Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Field Trip to Remember

When you live overseas, you get to go to some pretty cool places for field trips. And I mean places like Petra. Unfortunately, that's a different grade's trip. But being in seventh grade, we get to go on a two night field trip to Wadi Dana and Feynan.

Which we did a couple weeks ago.

After the four hour drive through the middle of the desert we arrived at Wadi Dana, the adorable campsite surrounded by huge mountains and giant rock formations.

Wadi Dana is a lot different than Wadi Rum. 'Wadi' is the Arabic word for valley, and unlike Wadi Rum, Dana did a really good job of being a valley. Our buses drove us to the top of one mountain, and we had to hike down into the valley and to our campsite from there. All around us were these massive mountains, and instead of being red and sandy, there were actually a fair amount of trees and a whole lot of grass and flowers.

The rest of that day we got to do several science lessons while sitting on the edge of these cliffs and there were hikes to amuse us and keep us active.

But at night, even though it was sweltering during the day, it got cold. And I mean COLD. That's the thing with these deserts, during the day you just keep wishing for it to cool down, but once it does it doesn't stop.

We slept in these little tepee tents and then had to wake up pretty early in the morning. The fun was just beginning.

The biggest part of our seventh grade trip, and the part that the previous seventh graders had made us fear, was a six hour hike through the valley. Six hours. That's almost a full school day.

Our job that day was to hike from Wadi Dana to Feynan through a giant valley, and it was hot.

Luckily, I was in a group with some of my best friends. And that was a pretty good thing, because somewhere along the hike our group got split up, and half of us were way ahead, and half of us were behind. I would like to say we were lost, because everything along the path pretty much looks the same, and it felt like we were going in circles. But it's pretty hard to get lost when there are giant mountains on both sides of you and you can only go two different ways.

About five hours in, we all ran out of water, too. We each had two-liter water bottles, and we ran out.

At the beginning of the hike it had been very steep and very slow going, but by that time it had evened out and we were just looking for the last mountain. Every time one mountain would look like it was ending though, another one would be seen behind it. And so on.

At some point when we were wishing for water and a nap we started singing camping songs, and making up our survival plans, and trying to decide who to eat first.

We never got to carry out those plans though, because the hotel, clean and amazing, was right in front of us.

Sweaty, exhausted, parched, and feeling like jello, we entered the cool hotel and greeted the rest of our group who had arrived twenty minutes before us.

We miraculously managed to arrive 30 minutes early.

The rest of the groups trickled in after us within the next several hours, and then we got our room assignments and were allowed to relax around the hotel.

In all, we had hiked about 14 kilometers. It was hot. It was in the middle of a desert. And it was some of the most fun I'd ever had on a field trip.

The next day we boarded the buses and came back home. And I think I slept for a couple days.

But it's over, and we did it, and I have now hiked for five and a half hours in a row.

And I also know a bunch more camping songs.

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