm water in my bottles is not refreshing anymore. It just serves the purpose of balancing my water supply of my body.

















A spider forgot to close the door. Or maybe it just tried to ventilate the cave.



Close to sunset a gently fresh wind is blowing over the sandsea. Hence, I try to extend my day into the late evening. But the moon does not provide that much light to find the path between the rocks and after 20 kilometers I decide to rest for today.

Next morning, before the first sun beams are climbing up the horizon, I am again on my way heading in southeast direction. I am passing a small depression cluttered with green bushes and some palm trees. A welcome variety of colors in combination with the sand. Especially in the evening and morning hours the colors are very intensive. The best time to shoot some pictures.











I have to overcome this dune. Already from the distance I can imagine the efforts required crossing over the dune.





First I take some rest before crossing the dune belt. It is late morning and the thermometer reached 53 degrees. There is no shadow, no bush and not rock, where I could hide. I place my backpack upright into the sand, so I can spread a blanket with silver coating to reflect the sun.



to be continued

Cheers
Alexander
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Old 1 May 2012
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I have to cross this dune. The exhausting and sudatory climbing is rewarded with a fantastic view over the desert. For me it is clear to stay a while to enjoy the landscape.



















Another dune before I will build up my camp.





Behind a rock, sheltered from the wind, I will have my bivouac. But this day is still not over. On a Google Earth map I discovered something shaped like a crater. I will have a look before I slip into my sleeping bag.











Google map: is this a crater?



The shape indeed looks like a circular crater like object. Presumably this formation is a million year old coral atoll from the times, where the desert was a sea.









After the detour I walked back to the camp. I could not complete my thoughts about how the crater was created. I was too tired to complete my conclusion and I fell in a deep sleep....




to be continued

Cheers
Alexander
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  #4  
Old 1 May 2012
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The desert lives. Especially at night times, when the temperatures are endurable and the water consumption allows to survive. Bizarre traces, left during the search for food or the battle of survival. Depending on the position in the food chain.















No, I did not dodge someone. Sometimes you are loosing the focus, you are distracted by your surrounding and you loose the view to your destination.







Late morning the wind machine stops entirely. The temperature increases again, not easy for an European, usually dealing with a moderate climate. It will become even hotter during noon hours, so I need to search for a chilly place.
The paradox thing is, there are a lot of mountains and hills. But due to their conical shape they don't provide shadow.





Close to noon time I reach a long chain of hills providing shadow, more than I need. Not only for one person. For an entire legion. The hill was shaped by sand and wind until this overhang was created. To reach this shady place I just need to climb some meters up. The limestone rock is not only pleasantly chilly. I have a marvelous view into the desert. I feel the release, when I drop my backpack. I make myself comfortable and enjoy the panoramic view.



























A petrified shell in the rock



]

to be continued

Cheers
Alexander
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  #5  
Old 1 May 2012
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Another day that is coming to an end. A piece of a palm tree trunk lies in the virgin sand. Inviting like a park bench for a rest.

















The last night camp, before I have to go back into the civilization.







The new day is awakening. Significantly colder then the previous days.















A certain sign that my trip is heading to its end. At the horizon I can recognize Siwa





Shark teeth can be found all over the place. A remnant of long bygone times.




The new development area of Siwa





A miniature replica Shali, the old Siwa



Early morning I am taking a side way to walk back to the oases.



Every desert hike is an unforgettable experience. Each desert hike is different. The desert offers a diversity as you never would expect. No dune looks the same. Variety encounters with fauna and flora, living and surviving under extreme conditions. Life in the desert is exciting. So I start planning my next desert trip

Cheers
Alexander

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  #6  
Old 2 May 2012
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Brilliant account of an amazing hike loved the photos and words
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