Yesterday, I went on a hike with my friends Abe and Nora following the Jordan Trail from Fuheis to Iraq al-Amir.
The hike mostly followed dirt roads and was about 8 miles. We started out at 7:30 in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. The hike was beautiful, winding over the golden hills and through farmland.
About a mile into the hike, we passed a farm growing sugar cane and figs. A man called to us from behind a gate, inviting us to eat some of the figs he had just picked.
After finishing our snack, we continued on our way up and over a steep hill where we stopped for a bit to admire the view and catch our breath.
Walking farther along, we passed a field of okra then came across three herders watching their goats. They invited us back to their home for tea, and we gladly accepted their invitation. We walked together with the goats, feeling a bit as if we had just joined the pack, and made our way back to their farm.
When we arrived at the house, their kids set up some chairs under an olive tree and brought out tea and green grapes from their vines and flatbread with homemade olive oil. It was the first time I had a conversation purely in dialect, and it was difficult to understand the men because they turned their qafs (one of the letters in the Arabic alphabet) into a G sound, but once I figured this out, I was able to understand more.
After sitting with them for some time, they sent us off with bunches of grapes to snack on. As we walked, we were invited by several other families to have tea, but the sun was getting hot and unfortunately we had to continue on our way.
We came to a part of the trail that led us straight through a field of waist-high grass and thistles. Staying on rocks as much as we could, we slowly made our way through the field, our progress watched by a boy who came out of his house to observe us. When we finally made it to the road, the boy asked for a selfie. We agreed, as long as we could also take one to have for ourselves.
We made it to Iraq al-Amir around 2 pm and decided to explore the ancient caves there. These caves were more interesting than we had expected, and one of them had an inscription in Aramaic of the Hebrew name “Tobias.”
After exploring some of the caves, we sat in the shade and thought about how we were going to get home. Iraq al-Amir is very small, with infrequent buses, and taxis are pretty much nonexistent. One other tourist was there, and I asked him if he knew of a bus we could take back to Amman.
He didn’t, because he had rented a car, but offered to give us a ride to al-Salt, his next destination, where there are plenty of buses and taxis. We agreed. Then we found out that he was from France (I wouldn’t have been able to tell from his accent at all), so I sat in the front seat to al-Salt and we talked in French.
When we got to al-Salt, we were able to get a bus and head back to Amman. This was one of the best days I’ve had in Jordan, and I wish I had time to hike more of the Jordan trail!