elGalt elAzrag: Another Encounter with St Katherine’s Grace

elGalt elAzrag

From one valley to another, one orchard to another, and one Farsh of another, our hiking adventure up to elGalt (a natural pool of refreshingly cold water), walked my group, and Mo, the hike leader, along a number of sceneries and quaint plateaus of mountains of equal grace and strongly felt divinity.

It was a rich hiking experience in every meaning of the word. We lived the lull of the valleys, breathed its tranquil air, and it’s there where we, sometimes, stopped for a brief meditation session. We filled the orchards that witnessed our camps and flare- up at night with warmness they may have lacked being not very regularly visited.

We departed Cairo Wednesday night in a convoy of 5 cars to arrive in St Katherine towards Fajr. The crowd quickly dispersed at Sheikh Mousa’s camp to seize two hours of sleep before waking up next morning as early as 6:30 am to start ascending our way up to ElGalt in two separate groups.

The trip, in its entirety, was arranged and led by Mo, but, on a later stage, was split into two groups of hikers, one led by Mo, and another led by Khairat.

At some stops, the two groups were able to meet up and reflect on their brief adventures, each describing the scenic spots the other is still to come across, until the final reunion down Sheikh Mousa’s camp Saturday noon.

As much as the trail was somewhat grueling and challenging at certain points, it was overly amiable and fun.

The journey to elGalt elAzrag (the black pool) took my hiking group to up to Wadi Abou Geefa, then Sharfet Abbas, Wadi Tenya, that witnessed our first night Camp, then Wadi Butweita and its stunning famous big boulders, to Farsh Umseila, before we started descending our way to elGalt itself where we rested for a relatively long while, may be a couple of hours; showering our heads with its cold water and dining next to the willow trees surrounding its banks.

Leaving elGalt, we ascended up Wadi Jball region again, visiting another set of beautiful Wadis that included: Wadi Toboug, then Zawatein (Hajja Amreya’s Orchard and resting spot), then Reheibet Nada which includes an open cemetery of unknown people, then elTal’a elKabira, descending all the way through Abu Geefa, down to Sheikh Mousa’s Camp

After first thanking God for granting us a safe and enjoyable trip, I must thank Mo for, not just dedicating time and effort to give us three days of sheer joy and spiritfull adventures, but for simply giving of himself, rewarded, in his own words, by our happiness and the thrill we all lived. In this trip, I felt Mo’s everlasting eagerness to communicate his experience at its best, not withstanding his strong belief in what he started years ago, his interest and passion for Bedouins’ life and culture, the belief that greatly impacted his masters thesis, years of unique activities, and other initiatives that reflect this very same passion. A dream he lived to the fullest and now wishes to engage as many “believers” as possible…

A remarkable striking element in this trip was the diversity of its participants, whose ages ranged between late teens and fifties, of varying interests, different backgrounds and levels of hiking and fitness experience, but equally pleasant presence and placidness

On another note, the trip added to, not just my knowledge about St Katherine’s plants and mountain valleys, but also my obsession with this serene and genuine place that fixes my roots in life, reminding me of its essence and clearing my clue of how to live it and what I plan ahead…

The trip was inspirational, of an eternal impact on all levels, a rousing unforgettable journey into a gorgeous spot in Katrina Mountains, one that’s appreciated even by the Bedouins, the original inhabitants of the region, who’ve supposedly seen it and visited it many times but still hugely value its beauty and appreciate its exquisiteness; like foreign tourists.

A greatly memorable trip and full hiking experience it was.

Can’t wait for the next time I shall breath the herbal-felt air of St Katherine.

Maha Youssuf
– First appeared on Sahara Safaris’ Web Forums

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