We were exploring a little closer to home this weekend with an overnight camping trip to the mountains surrounding Ras Al Khaimah. Following the Wadi Bih road passed a couple of dams we decided to drive up one of the many wadis in search of the perfect, flat, stoneless pitching site. This proved more difficult that you might think in the mountains. The gravelly track wove its way through the valley and not wishing to pitch in the middle of a wadi for fear of flash floods (we haven’t seen rain for nearly a year) we urged the cars along steeper, narrower and stonier paths, until by luck we found the Holy Grail. The ground was stoneless, flat as an iron and had tremendous views down the valley. It was bordered by a dry stone wall, and at some point someone had painstakingly removed every last pebble. I’m still left wondering what this strange piece of land was originally used for. The wall perhaps indicated livestock, but why remove all the stones? The lack of stones indicated a crop field, but the ground was compact and completely even. I wondered about it being a burial or holy site, but there were no markers at all. The conclusion I have reached is that it was once a spot for Bedouins to pitch their tents, and I hope we respected the land accordingly. As an American Chief once said: “Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.”
The children loved being able to scramble around, cook marshmallows on an open fire and nestle down into at tented haven at the end of the day. Even with all our mod cons, you can’t beat sitting around a fire sharing stories and a mug of something to keep the chill out. It might be because of the mod cons that we enjoy outdoor life so much as there is always a comfy bed and warm shower to come home to. We undertook the journey with some friends who love to cook, and hence the breakfast treat of cake cooked in oranges must be repeated.
We ended the trip with a visit to an antique shop and a couple of hours at Dreamlands waterpark. It was a fun packed couple of days, but when you ask Madeleine what her favourite part was, her answer will be: “My tooth fell out.” How do we raise the stakes to make a camping weekend even more exciting?!